David Esteban Sanin Pena, Ph.D.

Headshot of David Esteban Sanin Pena
  • Assistant Professor of Oncology


Dr. David Sanin holds a Biological Engineering degree from the National University of Colombia, and a PhD in Immunology from the University of York, UK. Dr. Sanin pursued his post-doctoral research in gene regulation and metabolic reprogramming of immune cells at Washington University in St. Louis and the Max-Planck-Institute. Dr. Sanin leads a research program at Johns Hopkins University, studying the interaction between tissue metabolic constraints and macrophage function. He has received national and international awards, including a Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award in 2022, and has published works in top scientific publications such as Science, Nature, and Cell.

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  • Assistant Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions

  • Oncology - Immunology and Hematopoiesis

Centers & Institutes



  • B.Sc.; Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Colombia) (2009)
  • Ph.D.; University of York (England) (2014)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

My research leverages bioinformatics to explore myeloid cell function with a particular emphasis on metabolism, combining bioinformatics, molecular biology, immunology, cellular biology and metabolism techniques.

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Baixauli F, Piletic K, Puleston DJ, Villa M, Field CS, Flachsmann LJ, Quintana A, Rana N, Edwards-Hicks J, Matsushita M, Stanczak MA, Grzes KM, Kabat AM, Fabri M, Caputa G, Kelly B, Corrado M, Musa Y, Duda KJ, Mittler G, O'Sullivan D, Sesaki H, Jenuwein T, Buescher JM, Pearce EJ, Sanin DE, Pearce EL. An LKB1-mitochondria axis controls T(H)17 effector function. Nature. 2022 Oct;610(7932):555-561. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05264-1. Epub 2022 Sep 28. PubMed PMID: 36171294; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC9844518

Sanin DE, Ge Y, Marinkovic E, Kabat AM, Castoldi A, Caputa G, Grzes KM, Curtis JD, Thompson EA, Willenborg S, Dichtl S, Reinhardt S, Dahl A, Pearce EL, Eming SA, Gerbaulet A, Roers A, Murray PJ, Pearce EJ. A common framework of monocyte-derived macrophage activation. Sci Immunol. 2022 Apr 15;7(70):eabl7482. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abl7482. Epub 2022 Apr 15. PubMed PMID: 35427180; NIHMSID:NIHMS1824173

Grzes KM, Sanin DE, Kabat AM, Stanczak MA, Edwards-Hicks J, Matsushita M, Hackl A, Hässler F, Knoke K, Zahalka S, Villa M, Kofler DM, Voll RE, Zigrino P, Fabri M, Pearce EL, Pearce EJ. Plasmacytoid dendritic cell activation is dependent on coordinated expression of distinct amino acid transporters. Immunity. 2021 Nov 9;54(11):2514-2530.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2021.10.009. Epub 2021 Oct 29. PubMed PMID: 34717796

O'Sullivan D, Sanin DE, Pearce EJ, Pearce EL. Metabolic interventions in the immune response to cancer. Nat Rev Immunol. 2019 May;19(5):324-335. doi: 10.1038/s41577-019-0140-9. Review. PubMed PMID: 30820043

Sanin DE, Matsushita M, Klein Geltink RI, Grzes KM, van Teijlingen Bakker N, Corrado M, Kabat AM, Buck MD, Qiu J, Lawless SJ, Cameron AM, Villa M, Baixauli F, Patterson AE, Hässler F, Curtis JD, O'Neill CM, O'Sullivan D, Wu D, Mittler G, Huang SC, Pearce EL, Pearce EJ. Mitochondrial Membrane Potential Regulates Nuclear Gene Expression in Macrophages Exposed to Prostaglandin E2. Immunity. 2018 Dec 18;49(6):1021-1033.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2018.10.011. PubMed PMID: 30566880; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7271981


Amino acid transport represents a druggable process for inhibiting human plasmacytoid dendritic cell activity during autoimmunity
Patent # European Patent Office | 

Activities & Honors


  • Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award, Prostate Cancer Foundation, 2022
  • Scholarship and travel award, Keystone Symposia Future of Science Fund and
 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), 2016
  • American Committee of Molecular, Cellular and Immunoparasitology (ACMCIP) Speaker Award, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2014
  • The Kathleen Mary Stott Prize, University of York, 2014
  • The Kathleen Mary Stott Prize, University of York, 2012
  • Woods Hole Immunoparasitology Meeting Scholarship Award, The Wellcome Trust, 2014
  • International Conference of Immunology, Milan, Travel Award, British Society for Immunology, 2013
  • Biology of Parasitism summer course tuition fees, The Wellcome Trust, 2011
  • Top Scores in the admission exam 2006 -01, National University of Colombia, 2006
  • Regional ANDRÉS BELLO distinction in Chemistry, Colombian Institute for the Promotion of Higher Education (ICFES), 2004
  • Students who obtained the highest scores in the State exams in 2004, Colombian Institute for the Promotion of Higher Education (ICFES), 2004
  • Maryland Cancer Moonshot Scholar, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2023 - 2024


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2021
  • British Society for Immunology, 2010 - 2014
  • The American Association of Immunologists, 2023
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