David Sabatini

David Sabatini

Professor of Biology; Member, Whitehead Institute; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Senior Member, Broad Institute; Member, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research; American Cancer Society Research Professor

David Sabatini studies the pathways that regulate growth and metabolism and how they are deregulated in diseases like cancer and diabetes.





Danica Rili



Assistant Phone


  • MD/PhD, 1997, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • BS, 1990, Biochemistry, Brown University

Research Summary

We probe the basic mechanisms that regulate growth — the process whereby cells and organisms accumulate mass and increase in size. The pathways that control growth are often hindered in human diseases like diabetes and cancer. Our long-term goals are to identify and characterize these mechanisms, and to understand their roles in normal and diseased mammals.


  • Switzer Prize, 2018
  • Dickson Prize in Medicine, 2017
  • Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences, 2017
  • National Academy of Sciences, Member, 2016
  • National Academy of Sciences, Award in Molecular Biology, 2014
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, HHMI Investigator, 2008

Key Publications

  1. Twenty-five years of mTOR: Uncovering the link from nutrients to growth. Sabatini, DM. 2017. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 114, 11818-11825.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1716173114PMID:29078414
  2. Gene Essentiality Profiling Reveals Gene Networks and Synthetic Lethal Interactions with Oncogenic Ras. Wang, T, Yu, H, Hughes, NW, Liu, B, Kendirli, A, Klein, K, Chen, WW, Lander, ES, Sabatini, DM. 2017. Cell 168, 890-903.e15.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.01.013PMID:28162770
  3. Mechanism of arginine sensing by CASTOR1 upstream of mTORC1. Saxton, RA, Chantranupong, L, Knockenhauer, KE, Schwartz, TU, Sabatini, DM. 2016. Nature 536, 229-33.
    doi: 10.1038/nature19079PMID:27487210
  4. Structural basis for leucine sensing by the Sestrin2-mTORC1 pathway. Saxton, RA, Knockenhauer, KE, Wolfson, RL, Chantranupong, L, Pacold, ME, Wang, T, Schwartz, TU, Sabatini, DM. 2016. Science 351, 53-8.
    doi: 10.1126/science.aad2087PMID:26586190
  5. Sestrin2 is a leucine sensor for the mTORC1 pathway. Wolfson, RL, Chantranupong, L, Saxton, RA, Shen, K, Scaria, SM, Cantor, JR, Sabatini, DM. 2016. Science 351, 43-8.
    doi: 10.1126/science.aab2674PMID:26449471

Recent Publications

  1. A human ciliopathy reveals essential functions for NEK10 in airway mucociliary clearance. Chivukula, RR, Montoro, DT, Leung, HM, Yang, J, Shamseldin, HE, Taylor, MS, Dougherty, GW, Zariwala, MA, Carson, J, Daniels, MLA et al.. 2020. Nat. Med. , .
    doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0730-xPMID:31959991
  2. mTOR at the nexus of nutrition, growth, ageing and disease. Liu, GY, Sabatini, DM. 2020. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. , .
    doi: 10.1038/s41580-019-0199-yPMID:31937935
  3. Nutrient regulation of mTORC1 at a glance. Condon, KJ, Sabatini, DM. 2019. J. Cell. Sci. 132, .
    doi: 10.1242/jcs.222570PMID:31722960
  4. Cryo-EM Structure of the Human FLCN-FNIP2-Rag-Ragulator Complex. Shen, K, Rogala, KB, Chou, HT, Huang, RK, Yu, Z, Sabatini, DM. 2019. Cell 179, 1319-1329.e8.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.10.036PMID:31704029
  5. Structural basis for the docking of mTORC1 on the lysosomal surface. Rogala, KB, Gu, X, Kedir, JF, Abu-Remaileh, M, Bianchi, LF, Bottino, AMS, Dueholm, R, Niehaus, A, Overwijn, D, Fils, AP et al.. 2019. Science 366, 468-475.
    doi: 10.1126/science.aay0166PMID:31601708
  6. Arg-78 of Nprl2 catalyzes GATOR1-stimulated GTP hydrolysis by the Rag GTPases. Shen, K, Valenstein, ML, Gu, X, Sabatini, DM. 2019. J. Biol. Chem. 294, 2970-2975.
    doi: 10.1074/jbc.AC119.007382PMID:30651352
  7. SFXN1 is a mitochondrial serine transporter required for one-carbon metabolism. Kory, N, Wyant, GA, Prakash, G, Uit de Bos, J, Bottanelli, F, Pacold, ME, Chan, SH, Lewis, CA, Wang, T, Keys, HR et al.. 2018. Science 362, .
    doi: 10.1126/science.aat9528PMID:30442778
  8. Ragulator and SLC38A9 activate the Rag GTPases through noncanonical GEF mechanisms. Shen, K, Sabatini, DM. 2018. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 115, 9545-9550.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1811727115PMID:30181260
  9. Histidine catabolism is a major determinant of methotrexate sensitivity. Kanarek, N, Keys, HR, Cantor, JR, Lewis, CA, Chan, SH, Kunchok, T, Abu-Remaileh, M, Freinkman, E, Schweitzer, LD, Sabatini, DM et al.. 2018. Nature 559, 632-636.
    doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0316-7PMID:29995852
  10. NUFIP1 is a ribosome receptor for starvation-induced ribophagy. Wyant, GA, Abu-Remaileh, M, Frenkel, EM, Laqtom, NN, Dharamdasani, V, Lewis, CA, Chan, SH, Heinze, I, Ori, A, Sabatini, DM et al.. 2018. Science 360, 751-758.
    doi: 10.1126/science.aar2663PMID:29700228
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Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute