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Inventor Spotlight: Daniel Whitehead

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November 20, 2019

Dr. Daniel Whitehead, an associate professor in the department of chemistry at Clemson University, is revolutionizing chemistry with his research in new reaction methodology, materials chemistry, and bio-organic chemistry. Prior to joining Clemson in 2011, Dr. Whitehead received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Furman University. Whitehead received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 2009, where he focused his doctoral studies on the development of an asymmetric chlorolactonization protocol under the mentorship of Professor Babak Borhan. During his time as a postdoctoral fellow at North Carolina State University from 2009 to 2011, Whitehead researched and developed novel therapeutics including anti-biofilm agents, osteoclastogenesis inhibitors, and nanoparticle-drug conjugates for the treatment of HIV infections.

Whitehead is currently working to leverage synthetic organic chemistry through the exploration of a variety of research projects, including a National Science Foundation-funded project focused on the development of enantioselective hypervalent iodine catalysts. In collaboration with other Clemson researchers, Whitehead has also developed a series of biodegradable, functional nanoparticles that are capable of capturing VOC pollutants associated with industrial waste streams.  Along with their many other innovative contributions, the Whitehead group was recently awarded a Technology Maturation Fund grant from the Clemson University Research Foundation for their ongoing work with the Clemson University Eukaryotic Pathogens Innovation Center (EPIC). This collaborative project with Professor Jim Morris in CU Biochemistry and Genetics, focuses on validating a new class of compounds, the diazacyclobutenes, as potential therapeutics for the treatment of infections of eukaryotic pathogens such as Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African Sleeping Sickness. 

In addition to his academic achievements, Dr. Whitehead is passionate about scientific outreach, co-founding a program in 2009 to facilitate laboratory exercises for area homeschool students. He frequently collaborates with an area Montessori pre-primary and primary school to conduct hands-on science experiments, demonstrations, and a week-long science summer camp.

To learn more about Dr. Whitehead, click here.

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