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 Post-Translational Modifications in the Control of Metabolic and Mitochondrial Homeostasis:

I have had a long-standing interest in the mechanisms regulating mitochondrial biology and metabolism and the role in the pathophysiology of disease. At the basic science and translational level this work focusses on the role of the mitochondrial deacetylase enzyme SIRT3 and a counter-regulatory protein, GCN5L1 which modulates mitochondrial and cytosolic protein acetylation. Both of these proteins play pivotal roles in organelle responses to caloric-restriction and fasting and the role of these proteins are explored under fasting or fasting-mimetic conditions to delineate and characterize their functions. In parallel, an enlarging focus of my laboratory is translating what we have learnt in the laboratory into human biology and disease. Here, we use fasting and fasting mimetics as models to explore immunometabolism and immunomodulation in both healthy individuals and in inflammatory/autoimmune disease states. RNA-seq, proteomic and metabolomics data are being interrogated to identify novel pathways in innate and adaptive immune cells and then molecular and biochemical techniques are employed to characterize the function of these pathways and to assess if the manipulation of these pathways can modulate inflammatory or autoimmune 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.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Thursday, February 9, 2023