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Department of Biological Engineering
Harvey F. Lodish, Ph.D.

Harvey F. Lodish, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology, and Biological Engineering
Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Research group web site

E-mail: lodish@wi.mit.edu
Office: Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Room 601
Phone: (617) 258-5216
Administrative Assistants: Mary Anne Donovan

Courses: 7.06, 7.37J/10.441J


Research Focus

A leader in the fields of cellular and developmental biology, Harvey F. Lodish has isolated, cloned, and characterized numerous proteins and noncoding RNAs that play key roles in formation of blood and fat cells and that regulate metabolism of glucose and fatty acids. His results have important implications for the treatment of anemias, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

In 1988, the Lodish laboratory accomplished pioneering work on erythropoietin (Epo), a hormone that controls the production of red blood cells; the group identified and cloned the Epo receptor. This has led to a long and ongoing set of projects on the activation of and signal transduction by the erythropoietin receptor in erythroid progenitor cells, and the regulation of transcription, apoptosis, and cell division; currently they are characterizing many novel genes that are important for terminal stages of erythropoiesis, including chromatin condensation and enucleation. Other work focuses on the regulation of self- renewal, proliferation and differentiation of early (BFU-E) erythroid progenitor cells by extracellular signals including glucocorticoids and oxygen. One goal is the development of new therapies for erythropoietin- resistant anemias.

More recently they have discovered several microRNAs and Long Non-coding RNAs that are specifically expressed in developing red blood cells and that regulate important aspects of development including cell death. One microRNA causes leukemias when overexpressed in human or mouse stem cells.

Additionally, the Lodish lab is studying hormones controlling fatty acid and glucose metabolism, broadening understanding of obesity and type 2 diabetes. In 1995, the lab cloned adiponectin, a hormone made exclusively by fat cells. A long and ongoing series of studies showed that adiponectin causes muscle to burn fatty acids faster so they are not stored as fat and also increases the metabolism of the sugar glucose. More recently that laboratory has focused on identifying and characterizing microRNAs and Long Non-coding RNAs that are specifically expressed in adipose cells. One miRNA unique to brown fat - the fat cells that burn rather than store fatty acids as triglycerides - triggers other progenitor cells to become brown fat.

A Founding Member of the Whitehead Institute, Lodish joined the MIT faculty in 1968 and has been a professor of biology since 1976 and professor of bioengineering since 1999. He earned his PhD at Rockefeller University in 1966. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1986, a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1987, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Boston Children's Hospital, and is Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the group charged with oversight of the state's 10- year $1 billion investment in the life sciences. He is also the lead author of the textbook Molecular Cell Biology.

Selected Publications

Sankaran, V., L. S. Ludwig, E. Sicinska, J. Xu, J. C. Eng, H. C. Patterson, R. A. Metcalf1 Y. Natkunam, S. H. Orkin, P. Sicinski, E. S. Lander, and H. F. Lodish. Cyclin D3 coordinates the cell cycle during differentiation to regulate erythrocyte size and number. Genes and Development in the press (2012)

Hu, W., B. Yuan, J. Flygare, and H. Lodish Long non-coding RNA- mediated antiapoptotic activity in murine erythroid terminal differentiation. Genes and Development 25: 2573- 2578 (2011).

Sun, L., H. Xie, M. Mori, R. Alexander, B. Yuan, S. Hattangadi, Q. Liu, R. Kahn, and H. Lodish. Mir-193b-365 is essential for brown fat differentiation. Nature Cell Biology. 13:958 - 965. (2011)

Flygare, J., V. Rayon Estrada, C. Shin, S. Gupta, and H. F. Lodish. HIF-1 alpha synergizes with glucocorticoids to induce BFU-E progenitor self-renewal Blood, 117: 3435 - 3444 (2011)

Bousquet, M., M. Harris, B. Zhou, and H. Lodish. MicroRNA miR-125b causes leukemia PNAS 107: 21558 - 21563 (2010)


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