Open main menu

David Sanders (biologist)

David Sanders is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Purdue University.[1] He grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey, [2][3] and then attended the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York.[4] He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Yale College in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.[5] He conducted his Ph.D. research in Biochemistry with Daniel E. Koshland, Jr., who was then editor of the journal Science, at the University of California at Berkeley. Sanders demonstrated that the response regulators in the two-component regulatory systems were phosphorylated on an aspartate residue and that they were protein phosphatases with a covalent intermediate.[6][7]

Scientific careerEdit

He originated the idea of the "Molecule of the Year" feature in Science. He was a Visiting Scientist at the University of California at San Francisco, and then a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, which is affiliated with MIT. It was there that he began his studies on the entry of viruses into cells with a focus on the inhibition of infection and applications to gene therapy.

He joined the Markey Center for Structural Biology at Purdue University in 1995, where he was the leader of the Molecular Virology program [8] and also a member of the Cancer Center. He was the discoverer of a biochemical reaction, thiol-disulfide exchange, that leads to the entry of cancer-causing retroviruses into cells.[9][10][11] He also is the primary inventor on two U.S. patents on novel gene-therapy delivery techniques.[12][13]

His work on the Ebola virus led to his participation in the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Biological Weapons Proliferation Prevention Program, a product of the Nunn-Lugar legislation.[14] His responsibilities included inspecting the Vector laboratory in Siberia, which was the site of biological-weapons development in the era of the Soviet Union. He has investigated the transmission of viruses from other animals, especially birds, to humans and has been invited to speak on ethics,[15] biodefense, evolution, gene therapy, vaccination and influenza viruses in public forums including regular interviews on WIBC in Indianapolis,[16]

He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Award for his work on an enzyme that is involved in production of the greenhouse gas and potential energy source, methane [17] He is also an American Cancer Society Research Scholar. In 2003 he conducted his sabbatical research at the Weizmann Institute in Israel.

Sanders has been a vocal critic of the Science article authored by Felisa Wolfe-Simon and Paul Davies in which the discovery of arsenic-based life is claimed.[18] Sanders has argued that the original Science article on the arsenic bacteria should be retracted on the basis that the data in the paper were misrepresented in the article.[19][20]

Sanders's work on the Ebola virus led to media interviews during the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in Western Africa. He declared that there was little risk on infection for the individual American and asserted that the panic about the virus could be worse than the disease in the United States.[21] He was an early advocate of focusing on regional centers as places for treatment of Ebola virus victims in the United States.[22] He opposed mandatory quarantines for asymptomatic patients that may have been exposed to Ebola virus.[23]

According to the New York Times, Sanders has been responsible for contacting scientific journals and obtaining corrections and retractions of articles by Carlo M. Croce. Sanders "has made claims of falsified data and plagiarism directly to scientific journals where more than 20 of Croce’s papers have been published."[24] In 2017 Croce filed a defamation lawsuit against Sanders, who was quoted in the New York Times article that reported allegations of scientific misconduct against Croce.[25]

In his role with the Purdue University Senate, Sanders criticized the inconsistent application of the free speech policies by the Purdue University administration and President Mitch Daniels.[26] A Purdue University Board of Trustees member responded with an attack on his opinion piece.[27][28]

As Chair of the Purdue University Senate, Sanders has published a statement of academic principles.[29]

Political careerEdit

Sanders was the Democrat candidate for Congress in the 4th District of Indiana in 2004 (lost to Steve Buyer) and 2006 (lost to Steve Buyer again). He was also elected by Democrats of the 4th Congressional District of Indiana to serve as a delegate pledged to Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[30]

On January 21, 2010, Sanders filed as a candidate for Indiana's 4th Congressional District[31][32][33] followed by an appearance on CNN[34] with the announcement of Steve Buyer's resignation. Sanders was defeated once again by Todd Rokita.

On November 3, 2015, Sanders was elected as a City Councilor At-Large for West Lafayette.[35] In a discussion about gerrymandering he referred to Indiana's 4th Congressional District as having been drawn so that it was "No Republican Left Behind." [36]

He was featured in an interview in Science magazine in June 2010[37] and in the book "Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America" by Shawn Lawrence Otto.[38] He has also written about the myth of the skills gap.[39]

In his role as City Councilor Sanders sponsored a resolution declaring West Lafayette a "machaseh" — that is, a refuge for immigrants.[40][41]


  1. ^ Department Biological Sciences, Purdue University, [1], Web. August 31, 2018,
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "David Sanders Lab, Bio" [2], Web. February 2, 2010
  6. ^
  7. ^ Sanders, DA; Gillece-Castro, BL; Burlingame, AL; Koshland, DE (1992). "Phosphorylation site of NtrC, a protein phosphatase whose covalent intermediate activates transcription". J. Bacteriol. 174 (15): 5117–22. doi:10.1128/jb.174.15.5117-5122.1992. PMC 206329. PMID 1321122.
  8. ^ " | Post: Schools waging the good fight against flu | Indianapolis, Indiana." | Indianapolis, Indiana., [3], Web. February 2, 2010
  9. ^ Avram Sanders, David (2002). "Sulfhydryl Involvement in Fusion Mechanisms". Subcellular Biochemistry. 34: 483–514. doi:10.1007/0-306-46824-7_13. ISBN 0-306-46313-X. PMID 10808342.
  10. ^ Sanders, D (2003). "Ancient viruses in the fight against HIV". Drug Discovery Today. 8 (7): 287–291. doi:10.1016/S1359-6446(03)02651-5. PMID 12654538. Archived from the original on September 12, 2012.
  11. ^ "Localization of the labile disulfide bond between SU and TM of the murine leukemia virus envelope protein complex to a highly conserved CWLC motif in SU that resembles the active-site sequence of thiol- disulfide exchange enzymes -- Pinter et al. 71 (10): 8073 --." The Journal of Virology., [4], Web. February 2, 2010.
  12. ^ US 7033595, "Pseudotyped retroviruses and stable cell lines for their production" 
  13. ^ US 7981656, "Pseudotyped retrovirus with modified ebola glycoprotein" 
  14. ^ "Making a name by being himself." Evansville Courier & Press: Local Evansville, Indiana News Delivered Throughout the Day., [5], Web. February 2, 2010.
  15. ^ "Student Pugwash conference at Purdue University. : Adventures in Ethics and Science." ScienceBlogs., [6] Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Web. February 2, 2010.
  16. ^ "Researchers Continue Learning About H1N1 | Indy's News Center - 93.1 WIBC Indianapolis - Live. Local. First." Indy's News Center - 93.1 WIBC Indianapolis - Live. Local. First., [7], Web. February 2, 2010
  17. ^ "DIR9." - National Science Foundation - US National Science Foundation (NSF). , [8]. Web. February 2, 2010.
  18. ^ "The Alien Discovery that Wasn't" Odyssey magazine
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Croce v. Sanders". PacerMonitor LLC. April 20, 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Indiana Democrat Delegation 2008." The Green Papers: United States Midterm Election 2010. [9]. Web. February 2, 2010.
  31. ^ "Sanders Makes Third Run for House Seat." [10] Archived January 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Web. January 21, 2010.
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ Three Q's, Science magazine Volume 328, Number 5984, Issue of June 11, 2010 , [11]. Web. January 4, 2011.
  38. ^ "Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America", Chapter 14 , [12]. Web. January 4, 2011.
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^

External linksEdit