Stephen R. Farmer, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry & Cell Biology

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 Chobanian & Avedisian 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


  • Published on 12/9/2022

    Dance YW, Obenreder MC, Seibel AJ, Meshulam T, Ogony JW, Lahiri N, Pacheco-Spann L, Radisky DC, Layne MD, Farmer SR, Nelson CM, Tien J. Adipose Cells Induce Escape from an Engineered Human Breast Microtumor Independently of their Obesity Status. Cell Mol Bioeng. 2023 Feb; 16(1):23-39. PMID: 36660589.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/18/2022

    Rabhi N, Desevin K, Belkina AC, Tilston-Lunel A, Varelas X, Layne MD, Farmer SR. Obesity-induced senescent macrophages activate a fibrotic transcriptional program in adipocyte progenitors. Life Sci Alliance. 2022 05; 5(5). PMID: 35181634.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/23/2021

    Jafari N, Kolla M, Meshulam T, Shafran JS, Qiu Y, Casey AN, Pompa IR, Ennis CS, Mazzeo CS, Rabhi N, Farmer SR, Denis GV. Adipocyte-derived exosomes may promote breast cancer progression in type 2 diabetes. Sci Signal. 2021 11 23; 14(710):eabj2807. PMID: 34813359.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/8/2021

    Biagi CAO, Cury SS, Alves CP, Rabhi N, Silva WA, Farmer SR, Carvalho RF, Batista ML. Multidimensional Single-Nuclei RNA-Seq Reconstruction of Adipose Tissue Reveals Adipocyte Plasticity Underlying Thermogenic Response. Cells. 2021 11 08; 10(11). PMID: 34831295.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/1/2021

    Rabhi N, Farmer SR. Unraveling the complexity of thermogenic remodeling of white fat reveals potential antiobesity therapies. Genes Dev. 2021 11 01; 35(21-22):1395-1397. PMID: 34725126.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/13/2021

    Rabhi N, Desevin K, Cortez BN, Hekman R, Lin JZ, Emili A, Farmer SR. The cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor Roscovitine prevents diet-induced metabolic disruption in obese mice. Sci Rep. 2021 10 13; 11(1):20365. PMID: 34645915.

    Read at: PubMed
  • 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 02 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

View 98 more publications: View full profile at BUMC

View all profiles