Miguel is an accomplished scientist with nearly two decades of combined industrial and academic research, and proven success leading multidisciplinary research projects.  

Miguel began his career as a postdoctoral fellow at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical R&D, where he was a member of the team dedicated to developing new medicines for autoimmune conditions, and led groundbreaking basic research on toll-like receptors (TLRs) and interferon (INF)-producing dendritic cells. In 2005, he was hired as an immunology staff scientist at St. Jude Children’s Research Center, where he began investigating inflammatory responses in innate immune cells that resulted in the discovery of LC3-associated autophagy, a new subcellular process central to pathogen defense and inflammation. This is an important area of research for the design of novel antibiotic and anti-inflammatory therapies.

In 2009, Miguel joined the RIA group at MedImmune, where he has focused on investigating the basic mechanisms of innate immunity and autoimmunity. Through his research in type 1 IFN pathways in autoimmune disorders, Miguel identified a new role for the autophagy pathway in sensing pathogenic immune complexes. He was the scientific lead for an early-phase program through preclinical development to candidate drug—managing and supporting MOA studies and potential life-cycle opportunities—and was the author for IND and patents associated with the molecule. He is currently the research lead for anifrolumab, a type 1 IFN receptor antagonist that is currently progressing in a phase III trial for the treatment of moderate-to-severe systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus).

In addition, Miguel leads MedImmune’s Autoimmunity Molecular Medicine group, a cross-functional team designed to investigate and understand disease mechanisms, identify novel targets in lupus and related diseases and maximize the value of clinical research programs. 

The sense among the general public regarding research is that everything that can be has been discovered. But, there is a wealth of things that we don’t know in science, and these inquiries continue to reveal new and extraordinary information that helps us to develop novel molecules that can impact the health of patients.

Miguel A. Sanjuan, PhD Principal Scientist, RIA


Miguel’s current work has focused on self-reactive immunoglobulin E (IgE) and its impact on IFN responses associated with autoimmunity.

Led innovative basic research on TLRs

At the time a poorly understood family of receptors primarily expressed in antigen-presenting cells

Original articles

On TLR investigations published in major peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Cell Biology, Biochemistry Journal, Nature, Autophagy and Immunological Reviews.


Studied the biology of dendritic cells, macrophages and neutrophils, and how their inflammatory pathways lead to inflammation.


Discovered a new role for the autophagy pathway in sensing pathogenic immune complexes.


Led work into advancing anifrolumab (currently in phase III clinical testing), a new monoclonal antibody against IFN, which plays a central role in lupus.

Featured publications

The role of IgE in Autoimmunity

Sanjuan MA, Sagar, Kolbeck R., JACI (In press)


Type I Interferons regulate inflammation, vasculopathy and fibrosis in chronic cutaneous graft versus host disease

Tracy Delaney, Chris Morehouse, P. Zachary Brohawn, Timothy Burwell, Yihong Yao, Jane Connor, Anthony Coyle, Miguel Sanjuan,  Tomas Mustelin, J. Immunol. (In press)


Self-reactive IgE exacerbates interferon responses associated with autoimmunity

Henault J, Riggs JM, Karnell JL, Liarski VM, Li J1, Shirinian L, Xu L, Casey KA, Smith MA, Khatry DB, Izhak L, Clarke L, Herbst R, Ettinger R, Petri M, Clark MR, Mustelin T, Kolbeck R, Sanjuan, MA. Nat Immunol. 2016 Feb;17(2):196-203.

Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition)

Klionsky DJ, et al. Autophagy. 2016 Jan 2;12(1):1-222.


Early, transient depletion of plasmacytoid dendritic cells ameliorates lupus in BXSB mice

Sarah L. Rowland, Jeffrey M. Riggs, Susan Gilfillan, Mattia Bugatti, William Vermi, Emil R. Unanue, Roland Kolbeck, Miguel A. Sanjuan, Marco Colonna. J. Exp. Medicine 2014, 211:1977-1991.


Complement C5a potentiates uric acid crystal-induced IL-1β production

Ling-Ling An, Payal Mehta, Linda Xu, Sean Turman, Thornik Reimer, Brian Naiman, Jane Connor, Miguel Sanjuan, Roland Kolbeck and Michael Fung. Eur J Immunol. 2014 Dec;44(12):3669-79


Non-conventional Autophagy: one small step for LC3, one giant leap for immunity

Mehta P, Henault J, Kolbeck R, Sanjuan, MA. Current Opinion in Immunology 2014, 26:69–75. Work was also featured in the cover of the journal.


RAGE inhibits RSV syncytia formation byinterfering 1 with F-protein function

Jane Tian, Kelly Huang, Subramaniam Krishnan, Catherine Svabek, Daniel C. Rowe, Yambasu Brewah, Miguel Sanjuan, Andriani C. Patera, Roland Kolbeck, Ronald Herbst, Gary P. Sims. J Gen Virol. 2013 Aug; 94(Pt 8):1691-700


LC3-associated phagocytosis mediates IFN-alpha secretion in response to DNA-immune complexes

Henault J, Martinez J, Riggs JM, Tian J, Clarke L, Latz E, Brinkmann MM, Coyle AJ, Kolbeck R, Green DR, Sanjuan, MA. Immunity. 2012 Dec 14;37(6):986-97


T and B cell hyperactivity and autoimmunity associated with niche-specific defects in apoptotic body clearance in TIM-4-deficient mice

Rodriguez-Manzanet R, Sanjuan MA, Wu HY, Quintana FJ, Xiao S, Anderson AC, Weiner HL, Green DR, Kuchroo VK.. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 May 11;107(19):8706-11.


Toll-like receptor signaling in the lysosomal pathways

Sanjuan MA, Milasta S, Green DR. Immunological Reviews. 2009 227:203-220.


Eating for Good Health--Linking Autophagy and Phagocytosis in Host Defense

Sanjuan MA, Green DR. Autophagy 2008 4(5): 607-11


Toll Like Receptors stimulate pathogen-degradation by the recruitment of LC3 to the phagosome

Sanjuan MA, Dillon CP, Tait SW, Moshiach S, Dorsey F, Connell S, Komatsu M, Tanaka K, Cleveland JL, Withoff S, Green DR. Nature 2007 Dec 20;450(7173):1253-7.


Role of the Diacylglyderol Kinase Alpha conserved domains in membrane targeting in intact cells

Merino E, Sanjuan MA, Moraga, I, Cipres A, Merida I. J Biol Chem 2007 Nov 30;282(48)


CpG-induced tyrosine phosphorylation occurs via a TLR9-independent mechanism and is required for cytokine secretion

Sanjuan MA, Rao N, Lai KT, Gu Y, Sun S, Fuchs A, Fung-Leung WP, Colonna M, Karlsson L. J. Cell Biol. 2006 Mar 27; 172 (7):1057-68


Human septin-septin interactions as a prerequisite for targeting septin complexes in the cytosol

Martinez C, Sanjuan MA, Dent JA, Karlsson L, Ware J.. Biochem J. 2004 Jun 23


T Cell Activation In Vivo Targets Diacylglycerol Kinase alpha to the Membrane: A Novel Mechanism for Ras Attenuation

Sanjuan MA, Pradet-Balade B, Jones DR, Martinez-A C, Stone JC, Garcia- Sanz JA, Merida I. “.”.J Immunol. 2003 Mar 15;170(6):2877-83.


Expression of a catalytically inactive form of diacylglycerol kinase alpha induces sustained signaling through RasGRP

Jones DR, Sanjuan MA, Stone JC, Merida I. FASEB J. 2002 Apr;16(6):595-7.


Role of diacylglycerol kinase alpha in the attenuation of receptor signaling

Sanjuan MA, Jones DR, Izquierdo M, Merida I. J Cell Biol. 2001 Apr 2;153(1):207-20.


Evidence for the involvement of diacylglycerol kinase in the activation of hypoxia-inducible transcription factor 1 by low oxygen tension

Aragones J, Jones DR, Martin S, San Juan MA, Alfranca A, Vidal F, Vara A, Merida I, Landazuri MO. J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 30;276(13):10548-55.


Type I alpha phosphatidylinositol 4- phosphate 5-kinase is a putative target for increased intracellular phosphatidic acid

Jones DR, Sanjuan MA, Merida I. FEBS Lett. 2000 Jul 7;476(3):160-5.


Diacylglycerol kinase inhibition prevents IL-2-induced G1 to S transition through a phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase-independent mechanism

Flores I, Jones DR, Cipres A, Diaz-Flores E, Sanjuan MA, Merida I.. J Immunol. 1999 Jul 15; 163(2): 708-14.


Interleukin-2 causes an increase in saturated/monounsaturated phosphatidic acid derived from 1,2-diacylglycerol and 1-O-alkyl-2-acylglycerol

Jones DR, Pettitt TR, Sanjuan MA, Merida I, Wakelam MJ. J Biol Chem. 1999 Jun 11;274(24):16846-52

Awards and honors


Best Poster Award. 12th International Symposium on Dendritic Cells


MedImmune R&D Award of Excellence


MedImmune Gold Special Recognition and Scientific Excellence Award