Richard Lehner

Vice Dean, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Office of Research Admin


Vice Dean, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Office of Research Admin
(780) 492-2963
315 Heritage Medical Research Centre
11207 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2S2


Area of Study / Keywords

obesity fatty liver disease atherosclerosis lipids lipoproteins lipid droplets cancer


I have obtained my undergraduate education in chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Chemical Technology in Prague and at the University of Toronto and my PhD in biochemistry from the University of Toronto. I then pursued postdoctoral training at CNRS in France and at the University of Alberta. Currently I am a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, as well as adjunct professor in the Department of Cell Biology, Director of a research group on Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids and Associate Dean Research, Facilities and Cores in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. I serve on multiple departmental and faculty committees, national peer review grant committees and am a member of several international advisory committees and boards of scientific journals concerned with lipid and lipoprotein research. My main research interests lie in the regulation of fat storage and metabolism and identification of novel therapeutic targets for lowering hepatic and blood lipid levels. I have been recognized nationally and internationally (Pfizer Cardiovascular Research Award, Harvard Medical School Anna Lee Memorial Lectureship, Canadian Lipoprotein Conference Simon Pierre Noel Lectureship) and was a recipient of AHFMR Scholar, Senior Scholar and Scientist Salary Awards (1999-2017). Our research is currently supported by grants from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Cancer Research Society (CRS).


Excessive fat storage is manifested as obesity, which is a major health problem world-wide. Obesity is a risk factor for hypertension, diabetes, fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease. Our research is focused at elucidating the mechanism of fat storage in lipid droplets, fat hydrolysis (lipases) and fat secretion. In particular, we are interested in identifying and characterizing intracellular lipid hydrolases that may regulate fat storage and utilization. We have generated various experimental models and developed a number of experimental protocols to study lipid accretion, turnover and secretion. Our research has identified new regulatory pathway of intracellular lipid metabolism and identified potential new pharmacological targets to treat lipid metabolic disorders. More information can be found on our website (


Teaching Philosophy

Classroom: Classroom should be stimulating engaging environment. My goal is to provide interactive environment where learning material is supported with personal experiences in research discoveries and teaching mentors. While retention of information is important, even more important is the development of critical thinking process and understanding and hence I feel the most important questions are “why” and “how”.  Understanding concepts in biology is much more important than memorizing biological pathways. I try to instill excitement for the learning material and associate the material with major landmarks (Nobel Prizes, development of therapies for diseases, etc.).

Mentorship of undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows: My mentoring approach is unified by several mottoes that are engraved in our laboratory manual: “There are no shortcuts for anything worthwhile” by Dr. Robert Hegele; “The harder I work the luckier I get” by Samuel Goldwyn; “You miss 100% of shots you do not take” by Wayne Gretzky; “Stay hungry, stay foolish” by Steve Jobs; and “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” by Ralph W. Emerson. Graduate students should develop critical thinking skills, independence, and by the time they graduate they should be able to conduct hypothesis-driven research, design controlled experiments, critically analyze data and communicate their discoveries in a scholarly manner.

Featured Publications

Li G., Li X., Yang L., Wang S., Dai Y., Fekry B., Veillon L., Tan L., Berdeaux R., Eckel-Mahan K., Lorenzi P.L., Zhao Z., Lehner R., Sun K.

Life Science Alliance. 2022 April; 5 (8) 10.26508/lsa.202101209

Hussain A., Lian J., Watts R., Gutiérrez T., Nelson R., Goping I.S., Lehner R.

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids. 2022 April; 1867 (4) 10.1016/j.bbalip.2022.159124

Carlin S., Kennelly J.P., Fedoruk H., Quiroga A., Leonard K.A., Nelson R., Thiesen A., Buteau J., Lehner R., Jacobs R.

Biochimica et Biophysioca Acta MCBL. 2022 April; 1867 (4) 10.1016/j.bbalip.2021.159109

Szafran B.N., Borazjani A., Scheaffer H.L., Crow J.A., McBride A.M., Adekanye O., Wonnacott C.B., Lehner R., Kaplan B.L.F., Ross M.K.

ACS Pharmacology and Translational Sciences. 2022 January; 10.1021/acsptsci.2c00098

Szafran B.N., Borazjani A., Seay C.N., Carr R.L., Lehner R., Kaplan B.L.F., Ross M.K.

Chemical Research in Toxicology. 2021 June; 34 (6):1556-1571 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.0c00488

Rajakumar Selvaraj, Sarah, V. Zehnder, Russell Watts, Jihong Lian, Randal Nelson, and Richard Lehner

BIORXIV. 2021 June; BIORXIV-2021-449045v1 10.1101/2021.06.18.449045

Richard Lehner and Ariel D. Quiroga

Biochemistry of Lipids, Lipoproteins and Membranes. 2021 May; ISBN: 978-0-12-8240448-9

Anastasia I., Ilacqua N., Raimondi A., Lemieux P., Ghandehari-Alavijeh R., Faure G., Mekhedov S.L., Williams K.J., Caicci F., Valle G., Giacomello M., Quiroga A.D., Lehner R., Miksis M.J., Toth K., de Aguiar Vallim T.Q., Koonin E.V., Scorrano L., Pellegrini L.

Cell Reports. 2021 March; 34 (11) 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108873

Lian J., van der Veen J.N., Watts R., Jacobs R.L., Lehner R.

Journal of Lipid Research. 2021 January; 62 10.1016/J.JLR.2021.100093