Robert V. Farese
Adjunct Faculty

Robert V. Farese

Adjunct Professor of Molecular Metabolism

Molecular Metabolism


Robert Farese, Jr., is Chair and Professor of the Department of Molecular Metabolism at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, where he has run a laboratory jointly with Dr. Tobias Walther since 2014. Dr. Farese earned a B.S. in chemistry at the University of Florida and an M.D. at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He trained in medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and completed a research fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of California, San Francisco and the Gladstone Institutes.

Dr. Farese serves on the board of the Bluefield Project to Cure Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). He has received numerous honors, including election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, the Bristol-Myers Squibb “Freedom to Discover Award”, and the Avanti Award in Lipids.


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

Dr. Farese has made important contributions to our understanding of lipid metabolism. His laboratory discovered genes that encode enzymes critical for neutral lipid metabolism, including the DGAT enzymes which mediate triglyceride (TG) synthesis. Excessive accumulation of TGs underlies obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, and other metabolic diseases. Since 2007, Dr. Farese’s laboratory has studied the role of lipid metabolism in the central nervous system, particularly in neurodegenerative disorders such as Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).



Hidden in plain view

Bob Farese Jr. is an expert in how lipid synthesis and storage may lead to disease—and an accomplished amateur photographer.

Q&A: The fits and starts of science

January 21, 2020—It’s been a busy year for Robert Farese, Jr. In January 2019, Farese was appointed chair of the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases—now known as the Department of Molecular Metabolism—and he continues to co-run a…