Dr. Daniel C. Nelson

dDaniel C. Nelson, Professor

Laboratory of Antimicrobial Discovery


Veterinary Medicine
8075 Greenmead Drive
College Park, MD 20740   
Office: 301-314-6832

Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR)
9600 Gudeslky Drive
Rockville, MD 20850
Office: 240-314-6249

2003  M.B.A. Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York
1999  Ph.D.  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens
1993  B.S.   Biology, University of California, Irvine

Professional Appointments
2021-Pres. Professor, joint appointment with Veterinary Medicine and IBBR
2014-2021  Associate Professor, joint appointment with Veterinary Medicine and IBBR
2012-Pres. Affiliate Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
2010-Pres. Guest Researcher, National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)
2010-2014  Assistant Professor, joint appointment with Veterinary Medicine and IBBR
2007-2010  Assistant Professor, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI)
*UMBI reorganized as the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) and merged with the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2010    
2005-2007  Research Assistant Professor, Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology, Rockefeller University
1999-2004  Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology,   
Rockefeller University (Mentor: Vincent A. Fischetti)

Research Interests
The alarming increase in multidrug‐resistant bacteria, the emergence of new pathogens, and the need to reduce/eliminate antimicrobial use in agricultural products have spurred new antimicrobial discovery initiatives. Researchers are actively seeking to identify and develop alternative antimicrobial therapeutics that are not susceptible to traditional antibiotic resistance mechanisms.
At the forefront of antimicrobial discovery, the Nelson laboratory specializes in developing a class of bacteriophage-derived peptidoglycan hydrolase enzymes called endolysins. We apply these enzymes to bacterial pathogens, which act on contact to rapidly degrade the bacterial cell wall of both animal and human pathogens, resulting in osmotic lysis of the membrane and bacterial cell death.
The Nelson lab focuses on endolysins that are effective against Bacillus anthracis, Clostridioides difficile, Gardnerella vaginalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pyogenes, all of which cause human diseases. For animal health, we have endolysins effective against Streptococcus equi (equine strangles disease), Streptococcus suis (meningitis and other infections in pigs), Streptococcus uberis (bovine mastitis), and Staphylococcus aureus (bovine mastitis). Finally, we also have projects in the energy sector, focusing on endolysins effective against Lactobacillus fermentum, which is a contaminant in bioethanol fermentation.
Dr. Nelson possesses a unique ability to bridge disciplines and effectively incorporate cell biology, microbiology, and structural biology with bioengineering approaches to advance endolysin research and discovery. His group employs both rational methods (computational design or chimeragenesis) and random methods (directed evolution) to generate endolysins with more desirable attributes. These attributes include higher activity, an expanded host range, a more favorable thermostability profile, or the ability to enter human cells to kill intracellular pathogens. The bioengineering approaches employed by the group are expected to result in the development of next-generation endolysins with enhanced properties.

Publications      My Bibliography - NCBI (
IBBR Profile      Daniel Nelson - Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (
Web of Science   Nelson, Daniel C. - Web of Science Core Collection
ORCID             Daniel C. Nelson (0000-0003-3248-4831) - ORCID
Google Scholar   ‪Daniel C. Nelson - ‪Google Scholar