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Howard Riezman

Department of Biochemistry, University of Geneva

About Howard Riezman

Howard Riezman received a Bachelors of Arts degree (1975) from Washington University in Saint Louis where he began his research career working on the lac operon from E. coli. He moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the supervision of Wayne M. Becker where he completed his PhD in Botany (1980) working on the biogenesis of glyoxysomal enzymes. He crossed the Atlantic to work as a postdoctoral fellow (Jane Coffin Childs Fellow) with Gottfried (Jeff) Schatz as a mentor on the biogenesis of mitochondria at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. In 1983 he started his independent laboratory at the ISREC in Lausanne initiating studies on the endocytic pathway in yeast. He moved back to the Biozentrum as Full Professor (1988) where he continued his work on endocytosis and began studying GPI-anchored protein biosynthesis and traffic. In 2002 he moved to the Biochemistry department of the University of Geneva. He continues working on membrane trafficking, but has changed the emphasis of his research to the understanding of the metabolism and function of membrane lipids.

His group is interested in the biogenesis, trafficking, properties, and physiological roles of biological membranes, with a focus on the membrane lipids. His research team uses tools of chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics and mass spectrometry to analyze membranes in a systematic manner to study a wide range of experimental systems including yeast, worms, and mammalian tissue culture cells.

Howard Riezman was elected member of EMBO in 1997 and has served as department chairman in both Basel and Geneva. He has served on the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) for 8 years and is currently a member of the Foundation Council of the SNSF. His work has received generous funding from the SNSF since 1983, as well as from the HFSPO, EU and ESF.

Howard Riezman is the former Director of the NCCR Chemical Biology (until November 30, 2021). He is a member of the NCCR steering committee and of the educational committee for the Master’s in Chemical Biology.

Read more about Howard Riezman’s research on his lab website.


University of Geneva
Department of Biochemistry
30, Quai Ernest-Ansermet
1211, Geneva 4, Switzerland
Phone : +41 (0)22 379-6469


Monasterio, B.G., Jiménez-Rojo, N., García-Arribas, A.B. et al. “Plasma membrane effects of sphingolipid-synthesis inhibition by myriocin in CHO cells: a biophysical and lipidomic study”, Sci Rep 12, 955 (2022). Open access [More Information]

Auxiliadora Aguilera-Romero, Susana Sabido-Bozo, Sergio Lopez, Alejandro Cortes-Gomez, Sofia Rodriguez-Gallardo, Ana Maria Perez-Linero, Isabelle Riezman, Howard Riezman, Manuel Muñiz, “Determination of the lipid composition of GPI anchor”, PLOS One, 2021. Open access [More Information]

Noemi Jiménez-Rojo, Suihan Feng, Johannes Morstein, Stefanie D. Pritzl, Takeshi Harayama, Antonino Asaro, Nynke A. Vepřek, Christopher J. Arp, Martin Reynders, Alexander J. E. Novak, Evgeny Kanshin, Beatrix Ueberheide, Theobald Lohmüller, Howard Riezman, Dirk Trauner, “Optical Control of Membrane Fluidity Modulates Protein Secretion”, [More Information]

Simon Clémence, Feng Suihan, Riezman Howard, “Chemical Biology Tools to Study Lipids and their Metabolism with Increased Spatial and Temporal Resolution”, CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, Volume 75, Number 12, 2021. Open access [More Information]

Assies Lea, García-Calvo José, Piazzolla Francesca, Sanchez Samantha, Kato Takehiro, Reymond Luc, Goujon Antoine, Colom Adai, López-Andarias Javier, Straková Karolína, Mahecic Dora, Mercier Vincent, Riggi Margot, Jiménez-Rojo Noemi, Roffay Chloé, Licari Giuseppe, Tsemperouli Maria, Neuhaus Frederik, Fürstenberg Alexandre, Vauthey Eric, Hoogendoorn Sascha, Gonzalez-Gaitan Marcos, Zumbuehl Andreas, Sugihara Kaori, Gruenberg Jean, Riezman Howard, Loewith Robbie, Manley Suliana, Roux Aurelien, Winssinger Nicolas, Sakai Naomi, Pitsch Stefan, Matile Stefan, “Flipper probes for the community”, CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, Volume 75, Number 12, 2021. Open access [More Information]

Vladimir Girik, Suihan Feng, Hanaa Hariri, W Mike Henne, Howard Riezman, “Vacuole-specific lipid release for tracking intracellular lipid metabolism and transport in Saccharomyces cerevisiae”, bioRxiv, 2021. Open access [More Information]

Stahl E., Brillatz T., Ferreira Queiroz E., Marcourt L., Schmiesing A., Hilfiker O., Riezman I., Riezman H., Wolfender J.L., Reymond P., “Phosphatidylcholines from Pieris brassicae eggs activate an immune response in Arabidopsis”, eLife, 2020. doi: 10.7554/eLife.60293. Open access [More Information]

Morstein J., Kol M., Novak A.J.E., Feng S., Khayyo S., Hinnah K., Li-Purcell N., Pan G., Williams B.M., Riezman H., Atilla-Gokcumen G.E., Holthuis J.C.M., Trauner D., “Short photoswitchable ceramides enable optical control of apoptosis”, ACS Chem. Biol., 2021. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.0c00823 [More Information]

Hannich J.T., Loizides-Mangold U., Sinturel F., Harayama T., Vandereycken B., Saini C., Gosselin P., Brulhart-Meynet M.C., Robert M., Chanon S., Durand C., Paz Montoya J., David F.P.A., Guessous I., Pataky Z., Golay A., Jornayvaz F.R., Philippe J., Dermitzakis E.T., Brown S.A., Lefai E., Riezman H., Dibner C., “Ether lipids, sphingolipids and toxic 1-deoxyceramides as hallmarks for lean and obese type 2 diabetic patients”, Acta Physiol (Oxf), 2020. doi: 10.1111/apha.13610. [More Information]

Rodriguez-Gallardo S., Kurokawa K., Sabido-Bozo S., Cortes-Gomez A., Ikeda A. , Zoni V. , Aguilera-Romero A. , Perez-Linero A.M. , Lopez S. , Waga M. , Araki M. , Nakano M. , Riezman H. , Funato K. , Vanni S., Nakano A., Muñiz M., “Ceramide chain length-dependent protein sorting into selective endoplasmic reticulum exit sites2”, Sci. Adv. 6, eaba8237, 2020. Open access [More Information]

Elia Stahl, Theo Brillatz, Emerson Ferreira Queiroz, Laurence Marcourt, Andre Schmiesing, Olivier Hilfiker, Isabelle Riezman, Howard Riezman, Jean-Luc Wolfender, Philippe Reymond, “Phosphatidylcholines from Pieris brassicae eggs activate an immune response in Arabidopsis”, eLife, 9:e60293, 2020. Open access [More Information]

Ikeda A., Schlarmann P., Kurokawa K., Nakano A., Riezman H., Funato K., “Tricalbins are required for nonvesicular ceramide transport at ER-Golgi contacts and modulate lipid droplet biogenesis”, ISCIENCE, 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101603. Open access [More Information]

Noemi Jiménez-Rojo, Manuel D. Leonetti, Valeria Zoni, Adai Colom, Suihan Feng, Namrata R. Iyengar, Stefan Matile, Aurélien Roux, Stefano Vanni, Jonathan S. Weissman, Howard Riezman, “Conserved Functions of Ether Lipids and Sphingolipids in the Early Secretory Pathway”, Current Biology, 5;30(19):3775-3787.e7, 2020. Open access. Dataset GEO. Dataset Yareta. [More Information]

Adrià-Arnau Martí i Líndez, Isabelle Dunand-Sauthier, Mark Conti, Florian Gobet, Nicolás Núñez, J. Thomas Hannich, Howard Riezman, Roger Geiger, Alessandra Piersigilli, Kerstin Hahn, Sylvain Lemeille, Burkhard Becher, Thibaut De Smedt, Stéphanie Hugues, and Walter Reith, “Mitochondrial Arginase-2 is a cell-autonomous regulator of CD8+ T cell function and anti-tumor efficacy”, JCI Insight (24):e132975, 2019. [More Information]

J. Thomas Hannich, A. Galih Haribowo, Sébastien Gentina, Melanie Paillard, Ludovic Gomez, Bruno Pillot, Hélène Thibault, Daniel Abegg, Nicolas Guex, Andreas Zumbuehl, Alexander Adibekian, Michel Ovize, Jean-Claude Martinou & Howard Riezman, “1-Deoxydihydroceramide causes anoxic death by impairing chaperonin-mediated protein folding”, Nature Metabolism volume 1, pages996–1008, 2019. [More Information]

He, C., H.B. Jiang, W.X. Song, H. Riezman, P. Tontonoz, T.A. Weston, P. Guagliardo, P. H. Kim, R. Jung, P. Helzer, L.G. Fong and S.G. Young, “Cultured macrophages transfer surplus cholesterol into adjacent cells in the absence of serum or high-density lipoproteins”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 117; 10476-10483, 2020. [More Information]

B.G. Monasterio, N. Jiménez-Rojo, A. Garcia-Arribas, H. Riezman, F.M. Goni and A. Alonso, “Patches and Blebs, a Comparative Study of Composition and Biophysical Properties of Two Plasma Membrane Preparations from CHO Cells”, Int. J. Mol. Sci. 21, 2643, 2020. Open access [More Information]

Dominic G. Hoch, Daniel Abegg, J. Thomas Hannich, …, Qidong You, Howard Riezman, Alexander Adibekian, “Combined Omics Approach Identifies Gambogic Acid and Related Xanthones as Covalent Inhibitors of the Serine Palmitoyltransferase Complex”, Cell Chemical Biology 27, 1–12 May 21, 2020. [More Information]

Megyeri M., Prasad R., Volpert G., Sliwa-Gonzalez A., Haribowo A.G., Aguilera-Romero A., Riezman H., Barral Y., Futerman A.H., Schuldiner M., “Yeast ceramide synthases, Lag1 and Lac1, have distinct substrate specificity”, J Cell Sci. 2019 Jun 24;132(12). Open access [More Information]

Johannes Morstein, Rose Z. Hill, Alexander J. E. Novak, Suihan Feng, Derek D. Norman, Prashant C. Donthamsetti, James A. Frank, Takeshi Harayama, Benjamin M. Williams, Abby L. Parrill, Gabor J. Tigyi, Howard Riezman, Ehud Y. Isacoff, Diana M. Bautista & Dirk Traune, “Optical control of sphingosine-1-phosphate formation and function”, Nature Chemical Biology volume 15, pages623–631 (2019). [More Information]

Haribowo A.G., Hannich J.T. , Michel A.H., Megyeri M., Schuldiner M., Kornmann B. and Riezman H., “Cytotoxicity of 1-deoxysphingolipid unraveled by genome-wide genetic screens and lipidomics”, Mol Biol Cell 30(22):2814-2826, 2019. Open access [More Information]

Suihan FengTakeshi HarayamaDalu ChangJ. Thomas HannichNicolas Winssinger, Howard Riezman, “Lysosome targeted photoactivation reveals local sphingosine metabolism signature”, Chem. Sci., 10, 2253-2258, 2019. Open access [More Information]

He, C. X. Hu, T.A. Weston, R.S. Jung, J. Sandhu, S. Huang, P. Heizer, J. Kim, R. Ellison, J. Xu, M. Kilburn, S. Bensinger, H. Riezman, P. Tontonoz, L.G. Fong, H. Jiang and S.G. Young, “Macrophages release, by plasma membrane budding, particles rich in accessible cholesterol”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 115, E8499-E8508, 2018. [More Information]

Perrin L., Loizides-Mangold U., Chanon S., Gobet C., Hulo N., Isenegger L., Weger B.D., Migliavacca E., Charpagne A., Betts J.A., Walhin J.P., Templeman I., Stokes K., Thompson D., Tsintzas K., Robert M., Howald C., Riezman H., Feige J.N., Karagounis L.G., Johnston J.D., Dermitzakis E.T., Gachon F., Lefai E., Dibner C., “Transcriptomic analyses reveal rhythmic and CLOCK-driven pathways in human skeletal muscle”, eLife, 7:e34114, 2018. [More Information]

Kawano, S., Y. Tamura, S. Bala, E. Asai, B. Kornmann, I. Riezman, H. Riezman, Y. Sakae, Y. Okamoto and T. Endo, “Structure-function insights into direct lipid transfer between membranes by Mmm1-Mdm12 of ERMES”, J. Cell Biol., 2017. [More Information]

Guri, Y., M. Colombi, E. Dazert, S.K. Hindupur, J. Roszik, S. Moes, P. Jenoe, M.H. Heim, I. Riezman, H. Riezman and M.N. Hall, “mTORC2 promotes tumorigenesis via lipid synthesis”, Cancer Cell, 32(6):807-823, 2017. [More Information]

Shinde, A.B., R.K. Baboota, S. Denis, U. Loizides-Mangold, A. Peeters, A.R. Malheiro, M. Espeel, H. Riezman, S. Vinckier, F. Vaz, P. Brites, S. Ferdinandusse, P. Van Veldoven and M. Baes, “Mitochondrial disruption in peroxisome deficient cells is hepatocyte selective but is not mediated by common hepatic peroxisomal metabolites”, Mitochondrion, 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2017.08.013. [More Information]

Dorsaz, S., T. Snaka, Q. Favre-Godal, P. Maudens, N. Boulens, P. Furrer, S.N. Ebrahimi, M. Hamburger, E. Allémann, K. Gindro, E.F. Queiroz, H. Riezman, J.L. Wolfender, and D. Sanglard, “Identification and mode of action of a plant nature product targeting human fungal pathogens”, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother., 2017, Jul 3. pii:AAC.00829-17. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00829-17. [More Information]

Suihan Feng, Takeshi Harayama, Sylvie Montessuit, Fabrice PA David, Nicolas Winssinger, Jean-Claude Martinou, Howard Riezman,  “Mitochondria-specific photoactivation to monitor local sphingosine metabolism and functioneLife 2018;7:e34555 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.34555. [More Information]

Dewhurst-Maridor G., Abegg D., David F.P.A., Rougemont J., Scott C.C., Adibekian A., Riezman H., “The SAGA complex, together with transcription factors and the endocytic protein Rvs167p, coordinates the reprofiling of gene expression in response to changes in sterol composition in Saccharomyces cerevisiae“, Mol Biol Cell., 2017. [More Information]

Loizides-Mangold U., Perrin L., Vandereycken B., Betts J.A., Walhin J.P., Templeman I., Chanon S., Weger B.D., Durand C., Robert M., Paz Montoya J., Moniatte M., Karagounis L.G., Johnston J.D., Gachon F., Lefai E., Riezman H., Dibner C., “Lipidomics reveals diurnal lipid oscillations in human skeletal muscle persisting in cellular myotubes cultured in vitro”, PNAS, 2017. [Link] [More Information]

Capasso S., Sticco L., Rizzo R., Pirozzi M., Russo D., Dathan N. A., Campelo F., van Galen J., Holtta-Vuori M., Turacchio G., Hausser A., Malhotra V., Riezman I., Riezman H., Ikonen E., Luberto C., Parashuraman S., Luini A., D’Angelo G., “Sphingolipid metabolic flow controls phosphoinositide turnover at the trans-Golgi network”, EMBO J., publ. online, 2017. [More Information]

Hannich J. T., Mellal D., Feng S., Zumbuehl A., Riezman H., “Structure and conserved function of iso-branched sphingoid bases from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans”, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 3676-3686. [More Information]

Muñiz M, Riezman H., “Trafficking of glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchored proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum to the cell surface”. J Lipid Res. 2016 Mar; 57(3):352-60 DOI: 10.1194/jlr.R062760 (2016) [More Information]

Blom T., Li S., Dichlberger A., Bäck N., Ah Kim Y., Loizides-Mangold U., Riezman H., Bittman R. and Ikonen E. “LAPTM4B facilitates late endosomal ceramide export to control cell death pathways”. Nature Chemical Biology, doi:10.1038/nchembio.1889. (2015). [More Information]

Manzano-Lopez J., Perez-Linero A.M., Aguilera-Romero A., Martin M.E., Okano T., Silva D.V. , Seeberger P.H. , Riezman  H., Funato K., Goder V., Wellinger R.E., and Muñiz M., “COPII coat composition is actively regulated by luminal cargo maturation”. Curr.Biol., 25, 152-162, (2015). [More Information]

Wilson-Zbinden C., Santos A.X., Stoffel-Studer I., Van der Vaart A., Hofmann K., Reggiori F., Riezman H., Kraft C. and Peter M. “Autophagy competes for a common phosphatidylethanolamine pool with major cellular PE-consuming pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae”., Genetics, 199, 475-485, (2015). [More Information]

Suresh H.G., Santos A.X.S., Kukulski W., Tyedmers J., Riezman H., Bukau B. and Mogk A., “Prolonged starvation drives reversible sequestration of lipid biosynthetic enzymes and organelle reorganization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae”.  Mol Biol Cell, 199, 475-485, (2015). [More Information]

Alfonso-García A., Pfisterer S.G., Riezman H., Ikonen E., Potma E.O. “D38- cholesterol as a Raman active probe for imaging intracellular cholesterol storage”, Journal of Biomedical Optics. (2015). [More Information]

Höglinger D., Haberkant P., Aguilera-Romero A., Riezman H., Porter F.D., Platt F.M., Galione A., Schultz C., “Intracellular sphingosine releases calcium from lysosomes”, eLife (2015) ; 4:e10616. pii: e10616. doi: 10.7554/eLife.10616. [More Information]

Da Silveira Dos Santos AX, Riezman I., Aguilera-Romero M.A., David F., Piccolis M., Loewith R., Schaad O., Riezman H., “Systematic lipidomic analysis of yeast protein kinase and phosphatase mutants reveals novel insights into regulation of lipid homeostasis”. Mol Biol Cell. 25(20):3234-46. (Oct 15 2014). [More Information]

Loizides-Mangold U., Clément S., Alfonso-Garcia A., Branche E., Conzelmann S., Parisot C., Potma E.O., Riezman H. and Negro F., “HCV3a core protein increases lipid droplet cholesteryl ester content via a mechanism dependent on sphingolipid biosynthesis”. PLoS One, Dec 18;9(12):e115309. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115309. eCollection (2014). [More Information]