The Farese and Walther Laboratory

The Farese & Walther laboratory aims to make discoveries in fundamental biology and train the leaders in the next generation of scientists.

We investigate cellular lipid and energy metabolism, in particular the mechanisms and physiology of neutral lipid synthesis and storage. 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, and how dysfunction of these pathways leads to diseases, including cancer, metabolic diseases, and neurodegeneration.

We are part of Sloan Kettering Institute at MSKCC in the heart of Manhattan and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Biology of Cellular Energy Metabolism

The Farese and Walther laboratory studies how cells store metabolic energy in the form of lipids.

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Lysosomal Lipid Metabolism and Neurodegeneration

We study metabolism of the endo-lysosomal system, and its relationship to cancer and neurodegenertive disease (such as FTD, ALS, Alzheimers).

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Systems Biology and Metabolism

We employ techniques such as mass spectrometry, genome-perturbations screens, and high-content microcopy to generate hypotheses or models for biological processes.

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Lecture #3: Thursday, January 18, 2024 The Skinny on Fat: Mechanisms and Physiology of Lipid Storage Robert Farese, MD & Tobias Walther, PhD

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Robert V. Farese, MD is a Professor of Genetics and Complex Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He talks about about Integrity and excellence in communication are important to his research brand. Bob also shares a unique organizational structure for running a lab. Music from Podington Bear. Use with Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License.

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Bob and Tobi's iBiology lectures on the basic mechanism of lipid droplet biology

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Basic science is at the heart of many of our greatest health advances. And in this week's episode we speak with two scientists who are asking fundamental questions about how our bodies work. The answers could help crack the secrets of diseases ranging from diabetes to dementia.

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Robert Farese, Jr.

Co-Principal Investigator

Member, Cell Biology Program, SKI Alfred P. Sloan Chair, MSKCC Professor, Weill Cornell

Tobias Walther

Co-Principal Investigator

Program Chair, Cell Biology Program, SKI Enid A. Haupt Chair, MSKCC Professor, Weill Cornell Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Hamed Abdi

Visiting Investigator (HHMI)

I am building a software platform for analyzing and storing lipidomics data.

Yohannes Ambaw

Research Associate

My background is in analytical chemistry and I apply my expertise to better understand the links between lipid metabolism and common diseases, such as neurodegeneration or cancer.

Pedro Manuel Carpio Malia

Research Associate

I am from Spain and love outdoors activities and sports. I came to the Farese and Walther lab driven by curiosity to mechanistically understand lipid droplets. Now, I work on understanding how proteins organize lipid droplet formation, and how proteins target lipid droplets.

Uwe Gritzan

Senior Research Specialist (HHMI)

I have some 20 years of experience in life science industry. Currently, I am working on novel approaches to modulate metabolism and to target cancer.

Yuxuan Han

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a cancer biologist and study pathways of lipid metabolism in tumorgenesis

Emma Johnsson

Graduate Student

I am studying lysosomal biology and lipid turnover

Leehyeon Kim

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a biochemist, structural and cell biologist interested in mechanisms of lipid metabolism.

Zahra Masih

Research Technician (HHMI)

I have an undergraduate degree in Biology and Society and am interested in cancer therapeutics. When not running cell based assays, I enjoy experimenting with new coffee flavors.

Arda Mizrak

Postdoctoral Fellow (joint with W. Harper lab at Harvard)

I work on the mechanisms that target proteins to lipid droplets

Katie Papciak

Scientific Administrative Coordinator

After working as a research technician at CSHL and a genetic counselor assistant at GeneDx, I have found myself jumping back into research as I prepare for graduate school. I joined the Farese and Walther Lab to learn more about lipid metabolism at the cellular/sub-cellular level. I primarily assist the lab by handling important scientific regulatory and administrative affairs to prevent any obstacles impeding our scientific output.

Shubham Singh

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a HFSP postdoc fellow in the lab. I graduated from IISER-Pune in 2021 and joined our lab to study lysosomal lipid metabolism in context to neuro-immune diseases. I am broadly interested in understanding various aspects of lipid physiology in the development and maintenance of central nervous system.

Brian Suarez

Lab Manager

I studied neuroscience during my graduate career but now I am the peacemaker, also known as the Lab Manager of the Farese and Walther Lab. When I'm not placing orders or re-organizing the lab, I love to listen to Beyoncé, Twice, and Bad Bunny.

Wei-Chun Tang

Research Specialist (HHMI)

I am an interdisciplinary expert in biology and optics in the F&W lab. I use Lattice light-sheet microscope to study lipid droplet biogenesis.

Xiaojun Xiang

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am interested in the pathways of triglyceride synthesis. Now I am working on the feedback regulation of lipogenesis

Simon Kahan

Research Technician

I have an undergraduate degree in Biophysics. I’m deeply involved in both the operational side of our mass spectrometer and in the analytical side of lipidomics. In my spare time I like playing chess and climbing rocks.

Ying Xue Xie

Postdoctoral Fellow

I studied the accumulation and release of protein aggregates from lysosomes in neurodegenerative diseases during my PhD. With the lab’s expertise on lipid metabolism, I am interested in studying the accumulation of lipids in neurodegenerative diseases.

Mohan Chitraju

Research Specialist (HHMI)

I have completed training specializing in triglyceride storage and physiology in adipose tissue. My current research focuses on understanding brain lipid metabolism in normal physiology and in neurodegenerative diseases.

Chiso Nwokafor

Administrative Assistant to Chair

As scientist, I made the following findings: 1) Absence of an RNA binding protein (ZBP1) play a role in breast cancer progression to metastasis. 2) Traumatic stress altered expression of norepinephrine transporter in the locus coeruleus leading to hyperarousal features as seen in PTSD patients. 3) Neonatal opioid exposure led to differentially expressed genes in synapse development pathways, the GABAergic and myelin systems, and mitochondrial function. 4) I developed an advanced intravital MBS-MCP method by which mRNAs can be visualized in specific cell types of the living mouse brain. As Assistant to Chair, I hope to leverage my scientific knowledge and skills to further propel scientific, business and healthcare administration

Helena Mueller

Undergraduate Researcher

I am working on the biochemistry of lipid synthesis

Postdoctoral Fellows
If you are interested in joining our team, please send us an email with the below information.
To learn more about how we run the lab in partnership, read “The Power of Two: Lessons from a Scientific Partnership":  


Application requirements
  1. A cover letter explaining your interest in our lab.
  2. Your CV.
  3. Names of three references.

Graduate Students
We are excited about scientific training and we are members of these programs:

  • Rockefeller Research Laboratories
  • RRL 501