Dr. Sumpter is originally from Dunwoody, Georgia and was initially drawn to UT Southwestern because of its Medical Scientist Training Program with a reputation for clinical and scientific excellence and a strong institutional commitment to training clinician scientists. After finishing his combined MD/PhD degree, he joined the Physician Scientist Training Program at UT Southwestern and completed his residency in Internal Medicine and clinical fellowship in Infectious Diseases. During his postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Beth Levine, Dr. Sumpter studied autophagy: an ancient, phylogenetically conserved catabolic pathway involved in “cellular housekeeping” that keeps our cells free from protein aggregates, damaged organelles, and invading pathogens. Accumulation of these substrates of the autophagy pathway has been linked to many diseases, including neurodegenerative disease, cancer, and aging as well as infectious diseases. Dr. Sumpter is focused understanding how autophagy substrates (such as viruses and damaged mitochondria) are specifically targeted for autophagic destruction to keep our cells healthy with the long-term goal of identifying new therapeutic targets for infectious and autoinflammatory diseases. Dr. Sumpter’s interests outside of medicine include his family, reading, travel, and cycling.


Rice University (1997), Biochemistry
Medical School
UT Southwestern Medical Center (2006), Medicine
Graduate School
UT Southwestern Medical Center (2006), Microbiology

Research Interest

  • Autophagy
  • Inflammation
  • Innate Immunity


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Endolysosomal trafficking of viral G protein-coupled receptor functions in innate immunity and control of viral oncogenesis.
Dong X, Cheng A, Zou Z, Yang YS, Sumpter RM, Huang CL, Bhagat G, Virgin HW, Lira SA, Levine B Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2016 Feb
The stress-responsive kinases MAPKAPK2/MAPKAPK3 activate starvation-induced autophagy through Beclin 1 phosphorylation.
Wei Y, An Z, Zou Z, Sumpter R, Su M, Zang X, Sinha S, Gaestel M, Levine B Elife 2015 4
Autosis is a Na+,K+-ATPase-regulated form of cell death triggered by autophagy-inducing peptides, starvation, and hypoxia-ischemia.
Liu Y, Shoji-Kawata S, Sumpter RM, Wei Y, Ginet V, Zhang L, Posner B, Tran KA, Green DR, Xavier RJ, Shaw SY, Clarke PG, Puyal J, Levine B Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2013 Nov
EGFR-Mediated Beclin 1 Phosphorylation in Autophagy Suppression, Tumor Progression, and Tumor Chemoresistance.
Wei Y, Zou Z, Becker N, Anderson M, Sumpter R, Xiao G, Kinch L, Koduru P, Christudass CS, Veltri RW, Grishin NV, Peyton M, Minna J, Bhagat G, Levine B Cell 2013 Sep 154 6 1269-84
Intestinal Epithelial Autophagy Is Essential for Host Defense against Invasive Bacteria.
Benjamin JL, Sumpter R, Levine B, Hooper LV Cell Host Microbe 2013 Jun 13 6 723-34
Identification of a candidate therapeutic autophagy-inducing peptide.
Shoji-Kawata S, Sumpter R, Leveno M, Campbell GR, Zou Z, Kinch L, Wilkins AD, Sun Q, Pallauf K, MacDuff D, Huerta C, Virgin HW, Helms JB, Eerland R, Tooze SA, Xavier R, Lenschow DJ, Yamamoto A, King D, Lichtarge O, Grishin NV, Spector SA, Kaloyanova DV, Levine B Nature 2013 Feb 494 7436 201-6
Exercise induces autophagy in peripheral tissues and in the brain.
He C, Sumpter R, Levine B Autophagy 2012 Oct 8 10
Selective autophagy and viruses.
Sumpter R, Levine B Autophagy 2011 Mar 7 3 260-5

Honors & Awards

  • Career Award for Medical Scientist
    Burroughs Wellcome Fund (2013)
  • Distinguished Researcher Award
    UT Southwestern President's Research Council (2013)
  • Career Development Award
    Association of American Physicians/American Society for Clinical Investigation (2012)
  • Alpha Omega Alpha
    UT Southwestern Medical School (2006)
  • Hemphill-Glojer Award
    UT Southwestern Medical School (2006)
  • S. Edward Sulkin Memorial Scholarship
    Department of Molecular Microbiology, UT Southwestern (2004)
  • Fulbright Fellowship, Argentina
    U.S. Department of State (1997)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Society for Virology (2000)