Cell Physiology

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Bruce Spiegelman

Professor of Cancer Biology (DFCI)
Stanley J. Korsmeyer Professor of Cell Biology and Medicine

Bruce Spiegelman, Ph.D. received a B.S. from the College of William and Mary and his doctorate from Princeton University. His postdoctoral training was at MIT, and he was hired to join the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1982. Dr. Spiegelman was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine and is a Foreign Associate of EMBO.

The Spiegelman laboratory is centered on the molecular basis of energy homeostasis and tissue development, using adipogenesis and muscle as the primary model systems. This includes the biochemical mechanisms of metabolic diseases, especially obesity, insulin-resistant diabetes (type 2) and muscle diseases. In addition, we have a major interest in suppressing cancer cell growth by stimulating pathways of altered cell metabolism and DNA repair.

Randall King

Harry C. McKenzie Professor of Cell Biology

Randy King, M.D., Ph.D. was appointed to the faculty in 2000, after three years as the first Institute Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry of Cell Biology at Harvard. He received his undergraduate degree from Carleton College, followed by a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UCSF, where he co-discovered the Anaphase-Promoting complex/Cyclosome (APC), and M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He was named the Harry C. McKenzie Professor of Cell Biology in 2013 and has received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions to medical education.

The King lab integrates chemical and cell biological approaches to study cell division and chromosome segregation.

Robert V. Farese, Jr.

Bob Farese
Chair & Professor of Molecular Metabolism (Harvard T.H. Chan SPH)
Professor of Cell Biology

Robert Farese, Jr., M.D., is Chair and Professor of the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, where he runs a laboratory jointly since 2014 with Dr. Tobias Walther. Dr. Farese obtained his M.D. from Vanderbilt University, did medical training at the University of Colorado, and his postdoctoral research training at UCSF and the Gladstone Institutes. Dr. Farese was an investigator at Gladstone/UCSF from 1994-2014, where his laboratory focused on lipid and energy metabolism, in particular elucidating the biochemical and cell biological pathways of neutral lipid and triglyceride synthesis and storage. Since 2007, Dr. Farese also works in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, with an emphasis on investigating lipid metabolism in the central nervous system. He serves on the board of the Bluefield Project to Cure FTD.

The Farese & Walther Lab investigates cellular lipid and energy metabolism, in particular the mechanisms and physiology of neutral lipid synthesis and storage in lipid droplets. More broadly the lab studies the mechanisms how cells regulate the abundance of lipids, how they store lipids to buffer fluctuation in their availability, and how these processes function in membrane biology and cell physiology.

Tobias Walther

Tobias Walther, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Metabolism (Harvard T.H. Chan SPH)
Professor of Cell Biology
HHMI Investigator

Tobi Walther, Ph.D., received his PhD in biology from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, and trained as a postdoc in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF. He became a Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. In 2010, he relocated his lab and became Associate Professor of Cell Biology at the Yale School of Medicine. In 2014, Dr. Walther joined the Harvard Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases, and studies the mechanisms of lipid and membrane homeostasis in cells and organisms with his scientific partner, Bob Farese Jr.

The Farese & Walther laboratory determines the mechanisms how cells regulate the abundance of lipids, how they store lipids to buffer fluctuation in their availability and how these processes function in membrane biology and cell physiology.

Stephen Liberles

Professor of Cell Biology
Member: Harvard Program in Neuroscience
HHMI Investigator

Stephen Liberles, Ph.D. is a Professor and HHMI Investigator in the Cell Biology Department at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Liberles received an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Harvard in 1994, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from Harvard in 1999, working in the lab of Stuart Schreiber. He then performed post-doctoral work in the lab of Linda Buck, first at Harvard Medical School and then at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The Liberles Lab focuses on the molecular neuroscience of sensory systems, including olfaction, pheromone sensing, taste, and internal organ senses of the vagus nerve. Some discoveries from his lab include characterizing non-classical families of olfactory receptors, odors and pheromones that stimulate innate behaviors, vagus nerve cell types that selectively control autonomic physiology, and mechanisms underlying sensation within internal organs, including airway stretch and changes in aortic blood pressure.

Pere Puigserver

Professor of Cancer Biology (DFCI)
Professor of Cell Biology

Pere Puigserver, Ph.D. is Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from UIB (Spain) that included research at Stockholm University, following postdoctoral work at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He joined the faculty of Cell Biology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2002 and subsequently returned in 2006 to the Department of Cell Biology (Harvard Medical School) and Cancer Biology (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute).

The Puigserver Lab focuses on the regulatory molecular mechanisms of core metabolic processes that maintain cell homeostasis and phenotypes. The research program of the Puigserver Lab includes main areas such as 1) mitochondrial biology, 2) intermediary metabolism and, 3) cancer metabolism and energetics. In mitochondrial biology, particular interests are in the regulatory mechanisms that control mitochondrial energetics and biogenesis, with implications in a variety of diseases including metabolic and mitochondrial diseases. In intermediary metabolism, a major focus is in liver and adipose cells and their regulatory mechanisms that control nutrient-derived metabolic and energetic activities. In cancer metabolism and energetics, the Puigserver Lab addresses how these processes drive core cancer biology programs such as cell growth, survival and resistance mechanisms.  The Puigserver Lab uses a multidisciplinary experimental design and approaches including chemical and genetic screens in mammalian cells, quantitative metabolomics and proteomics, biochemistry, mouse pre-clinical models of obesity/diabetes, mitochondrial diseases and cancer.    

Marcia Haigis

Professor of Cell Biology

Marcia C. Haigis, Ph.D. obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 2002 and performed postdoctoral studies at MIT studying mitochondrial metabolism. In 2006, Dr. Haigis joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School, where she is currently a Professor in the Department of Cell Biology. Dr. Haigis is an active member of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging, a member of the Ludwig Center at Harvard Medical School, and was recently selected for the National Academy of Medicine Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine Program.

The Haigis Lab aims to: 1) identify molecular mechanisms by which mitochondria respond to cellular stress and 2) elucidate how these cellular mechanisms contribute to aging and age-related diseases, such as cancer. The Haigis lab has made key contributions to our understanding of metabolic reprogramming in cancer, including identifying nodes of metabolic vulnerability in the control of fat oxidation in leukemia and metabolic recycling of ammonia to generate amino acids important for tumor growth.

Alfred Goldberg

Professor of Cell Biology

Fred Goldberg, Ph.D., did both undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard, and was appointed to a faculty position in the Department of Physiology, and later, in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, which were precursors to today's Department of Cell Biology. He has received many honors for his pioneering work, including the discoveries of the uniquitin-protesome pathway and ATP-dependent proteases. His research resulted in the development of proteosome inhibitors, including bortezomib/Velcade, used worldwide as the primary treatment for multiple myeloma.

The Goldberg laboratory is presently studying the regulation and mechanisms of protein breakdown in animal and bacterial cells.

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