Robin Klemm

Fellow & Tutor in Medicine; Associate Professor of Physiological Metabolism

Robin’s research focuses on the molecular basis of lipid metabolism in professional fat storing cells called adipocytes.

He carried out his PhD work at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in the lab of Kai Simons. Robin worked on the sorting principles of lipids in the secretory pathway and developed novel organelle isolation methods allowing the rapid purification of several organelles for analysis by mass spectrometry-based proteomics and lipidomics. He presented the first quantitative membrane lipidomes of eukaryotic organelles and identified the role of sphingolipids and sterols in the formation of secretory vesicles at the trans-Golgi network.

During his postdoctoral work at the Harvard Medical School in the lab of Tom Rapoport, Robin reconstituted homotypic ER fusion pathways with purified GTPases of the dynamin family called Atlastin in metazoans and Sey1p in yeast. Depletion of these ER fusogens had unexpected consequences for lipid droplet biology and whole-body lipid metabolism.

Starting his independent work as a group leader at the University of Zurich, Robin switched his focus to lipid droplet biology in adipocytes. The Klemm lab has identified new molecular machinery coupling mitochondria to the ER and adipocyte lipid droplets. The spatial organization of metabolism across several organelles is a fascinating aspect of cellular biochemistry and its regulation and control is absolutely crucial for whole body health and metabolic homeostasis.

In 2020, Robin moved his lab to the University of Oxford. At the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, his group investigates the molecular basis of adipocyte LD formation, spatial organization of lipid metabolism and the role of de novo lipogenesis in the etiology of obesity and type II diabetes.


Adipocyte-like signature in ovarian cancer minimal residual disease identifies metabolic vulnerabilities of tumor initiating cells
Journal article
Artibani M. et al, (2021), JCI Insight

Getting in Touch Is an Important Step: Control of Metabolism at Organelle Contact Sites
Journal article
Klemm RW., (2021), Contact, 4, 251525642199370 – 251525642199370

The cell biology of lipid droplets: More than just a phase.
Journal article
Klemm RW. and Ikonen E., (2020), Semin Cell Dev Biol, 108, 1 – 3

Essential role of non-vesicular lipid transport in microtubule-controlled cell polarisation
Journal article
Hersberger-Trost M. et al, (2020)

Principles of organelle spatial organization and interactions.
Journal article
Klemm RW. and Carvalho P., (2020), Mol Biol Cell, 31, 401 – 402

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