The Daniel Heller Lab

Cancer Nanomedicine Laboratory

Metastatic cancer is responsible for 90 percent of cancer deaths. The promise of nanomedicines for the treatment of disseminated tumors is the ability to target therapies directly to disease sites, avoiding toxic side effects by preventing accumulation in healthy tissues. We are developing new nanoparticle drug delivery systems to specifically target metastatic tumors. We collaborate with cancer biologists and clinicians to translate these therapies to the bedside.

We are also developing nanoscale sensors to detect cancer at its earliest stages. Using novel nanomaterials with unique optical properties, we are making it easier to identify disease biomarkers within the body, permitting detection before symptoms arise.

To enable the discovery of new medicines, we develop new tools for drug development and biomedical research. We are making sensors and probes to quantify molecules in live cells and tissues that could not be measured before. These technologies allow researchers to ask unprecedented questions and accelerate biomedical discoveries.

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The Daniel Heller Lab

Daniel A. Heller, PhD

Assistant Professor

Research Focus

Chemist Daniel Heller focuses on biomaterials and nanoscale engineering for molecular sensors and targeted therapeutics.


PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Selected Achievements

  • Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Innovators in Cancer Research (2017)
  • NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2012)
  • Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship (2010)
  • Beckman Institute Graduate Fellowship (2006)