Gregory FairnPhD


Dr. Greg Fairn

Laboratory Location:

Room N103, Life Sciences Research Institute
1344 Summer St.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. B3H 0A8

Phone: 902-221-3719
Mailing Address: 
Sir Charles Tupper Building, Room 11B 5850 College Street PO Box 15000 Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Cellular basis of innate immunity
  • Host pathogen interactions
  • Endocytosis and endomembrane traffic
  • Protein lipidation in Crohn's and fatty liver disease
  • Formation and dissolution of phagosomes
  • Lipid metabolism, signaling and post translational modifications
  • Live-cell and super-resolution microscopy
  • Lipidomics and Proteomics


Dr. Gregory Fairn completed his B.Sc. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Microbiology & Immunology with Co-op placements along the way at Novartis and Merck.

Dr. Fairn's PhD was completed at Dalhousie University in the lab of Dr. Chris McMaster studying yeast genetics, vesicular transport, and lipid metabolism. Next, Dr. Fairn moved to Toronto for postdoctoral studies in the lab of Dr. Sergio Grinstein at the Hospital for Sick Children. Continued studying vesicular transport and organelle function and further extended the research into innate immunity and host-pathogen interactions.

In the summer of 2012, he started own lab at St. Michaels Hospital (Toronto) and continued to study a variety of aspects related to vesicular and non-vesicular transport of lipids, membrane dynamics, innate immunity, and cell biology.

In May 2021, Dr. Fairn relocated to Dalhousie University in the Department of Pathology.   

Selected Publications

Macrophage Biology/Host-Pathogen Interactions:

  1. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-independent synthesis of PtdIns(3,4)P2 by a phosphotransferase Glenn F. W. Walpole, Jonathan Pacheco, Neha Chauhan, Yazan M. Abbas, Fernando Montaño-Rendón, Zetao Liu, Hongxian Zhu, John H. Brumell, Alexander Deiters, Gerald R.V. Hammond, Sergio Grinstein, Gregory D. Fairn. Nature Cell Biology (2022) Nat Cell Biol. 2022 May;24(5):708-722
  2. PtdIns(3,4)P2, Lamellipodin, and VASP coordinate actin dynamics during phagocytosis in macrophages. Montaño-Rendón F, Walpole GFW, Krause M, Hammond GRV, Grinstein S, Fairn GD. Journal of Cell Biology. (2022) Nov 7;221(11):e202207042.
  3. Endoplasmic reticulum-Phagosome contact sites from the cradle to the grave. Ghavami M, Fairn GD. Front Cell Dev Biol. (2022_ Dec 22;10:1074443.
  4. Examining the Underappreciated Role of S-Acylated Proteins as Critical Regulators of Phagocytosis and Phagosome Maturation in Macrophages. Dixon CL, Mekhail K, Fairn GD*. Frontiers in Immunology. (2021) Apr 1;12:659533. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.659533.
  5. Phagolysosome resolution requires contacts with the endoplasmic reticulum and phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate signalling. Levin-Konigsberg R, Montaño-Rendón F, Keren-Kaplan T, Li R, Ego B, Mylvaganam S, DiCiccio JE, Trimble WS, Bassik MC, Bonifacino JS, Fairn GD*, Grinstein S*. Nature Cell Biology. (2019) Oct;21(10):1234-1247. doi: 10.1038/s41556-019-0394-2.

Protein Lipidation:

  1. Attenuating ABHD17 enhances S-palmitoylation, membrane localization and signal transduction of NOD2 and Crohn’s disease-associated variants. Charneal L. Dixon, Noah R. Martin, Micah J. Niphakis, Benjamin F. Cravatt, Gregory D. Fairn bioRxiv (2023).12.20.572362; doi:
  2. S-palmitoylation of NOD2 controls its localization to the plasma membrane. Dixon CL, Fairn GD*. Journal of Lipid Research. (2021) Jul 20;62:100097. doi: 10.1016/j.jlr.2021.100097.
  3. Fatty Acid Synthase inhibition prevents palmitoylation of SARS-CoV2 Spike Protein and improves survival of mice infected with murine hepatitis virus. Minhyoung Lee, Michael Sugiyama, Katrina Mekhail, Elyse Latreille, Negar Khosraviani, Kuiru Wei, Warren L. Lee, Costin Antonescu, Gregory D. Fairn*. Journal of Lipid Research. (2022) Sep;63(9):100256. 
  4. Palmitoylation of NOD1 and NOD2 is required for bacterial sensing. Lu Y, Zheng Y, Coyaud É, Zhang C, Selvabaskaran A, Yu Y, Xu Z, Weng X, Chen JS, Meng Y, Warner N, Cheng X, Liu Y, Yao B, Hu H, Xia Z, Muise AM, Klip A, Brumell JH, Girardin SE, Ying S, Fairn GD*, Raught B*, Sun Q*, Neculai D*. Science. (2019) Oct 25;366(6464):460-467. doi: 10.1126/science.aau6391.

Cancer Biology:

  1. Confinement of unliganded EGFR by tetraspanin nanodomains gates EGFR ligand binding and signaling. Sugiyama MG, Brown AI, Vega-Lugo J, Borges JP, Scott AM, Jaqaman K, Fairn GD, Antonescu CN. Nat Commun. (2023) May 9;14(1):2681
  2. HER2 expression defines unique requirements for flotillin and c-Src in EGFR signaling. Abousawan J, Orofiamma LA, Fairn GD, Antonescu CN. Journal of Cell Science. 2023 Apr 1;136(7):jcs260133.
  3. PPAR-delta modulates membrane cholesterol and cytokine signaling in malignant B cells. Sun L, Shi Y, Wang G, Wang X, Zeng S, Dunn SE, Fairn GD, Spaner DE. Leukemia. (2018) Jan;32(1):184-193. doi: 10.1038/leu.2017.162.
  4. Phosphatidylinositol transfer protein-α in platelets is inconsequential for thrombosis yet is utilized for tumor metastasis. Zhao L, Thorsheim CL, Suzuki A, Stalker TJ, Min SH, Lian L, Fairn GD, Cockcroft S, Durham A, Krishnaswamy S, Abrams CS. Nature Communications. (2017) Oct 31;8(1):1216. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01181-4.

Cell Biology of Lipids:

  1. Anisotropy of plasmalemmal sterols and cell mating require StARkin domain proteins Ysp2 and Lam4 Neha Chauhan, Gregory D. Fairn* bioRxiv (2021) 2021.09.30.462584; doi:
  2. Membrane curvature induced by proximity of anionic phospholipids can initiate endocytosis. Hirama T, Lu SM, Kay JG, Maekawa M, Kozlov MM, Grinstein S, Fairn GD. Nature Communications. (2017) Nov 9;8(1):1393. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01554-9.
  3. SR-BI Mediated Transcytosis of HDL in Brain Microvascular Endothelial Cells Is Independent of Caveolin, Clathrin, and PDZK1. Fung KY, Wang C, Nyegaard S, Heit B, Fairn GD*, Lee WL*. Frontiers in Physiology. (2017) Oct 30;8:841. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00841.
  4. Phosphatidylserine dictates the assembly and dynamics of caveolae in the plasma membrane. Hirama T, Das R, Yang Y, Ferguson C, Won A, Yip CM, Kay JG, Grinstein S, Parton RG, Fairn GD*. Journal of Biological Chemistry. (2017) Aug 25;292(34):14292-14307. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.791400.
  5. Staurosporines decrease ORMDL proteins and enhance sphingomyelin synthesis resulting in depletion of plasmalemmal phosphatidylserine. Maekawa M, Lee M, Wei K, Ridgway ND, Fairn GD*. Scientific Reports. (2016) Nov 2;6:35762. doi: 10.1038/srep35762.
  6. Inhibition of Acid Sphingomyelinase Depletes Cellular Phosphatidylserine and Mislocalizes K-Ras from the Plasma Membrane. Cho KJ, van der Hoeven D, Zhou Y, Maekawa M, Ma X, Chen W, Fairn GD*, Hancock JF*. Molecular and Cellular Biology. (2015) Nov 16;36(2):363-74. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00719-15.