Gregory D. Fairn


Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science


Dr. Fairn is a staff scientist with training in a variety of disciplines including Cell Biology, Immunology, Genetics and Biochemistry. He is a member of the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science and the Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Science Technology at St. Michael’s Hospital. He is also an assistant professor at the University of Toronto in both the Department of Surgery and Biochemistry as well as an associate member of the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto. Additionally, he holds appointments at the Hospital for Sick Children and Ryerson University. Finally, he is also a member of the recently established Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA).

His research interests are broad but tend to focus on novel aspects of lipid metabolism and cellular signaling in a variety of physiological settings. As such, he has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles, covering a variety of topics including innate immunity, cellular dynamics, lipid metabolism and chemical biology. Since beginning his lab at SMH in the summer of 2012, he has contributed to the training of over 20 students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting medical residents.

Dr. Fairn serves on several academic and governmental review committees, including graduate student scholarship committees for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Alberta Innovates Health Solutions, respectively. He also is an editorial board member of the journal Cellular Microbiology and serves as an ad hoc reviewer for a variety of other biochemical and cell biological publications. Dr. Fairn has received a New Investigator award from CIHR and an Early Researcher Award from the Government of Ontario to support the establishment of his laboratory. He also holds research grants from CIHR, CCNA  and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

For more information on the Fairn lab and for anyone interested in graduate studies please visit his Department of Biochemistry webpage. Publications can be found on PubMed by searching Fairn GD Toronto.


Recent Publications

  1. Hirama, T, Das, R, Yang, Y, Ferguson, C, Won, A, Yip, CM et al.. Phosphatidylserine dictates the assembly and dynamics of caveolae in the plasma membrane. J. Biol. Chem. 2017; :. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.791400. PubMed PMID:28698382 .
  2. Sun, L, Shi, Y, Wang, G, Wang, X, Zeng, S, Dunn, SE et al.. PPAR-delta modulates membrane cholesterol and cytokine signaling in malignant B cells. Leukemia. 2017; :. doi: 10.1038/leu.2017.162. PubMed PMID:28555083 .
  3. Hua, R, Cheng, D, Coyaud, É, Freeman, S, Di Pietro, E, Wang, Y et al.. VAPs and ACBD5 tether peroxisomes to the ER for peroxisome maintenance and lipid homeostasis. J. Cell Biol. 2017;216 (2):367-377. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201608128. PubMed PMID:28108526 PubMed Central PMC5294787.
  4. Bone, LN, Dayam, RM, Lee, M, Kono, N, Fairn, GD, Arai, H et al.. The acyltransferase LYCAT controls specific phosphoinositides and related membrane traffic. Mol. Biol. Cell. 2017;28 (1):161-172. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E16-09-0668. PubMed PMID:28035047 PubMed Central PMC5221620.
  5. Levin, R, Hammond, GR, Balla, T, De Camilli, P, Fairn, GD, Grinstein, S et al.. Multiphasic dynamics of phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate during phagocytosis. Mol. Biol. Cell. 2017;28 (1):128-140. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E16-06-0451. PubMed PMID:28035045 PubMed Central PMC5221617.
  6. Lu, SM, Grinstein, S, Fairn, GD. Quantitative Live-Cell Fluorescence Microscopy During Phagocytosis. Methods Mol. Biol. 2017;1519 :79-91. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6581-6_6. PubMed PMID:27815874 .
  7. Maekawa, M, Lee, M, Wei, K, Ridgway, ND, Fairn, GD. Staurosporines decrease ORMDL proteins and enhance sphingomyelin synthesis resulting in depletion of plasmalemmal phosphatidylserine. Sci Rep. 2016;6 :35762. doi: 10.1038/srep35762. PubMed PMID:27805006 PubMed Central PMC5090970.
  8. Ostrowski, PP, Fairn, GD, Grinstein, S, Johnson, DE. Cresyl violet: a superior fluorescent lysosomal marker. Traffic. 2016;17 (12):1313-1321. doi: 10.1111/tra.12447. PubMed PMID:27621028 .
  9. Schlam, D, Canton, J, Carreño, M, Kopinski, H, Freeman, SA, Grinstein, S et al.. Gliotoxin Suppresses Macrophage Immune Function by Subverting Phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-Trisphosphate Homeostasis. MBio. 2016;7 (2):e02242. doi: 10.1128/mBio.02242-15. PubMed PMID:27048806 PubMed Central PMC4817266.
  10. Maekawa, M, Yang, Y, Fairn, GD. Perfringolysin O Theta Toxin as a Tool to Monitor the Distribution and Inhomogeneity of Cholesterol in Cellular Membranes. Toxins (Basel). 2016;8 (3):. doi: 10.3390/toxins8030067. PubMed PMID:27005662 PubMed Central PMC4810212.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Assistant Professor, Surgery, University of Toronto
  • Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, University of Toronto