Stephen R. Farmer


Boston University School of Medicine
Silvio Conte Building, Office: K602; Lab: K606
72 E. Concord Street
Boston, MA 02118

Phone: 617-638-4186
Fax: 617-638-5339
Lab: 617-638-4268; 617-638-4277


BSc  Hons I, Liverpool University, England
PhD National Institute for Medical Research, London, England

BU Profile


Hong Wang
Postdoctoral associate
Hejiao Bian
Graduate Student
Chendi Li
Graduate Student
Lynes Torres
Graduate Student

POSTDOCTORAL POSITION AVAILABLE (for more information: Adipose Tissue Formation)

GRADUATE STUDENT ROTATIONS AVAILABLE (for more information contact Dr. Farmer)

Research Interests

Obesity has now reached pandemic proportions, resulting in dramatic increases in the occurrence of its associated disorders including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Understanding the processes and metabolic perturbations that contribute to the expansion of adipose depots accompanying obesity is critical for the development of appropriate therapeutics. Expansion of white adipose (WAT) tissue depots particularly the intra-abdominal depots contribute to insulin resistence and inflammation that lead to type 2 diabetes, whereas brown adipose (BAT) resists expansion because it oxidizes lipids and, consequently, it is associated with an healthier phenotype.  Our studies are focused on identifying the mechanisms regulating the formation and function of white and brown adipocytes (fat cells) using a variety of experimental approaches including overexpression and knock down of specific nuclear factors that we consider to be likely regulators of these processes in cells in culture as well as in mice. At present our focus is on nuclear factors that modulate the activity of the two principal regulators of adipogenesis (fat cell differentiation) peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARg) and CCAAT/enhancer binding proteins alpha, beta and delta (C/EBPs). We are particularly interested in identifying the factors regulating commitment of mesenchymal progenitors to the adipogenic lineage and are adopting a variety of approaches to achieve this goal, which includes gene profiling to discover novel regulators as well as investigating the role of selected candidate genes.

Research Theme

Obesity & Metabolism
Cell Fate & Development

Representative Publications

Pubmed Search

  • Vernochet C, Davis KE, Scherer PE, Farmer SR. Mechanisms regulating repression of haptoglobin production by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma ligands in adipocytes Endocrinology. 151:586-94, 2010.
  • Vernochet C, Peres SB, Davis KE, McDonald ME, Qiang L, Wang H, Scherer PE, Farmer SR. C/EBPalpha and the corepressors CtBP1 and CtBP2 regulate repression of select visceral white adipose genes during induction of the brown phenotype in white adipocytes by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma agonists. Mol. Cell. Biol. 29:4714-28, 2009.
  • Farmer SR. Obesity: Be cool, lose weight. Nature 458:839-840, 2009.
  • Farmer SR. Brown fat and skeletal muscle: unlikely cousins? Cell 134:726-727,2008.
  • Farmer SR. Molecular Determinants of Brown Adipocyte Formation and Function. Genes & Dev. 22:1269-75, 2008
  • Wang H, Qiang L, Farmer SR. Identification of a domain within peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma regulating expression of a group of genes containing fibroblast growth factor 21 that are selectively repressed by SIRT1 in adipocytes. Mol Cell Biol 28: 188-200, 2008.
  • Bezy O, Vernochet C, Gesta S, Farmer SR, Kahn CR. TRB3 blocks adipocyte differentiation through the inhibition of C/EBPb transcriptional activity. Mol. Cell. Biol. 27:6818-31. 2007.
  • Qiang L, Wang H, Farmer SR. Adiponectin secretion is regulated by the ER oxidoreductase Ero1-La and changes in PPARg and SIRT1 activity. Mol. Cell. Biol. 27:4698-4707. 2007.
  • Liu J, Wang H, Zuo Y, Farmer SR. A Functional Interaction between Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor g and b-Catenin. Mol. Cell. Biol. 26:5827-37. 2006.
  • Farmer SR. Transcriptional Control of Adipocyte Formation. Cell Metab. 4: 263-73. 2006.