Irwin Tessman Symposium

Home » Organizers » David Sanders

David Sanders


David Sanders (Faculty Web Page)
Associate Professor

David Sanders is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Purdue University. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Yale College in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He conducted graduate research with Dr. Daniel E. Koshland, Jr., who was then editor of the journal Science, at the University of California at Berkeley. His Biochemistry Ph.D. thesis concerned his discovery of a critical biochemical reaction that underlies how bacteria sense and respond to changes in their environments. He also originated the idea for a "Molecule of the Year" (now called "Breakthrough of the Year") feature in Science.

Following a position as a Visiting Scientist at the University of California at San Francisco, where he studied signal-transducing GTPases, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, which is affiliated with M.I.T. 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 in 1995, where he is also a member of the Cancer Center. Dr. Sanders was the discoverer of a biochemical reaction that leads to the entry of cancer-causing retroviruses into cells. 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. 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 is often invited to speak on biodefense, evolution, gene therapy, vaccination and influenza viruses in public forums, including regular interviews on WIBC in Indianapolis, He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and an American Cancer Society Research Scholar.