Lipid Biology

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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.

Maofu Liao

Maofu Liao
Associate Professor of Cell Biology

Maofu Liao, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. He received his Ph.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2006, performed postdoctoral research at University of California, San Francisco, and joined the faculty in the Department of Cell Biology of Harvard Medical School in 2014. 

Research in the Liao Lab focuses on understanding the structure and function of membrane proteins and DNA/RNA-protein complexes. The major techniques include single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and a variety of biochemical assays. The Liao lab is particularly interested to reveal the mechanism of how proteins sense, move and convert specific lipid molecules. This is achieved by obtaining high-resolution structures of lipid-interacting proteins, and by studying the conformational dynamics of membrane proteins in lipid bilayer environment.

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