Michael Sack, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Mitochondrial Biology and Metabolism


10 Center Dr
Bethesda, MD 20814
United States



Research Topics

The Role of Caloric-Dependent Regulation in the Control of Metabolic and Mitochondrial Homeostasis:

My laboratory focuses on understanding, at the basic and clinical level, how nutrient-sensing programs control immune cell function. At the basic science level my laboratory focusses on the role of the nutrient-sensing Sirtuin enzymes, and a counter-regulatory protein, BLOC1S1/GCN5L1, which modulate mitochondrial and endosome-lysosome functions. In the clinic, we use different caloric-load strategies and/or the NAD+ precursor, nicotinamide riboside, to explore immunometabolism and immunomodulation, in both healthy individuals and in inflammatory/autoimmune disease states. The longer-term goal is to exploit these pathways to blunt inflammation and auto-immunity in human disease.


Michael Sack graduated with his M.B.B.Ch. and M.Sc. from the University of Witwatersrand and earned his Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He did his internship at Johannesburg General Hospital and his internal medicine residency at Georgetown University Medical Center. He conducted cardiology research and did a clinical fellowship at Washington University Medical Center from 1994 to 1997. Dr. Sack joined the NHLBI in 2003. Dr. Sack has authored or coauthored more than 100 papers, editorials, reviews, and book chapters. He currently sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, Mitochondrion, Journal of Gerontology, and Drug Discovery Today and is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

Selected Publications

  1. Traba J, Kwarteng-Siaw M, Okoli TC, Li J, Huffstutler RD, Bray A, Waclawiw MA, Han K, Pelletier M, Sauve AA, Siegel RM, Sack MN. Fasting and refeeding differentially regulate NLRP3 inflammasome activation in human subjects. J Clin Invest. 2015;125(12):4592-600.
  2. Wang L, Scott I, Zhu L, Wu K, Han K, Chen Y, Gucek M, Sack MN. GCN5L1 modulates cross-talk between mitochondria and cell signaling to regulate FoxO1 stability and gluconeogenesis. Nat Commun. 2017;8(1):523.
  3. Wu K, Seylani A, Wu J, Wu X, Bleck CKE, Sack MN. BLOC1S1/GCN5L1/BORCS1 is a critical mediator for the initiation of autolysosomal tubulation. Autophagy. 2021;17(11):3707-3724.
  4. Wu J, Singh K, Lin A, Meadows AM, Wu K, Shing V, Bley M, Hassanzadeh S, Huffstutler RD, Schmidt MS, Blanco LP, Tian R, Brenner C, Pirooznia M, Kaplan MJ, Sack MN. Boosting NAD+ blunts TLR4-induced type I IFN in control and systemic lupus erythematosus monocytes. J Clin Invest. 2022;132(5).
  5. Han K, Singh K, Rodman MJ, Hassanzadeh S, Wu K, Nguyen A, Huffstutler RD, Seifuddin F, Dagur PK, Saxena A, McCoy JP, Chen J, Biancotto A, Stagliano KER, Teague HL, Mehta NN, Pirooznia M, Sack MN. Fasting-induced FOXO4 blunts human CD4+ T helper cell responsiveness. Nat Metab. 2021;3(3):318-326.

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, April 23, 2024