David Sanders (biologist)

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David Sanders is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Purdue University.[1] He grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey and then attended the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, NY.[2] He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Yale College in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.[3] 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.[4][5]

Scientific career[edit]

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 is the leader of the Molecular Virology program [6] 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.[7][8][9] He also is the primary inventor on two U.S. patents on novel gene-therapy delivery techniques.[10][11]

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.[12] 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,[13] biodefense, evolution, gene therapy, vaccination and influenza viruses in public forums including regular interviews on WIBC in Indianapolis,[14]

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 [15] 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.[16] 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.[17][18]

His 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.[19] He was an early advocate of focusing on regional centers as places for treatment of Ebola virus victims in the United States.[20] He opposed mandatory quarantines for asymptomatic patients that may have been exposed to Ebola virus.[21]

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 Dr. Croce’s papers have been published." [22]

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.[23] A Purdue University Board of Trustee member responded with an attack on his Opinion piece.[24][25]

As Chair of the Purdue University Senate, Sanders has published a statement of academic principles.[26]

Political career[edit]

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.[27]

On January 21, 2010, Dr. Sanders filed as a candidate for Indiana's 4th Congressional District[28][29][30] followed by an appearance on CNN[31] with the announcement of Steve Buyer's resignation. Sanders was defeated once again by Todd Rosita.

On November 3, 2015, David Sanders was elected as a City Councilor At-Large for West Lafayette.[32] 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." [33]

He was featured in an interview in Science magazine in June 2010[34] and in the book "Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America" by Shawn Lawrence Otto.[35] He has also written about the myth of the skills gap.[36]

In his role as City Councilor Sanders sponsored a resolution declaring West Lafayette a Machaseh or refuge for immigrants.[37][38]


  1. ^ Department Biological Sciences, Purdue University, [1], Web. 2 February 2010,
  2. ^ http://www.jconline.com/article/20130714/OPINION03/307140008/Guest-column-When-school-loses-sight-mission
  3. ^ "David Sanders Lab, Bio" [2], Web. 2 February 2010
  4. ^ http://www.jbc.org/content/264/36/21770.full.pdf
  5. ^ 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: 5117–22. PMC 206329Freely accessible. PMID 1321122. 
  6. ^ "Indy.com | Post: Schools waging the good fight against flu | Indianapolis, Indiana." Indy.com | Indianapolis, Indiana., [3], Web. 2 February 2010
  7. ^ http://www.springerlink.com/content/grxj7427006342x3/, [4], Web. 2 February 2010
  8. ^ "ScienceDirect - Drug Discovery Today : Ancient viruses in the fight against HIV." ScienceDirect - Home., [5], Web. 2 February 2010.
  9. ^ "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., [6], Web. 2 February 2010.
  10. ^ US 7033595, "Pseudotyped retroviruses and stable cell lines for their production" 
  11. ^ US 7981656, "Pseudotyped retrovirus with modified ebola glycoprotein" 
  12. ^ "Making a name by being himself." Evansville Courier & Press: Local Evansville, Indiana News Delivered Throughout the Day., [7], Web. 2 February 2010.
  13. ^ "Student Pugwash conference at Purdue University. : Adventures in Ethics and Science." ScienceBlogs., [8], Web. 2 February 2010.
  14. ^ "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., [9], Web. 2 February 2010
  15. ^ "DIR9." Nsf.gov - National Science Foundation - US National Science Foundation (NSF). , [10]. Web. 2 February 2010.
  16. ^ "The Alien Discovery that Wasn't" Odyssey magazine
  17. ^ http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/despite-refutation-science-arsenic-life-paper-deserves-retraction-scientist-argues
  18. ^ http://www.periodicplayground.com/blog/bp/2013/02/guest-post-david-sanders-why-its-high-time-to-retract-arseniclife
  19. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mghGPpUgJVc
  20. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Izao-W8N4Tk
  21. ^ http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/27/health/us-ebola/
  22. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/08/science/cancer-carlo-croce.html
  23. ^ http://www.jconline.com/story/opinion/readers/2016/02/26/purdue-daniels-failed-free-speech/80991306/
  24. ^ http://www.jconline.com/story/opinion/readers/2016/02/29/attack-daniels-comes-increasingly-isolated-voice/81117984/
  25. ^ http://www.jconline.com/story/opinion/columnists/dave-bangert/2016/03/02/bangert-us-vs-them-time-purdue/81146476/
  26. ^ http://www.jconline.com/story/opinion/readers/2017/03/03/op-ed-principles-must-keep-purdue/98678406/
  27. ^ "Indiana Democrat Delegation 2008." The Green Papers: United States Midterm Election 2010. [11]. Web. 2 February 2010.
  28. ^ "Sanders Makes Third Run for House Seat." WLFI.com [12]. Web. 21 January 2010.
  29. ^ http://newsbug.info/articles/2010/02/02/monticello_herald_journal/local_news/doc4b67ac977b917021514072.txt
  30. ^ http://reporter-times.com/stories/2010/02/09/news.qp-0341310.sto
  31. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDG7ueDLbOM
  32. ^ http://www.jconline.com/story/news/2015/11/04/wl-mayor-gets-his-team-more-less/75087820/
  33. ^ http://www.purdueexponent.org/city/article_3e3f457f-71fc-596d-af3a-fbd5a63b0529.html
  34. ^ Three Q's, Science magazine Volume 328, Number 5984, Issue of 11 June 2010 , [13]. Web. 4 January 2011.
  35. ^ "Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America", Chapter 14 , [14]. Web. 4 January 2011.
  36. ^ http://www.jconline.com/article/20130304/OPINION03/303040006/Guest-column-myth-growing-skills-gap-education
  37. ^ http://www.jconline.com/story/news/2017/03/06/immigration-resolution-passes-west-side-city-council/98686004/
  38. ^ http://www.jconline.com/story/opinion/columnists/dave-bangert/2017/03/07/bangert-just-shy-sanctuary-city-west-lafayette/98843270/

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