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 his Ph.D. research in Biochemistry with Dr. Daniel E. Koshland, Jr., who was then editor of the journal Science, at the University of California at Berkeley.
David Sanders originated the idea of the “Molecule of the Year” feature in Science. 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. Following a position as a Visiting Scientist at the University of California at San Francisco, 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.
Dr. Sanders joined the Markey Center for Structural Biology at Purdue University in 1995, where he was Executive Committee Representative of the Purdue University Life Science (PULSe) Molecular Virology program. He was the discoverer of a biochemical reaction that leads to the entry of cancer-causing retroviruses into cells. Professor Sanders also is the author of two U.S. patents on novel gene-therapy delivery techniques. 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 ethics, biodefense, evolution, gene therapy, vaccination and influenza viruses in public forums. Dr. Sanders has been interviewed by media around the world about his research and the role of science in public policy. He is a recipient of the 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. He is also an American Cancer Society Research Scholar.
At Purdue University, Dr. Sanders has served on numerous committees at the departmental, college, and university level. He has been the yearly organizer of the Professor Miriam Hasson Memorial Lecture. Professor Sanders was elected the inaugural Chair of the PULSe Admissions Committee. He was elected thrice to serve as Chair of the Steering Committee of the Purdue University Senate has served Chair of the Senate.
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