Stephen R. Farmer, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry

Stephen Farmer
72 E. Concord St Silvio Conte (K)


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 resistance 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.

Other Positions

  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, Boston University
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences
  • Boston Medical Center
  • Member, Genome Science Institute, Boston University


  • National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), PhD
  • University of Liverpool, BSc

Classes Taught

  • GMSBI778
  • GMSPA800


  • Published on 2/17/2021

    Wang D, Rabhi N, Yet SF, Farmer SR, Layne MD. Aortic carboxypeptidase-like protein regulates vascular adventitial progenitor and fibroblast differentiation through myocardin related transcription factor A. Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 17; 11(1):3948. PMID: 33597582.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/18/2021

    Batista ML, Meshulam T, Desevin K, Rabhi N, Farmer SR. Three-Dimensional Adipocyte Culture as a Model to Study Cachexia-Induced White Adipose Tissue Remodeling. J Vis Exp. 2021 01 18; (167). PMID: 33522508.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/4/2020

    Rabhi N, Belkina AC, Desevin K, Cortez BN, Farmer SR. Shifts of Immune Cell Populations Differ in Response to Different Effectors of Beige Remodeling of Adipose Tissue. iScience. 2020 Dec 18; 23(12):101765. PMID: 33294778.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/18/2020

    Kim S, Rabhi N, Blum BC, Hekman R, Wynne K, Emili A, Farmer S, Schlezinger JJ. Triphenyl phosphate is a selective PPAR? modulator that does not induce brite adipogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Arch Toxicol. 2020 09; 94(9):3087-3103. PMID: 32683515.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/11/2020

    Jones JEC, Rabhi N, Orofino J, Gamini R, Perissi V, Vernochet C, Farmer SR. The Adipocyte Acquires a Fibroblast-Like Transcriptional Signature in Response to a High Fat Diet. Sci Rep. 2020 02 11; 10(1):2380. PMID: 32047213.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/13/2019

    Jash S, Banerjee S, Lee MJ, Farmer SR, Puri V. CIDEA Transcriptionally Regulates UCP1 for Britening and Thermogenesis in Human Fat Cells. iScience. 2019 Oct 25; 20:73-89. PMID: 31563853.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/29/2019

    Rabhi N, Farmer SR. Adipose Progenitor Cells Contribute to Lipid Spillover during Obesity. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2019 07; 30(7):416-418. PMID: 31153731.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/11/2019

    Farmer SR. Boning Up on Irisin. N Engl J Med. 2019 04 11; 380(15):1480-1482. PMID: 30970196.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/21/2018

    Henriques F, Lopes MA, Franco FO, Knobl P, Santos KB, Bueno LL, Correa VA, Bedard AH, Guilherme A, Birbrair A, Peres SB, Farmer SR, Batista ML. Toll-Like Receptor-4 Disruption Suppresses Adipose Tissue Remodeling and Increases Survival in Cancer Cachexia Syndrome. Sci Rep. 2018 12 21; 8(1):18024. PMID: 30575787.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/25/2018

    Jager M, Lee MJ, Li C, Farmer SR, Fried SK, Layne MD. Aortic carboxypeptidase-like protein enhances adipose tissue stromal progenitor differentiation into myofibroblasts and is upregulated in fibrotic white adipose tissue. PLoS One. 2018; 13(5):e0197777. PMID: 29799877.

    Read at: PubMed

View 92 more publications: View full profile at BUMC

View all profiles