University of Miami >> Miller School of Medicine >> Office of Graduate Studies >> Academics >> Faculty Detail

Sylvia Daunert, PhD, Pharm D

Professor and Lucille P. Markey Chair

305-243-4005 (office)

305-243-3955 (fax)

R. Bunn Gautier Building, Room 239DA (Locator R-629)

Curriculum Vitae

· Ph.D. Bioanalytical Chemistry, May 1991, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

· M.S. Medicinal Chemistry, August 1985, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

· Pharm.D., March 1982, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

· Professor and Lucille P. Markey Chair, Department of Biochemistry and MolecularBiology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, 2010-present

· Editor, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, July 2001-present.

· Executive Editor, Analytical Biochemistry, 2003-present. 

· Scientific Advisory Board, Institut Catalá de Nanotecnología, 2009-present 

· XIII International Symposium on Luminescence Spectroscopy (ISLS 2008), Scientific Committee Member, 2007-2009

· NASA Ames, Member of the Astrobionics Scientific Advisory Board, 2006-present.

· International Society for Bioluminescence and Chemiluminescence, Advisory Board, 2001-present.

· NIH College of CSR Reviews, Member, 2010-present.


· Lucille P. Markey Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, 2010-present

· Albert D. and Elizabeth H. Kirwan Memorial Prize, University of Kentucky, 2009

· The 2009 Bill Barfield Award, Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute, 2009

· Wethington Award, University of Kentucky, 2009

· Wethington Award, University of Kentucky, 2008

· Wethington Award, University of Kentucky, 2007

· Distinguished Professor, AMC/FUMEC, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico, 2007

· Wethington Award, University of Kentucky, 2006

· University Research Professor Award, University of Kentucky, 2005-2006

· Gill Eminent Professor of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2002.

· Special Creativity Award, National Science Foundation, 2002

· A. F. Findeis Award, Division of Analytical Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 2001

· Lilly Award in Analytical Chemistry, 1997-1998.

· Cottrell Scholar Award, Research Corporation, 1997.

· National Science Foundation-CAREER Award, 1995.

· The Van Slyke Society Research Award, American Association for Clinical Chemistry, 1992.

· Juan Abelló Pascual Award in Biochemistry, Spanish Royal Academy of Doctors, 1992.

· Summa Cum Laude, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 1991.

· Fulbright Scholar, 1983-1985


Research Interests
Detailed Research Interests
The research of the Daunert group lies in the area of Bionanotechnology, at the interface between Bioanalytical Chemistry, Molecular Biology, and Bioengineering. The group employs recombinant DNA technology to design new molecular diagnostic tools and biosensors based on genetically engineered proteins and cells that find biomedical, environmental, and pharmaceutical applications. Additionally the research of the group focuses in the design of sensing arrays for the detection of molecules in small volumes and microfluidic platforms, and in the development of smart biomaterials for responsive drug delivery systems. The students in our group are trained in emerging technologies and become proficient in biochemistry, molecular biology, and bioanalytical chemistry. A few examples of projects are outlined below.

In order to detect target molecules in small volumes and microfabricated structures, it is necessary to prepare bioreagents that provide enough sensitivity for their detection. In our laboratory, we engineer proteins and cells to design a diverse array of biosensing systems. Specifically, the photoprotein aequorin is genetically engineered by preparing mutant, fusion proteins, and by designing molecular switches with the goal of shifting the emission maxima and alter the bioluminescent decay kinetics of the proteins. Moreover, we genetically encode aequorin with non-natural amino acids to create newly ‘colored' aequorin variants for application in simultaneous multianalyte detection. Additionally, we prepare bioluminescent molecular switches for glucose by dissecting the gene of the aequorin molecule into two halves and inserting in between the gene of the glucose binding protein to produce a protein molecular switch capable of glucose detection. In the presence of glucose, the glucose binding protein undergoes a conformational change bringing the two ‘halves' of the aequorin molecule and allowing for the emission of bioluminescence in a manner proportional to the concentration of glucose present. In another strategy, a protein immobilized within a hydrogel acts as a recognition element for drugs. The integrated molecular recognition within the hydrogel allows for sensing and actuating, thus providing with novel responsive drug delivery systems. Finally, we take advantage of the bioluminescence from bacterial luciferase in order to study quorum sensing and the mechanism of action of quorum sensing molecules (QSMs) in relation to gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. To that end, we develop genetically engineered bioluminescent whole-cell-based sensing systems for the detection of QSMs in physiological samples, both in subjects with various GI disorders and healthy volunteers. Finally, non-invasive doagnostics tools for these diseases are developed by preparing microfluidics systems and colorimetric paper strips incorporating these QSM biosensors.


Recent Publications
1. J. Orbulescu, M. Micic, C. M. Ensor, S. Trajkovic, S. Daunert, and Roger M. Leblanc,Human Cardiac Troponin I: A Langmuir Monolayer Study”, Lagmuir 26, 3268–3274, 2010.
2. L. A. Rowe, C. M. Ensor, R. Mehl, and S. Daunert, "Flashing at Different Colors: Modulating Bioluminescence Emission of the Photoprotein Aequorin by In Vivo Site-Directed Incorporation of Non-Natural Amino Acids", ACS Chem. Biol. 5, 455-460, 2010. Featured on the cover of the May 21, 2010 issue.
3. A. Kumari, N. Raut, P. Pasini, C. M. Ensor and S. Daunert, "Paper Strip Whole Cell Biosensors: A Portable Test for the Semi-Quantative Detection of Bacterial Quorum Signaling Molecules", Anal. Chem. 82, 4457-4463, 2010.
4. J. Siegriest, T. Kazarian, M. J. Madou, S. Joel, C. M. Ensor, P. H. Wang and S. Daunert, "Continuous Glucose Sensing Using Novel Genetically-Engineered Binding Polypeptides towards In Vivo Applications", Sens. Actuat. B-Chem Sens. Actuat. B-Chem. 149, 51-58, 2010.

5. X. Liu, M. Gillespie, A. Demirel Ozel, E. Dikici, S. Daunert, and L. G. Bachas, "Electrochemical properties and temperature dependence of a recombinant laccase from Thermus thermophilus”, Anal. Bioanal. Chem., DOI 10.1007/s00216-010-4345-9, on-line November 14, 2010.


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