David M. Sabatini, M.D./Ph.D

David Sabatini

David Sabatini is a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, senior associate member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, as well as associate professor of biology at MIT. He is also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Sabatini and his lab at the Whitehead Institute study the basic mechanisms that regulate cell growth, the process whereby cells and organisms accumulate mass and increase in size. These pathways are often deranged in human diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. A major focus of the lab is on a cellular system called the Target of Rapamycin (TOR) pathway, a major regulator of growth in many eukaryotic species. Work in Sabatini’s lab has led to the identification of many components of the pathway and to an understanding of their cellular and organismal functions. Sabatini is also interested in the role of metabolism in cancer and in the mechanisms that control the effects of dietary restriction on tumorigenesis. In addition to the work on growth control and cancer, Sabatini’s lab has developed and is using new technologies that facilitate the analysis of gene function in mammalian cells. The lab developed “cell-based microarrays” that allow one to examine the cellular effects of perturbing the activity of thousands of genes in parallel. Sabatini is a founding member of The RNAi Consortium (TRC) of labs in the Boston area that is developing and using genome-scale RNA interference (RNAi) libraries targeting human and mouse genes.

Sabatini received his B.S. from Brown University magna cum laude and his M.D./Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1997. He completed his thesis work in the lab of Dr. Solomon H. Snyder in the Department of Neuroscience. Later in the same year, Sabatini was appointed a Whitehead Fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. This was followed in 2002 by a dual appointment as a member at the Whitehead Institute and assistant professor of biology at MIT. Sabatini has received a number of distinctions, including being named a W. M. Keck Foundation Distinguished Young Scholar, a Pew Scholar, a TR100 Innovator, a recipient of the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research, and most recently, a recipient of the 2012 ASBMB 2012 Earl and Thressa Stadtman Scholar Award.