Robert V. Farese

Robert V. Farese

Professor of Genetics and Complex Diseases
Robert V. Farese
Cellular lipid metabolism and homeostasisLipids are central to all aspects of life, most prominently as constituents of biological membranes and as major energy reservoirs. Diseases of lipid excess, such as obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, are major global health problems.The Farese & Walther laboratory studies cellular lipid metabolism and homeostasis. We have two main interests. The first is determining the mechanisms of neutral lipid synthesis and storage in cellular lipid droplets. Neutral lipids, such as sterol esters or triglycerides (TGs), are synthesized by enzymes (such as the DGAT enzymes) in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and then are stored in cytosolic organelles called lipid droplets (LDs). Our projects focus on neutral lipid synthesis enzymes (structure and biochemical regulation), LD formation, protein targeting to LDs, and consumption of proteins and lipids on LDs. Our work spans biophysical, biochemical, cell biological, and physiological approaches.Another area of focus is the cell biology of neurodegeneration. We study the biology of endosome-lysosomal trafficking and function and how disruptions of function lead to neuronal cell dysfunction or death. Projects focus on sphingolipid trafficking and metabolism and on the biology of progranulin, a lysosomal protein whose deficiency leads to frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Our work on FTD is part of the Consortium for FTD Research, a highly collaborative group of laboratories who work together to find treatments for FTD, and the Bluefield Project to Cure FTD (

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Harvard School of Public Health
665 Huntington Avenue
Building I, Room 207
Boston, MA 02115
p: 617-432-6051

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