Faculty Profile

Dr. Rajat Singh, M.D.,  M.B.B.S.

Rajat Singh, M.D., M.B.B.S.

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (Endocrinology)

Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology

Areas of Research: We are interested in studying the roles of autophagy in metabolic regulation in physiology, during obesity, and with age.

Professional Interests


Macroautophagy (or autophagy) is a cellular recycling program that degrades unwanted cytoplasmic contents in lysosomes.  Autophagy occurs at basal levels in all cells and is induced during starvation and stress.  Autophagy requires the de novo formation of a double-walled limiting membrane that sequesters cargo destined for degradation and seals upon itself to form an autophagosome.  The delivery of the engulfed cargo to lysosomes by autophagosome-lysosome fusion results in cargo degradation.  We demonstrated a role for autophagy in mobilization and degradation of intracellular lipid stores by a process we termed lipophagy, thus mapping autophagy to metabolic regulation.  We have recently shown that lipophagy in  hypothalamic neurons generates neuron-intrinsic free fatty acids that drive neuronal feeding mechanisms.  The primary  focus of the laboratory is to examine the organ-specific roles of autophagy in the regulation of lipid metabolism and energy homeostasis using biochemical, immunohistochemical, and image-based approaches in vitro and in conditional knockout mouse models. More specifically, our interests lie in understanding how autophagy in the CNS and peripheral tissues controls energy, glucose, and lipid metabolism in a time, diet, and age-dependent manner.  The second focus of the laboratory is to examine the consequences of aging-associated reduction of autophagy on the development of the metabolic syndrome.  We are interested in understanding how autophagy decreases with age, and whether restoration of autophagy prevents the metabolic syndrome of aging. Our long term goals are to develop ways to activate autophagy and improve healthspan in the obese and aging population. 

Selected Publications

System-wide benefits of intermeal fasting by Autophagy. Martinez-Lopez N*, Tarabra E*, Toledo E, Garcia-Macia M, Sahu S, Coletto L, Batista-Gonzalez A, Barzilai N, Pessin JE, Schwartz GJ, Kersten S, Singh R. Cell Metabolism 2017 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2017.09.020

          Featured in Nature Reviews Endocrinology | Published online Nov 10 2017; doi:10.1038/nrendo.2017.153 

Self-renewal of a purified Tie2+ hematopoietic stem cell population relies on mitochondrial clearance. Ito K, Turcotte R, Cui J, Zimmerman SE, Pinho S, Mizoguchi T, Arai F, Runnels JM, Alt C, Teruya-Feldstein J, Mar JC, Singh R, Suda T, Lin CP, Frenette PS, Ito K. Science 2016 Oct 13. pii: aaf5530 | PubMed

Autophagy in the CNS and periphery coordinate lipophagy and lipolysis in the brown adipose tissue and liver. Martinez-Lopez N, Garcia-Macia M, Sahu S, Athonvarangkul D, Liebling E, Merlo P, Cecconi F, Schwartz GJ, Singh R. Cell Metabolism 2016; 23(1): 113-27 | PubMed

Autophagy and lipid droplets in the liver. Martinez-Lopez N, Singh R. Annual Review of Nutrition 2015; 35: 215-237. | PubMed

Loss of the RNA polymerase III repressor MAF1 confers obesity resistance. Bonhoure N, Byrnes A, Moir RD, Hodroj W, Preitner F, Praz V, Marcelin G, Chua SC Jr, Martinez-Lopez N, Singh R, Moullan N, Auwerx J, Willemin G, Shah H, Hartil K, Vaitheesvaran B, Kurland I, Hernandez N, Willis IM. Genes & Development 2015; 29: 934-947. | PubMed

Autophagy proteins regulate ERK phosphorylation. Martinez-Lopez N, Athonvarangkul D, Mishall P, Sahu S, Singh R. Nature Communications. 2013; 4: 2799. | PubMed

Autophagy in Myf5+ progenitors regulates energy and glucose homeostasis through control of brown fat and skeletal muscle development. Martinez-Lopez N, Athonvarangkul D, Sahu S, Coletto L, Zong H, Bastie CC, Pessin JE, Schwartz GJ, Singh R. EMBO Reports 2013; 14(9): 795-803. | PubMed

Mapping autophagy onto your metabolic radar. Yamada E, Singh R. Diabetes 2012; 61(2): 272-80. | PubMed

Loss of autophagy in hypothalamic POMC neurons impairs lipolysis. Kaushik S, Arias E, Kwon H, Martinez-Lopez N, Sahu S, Schwartz GJ, Pessin JE, Singh R. EMBO Reports 2012; 13(3): 258-265. | PubMed

Comment: Rubinsztein DC. Autophagy-alias self-eating-appetite and ageing. EMBO Reports 2012;13(3):173-174. | PubMedIssue Cover |Link

Recommended by Faculty of 1000

Autophagy in the cellular energetic balance. Singh R*, Cuervo AM*. Cell Metabolism 2011; 13: 495-504. | PubMed

Cell Metabolism: Top 10 Reviews, 2005-2014, as chosen by the readers |Link

Autophagy in hypothalamic AgRP neurons regulates food intake and energy balance. Kaushik S, Rodriguez-Navarro, JA, Arias E, Kiffin R, Sahu S, Schwartz GJ, Cuervo AM, Singh R. Cell Metabolism 2011; 14: 173-183. | PubMed

Featured: The Scientist magazine, The Los Angeles times, The Fox News, EurekAlert.com, Jay Leno, National Public Radio; Recommended by Faculty of 1000

Nuclear factor κB up-regulation of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β mediates hepatocyte resistance to tumor necrosis factor α toxicity. Wang Y, Singh R, Xiang Y, Greenbaum LE, Czaja MJ. Hepatology 2010; 52: 2118-2126. | PubMed

Macroautophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy are required for hepatocyte resistance to oxidant stress. Wang Y, Singh R, Xiang Y, Czaja MJ. Macroautophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy are required for hepatocyte resistance to oxidant stress. Hepatology 2010; 52: 266-277. | PubMed

Autophagy regulates adipose mass and differentiation. Singh R, Xiang Y, Wang Y, Baikati K, Cuervo AM, Luu YK, Tang Y, Pessin JE, Schwartz GJ, Czaja MJ. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2009; 119(11): 3329-3339. | PubMed

Recommended by Faculty of 1000 Biology

Autophagy regulates lipid metabolism. Singh R,* Kaushik S,* Wang Y, Xiang Y, Novak I, Komatsu M, Tanaka K, Cuervo, A.M., Czaja, M.J. Nature 2009; 458: 1131-1135. *co-first authors | PubMed

Nature News and Views: Zechner R, Madeo F. Cell biology: Another way to get rid of fat. Nature 2009; 458: 1118-1119. | PubMed;  

Preview: Weidberg H, Shvets E, Elazar Z. Lipophagy: Selective catabolism designed for lipids. Dev Cell 2009; 16: 628-30. | PubMed;  

Hepatology Elsewhere: Kersten S, Müller M. Dropping liver fat droplets. Hepatology 2009; 50: 645-647. | PubMed;  Recommended by Faculty of 1000 Biology

Differential effects of JNK1 and JNK2 inhibition on insulin resistance and steatohepatitis. Singh R, Wang Y, Xiang Y, Tanaka KE, Gaarde WA, and Czaja MJ. Hepatology 2009; 49: 87-96. | PubMed

Comment: c-Jun N-terminal kinase signaling in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Multiple roles in multiple steps. Kodama Y, Brenner DA. Hepatology 2009; 49: 6-8. | PubMed

More Information About Dr. Rajat Singh


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Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Forchheimer Building, Room 505D
Bronx, NY 10461

Tel: 718.430.4118

Research Information

In the News

The Los Angeles Times's "Booster Shots" blog reports on new research by Dr. Rajat Singh that shows dieting causes certain brain cells to start eating small portions of themselves — triggering a hunger response.

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