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Michael Airola, PhD - Assistant Professor


Dr. Michael Airola is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. His lab studies lipid metabolism with a specific focus on enzymes that modify lipids and are relevant to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and fungal infections. The goals of this research are to understand how the shape of these proteins determines their function and to develop small molecule inhibitors that can be used to treat disease. Notable achievements include the determination of the first structures of human phospholipase D, which is a therapeutic target for cancer, and a lipin phosphatidic acid phosphatase that regulates fat storage as triglycerides.

In addition to his research, Mike has emerged as an up-and-coming leader within the scientific community. He co-started the very successful virtual Lipid Research Seminar series during the covid shutdown, attended by ~300-400 scientists/weekly. He also serves as a junior associate editor at the Journal of Lipid Research, and is serving on various organizing committees (e.g. Lipid Trends) and review committees (e.g. at Brookhaven National Lab). His overall excellence has recently been recognized with the prestigious national award, the Walter A. Shaw Young Investigator of Lipid Research, presented by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.