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Meet Our California Scientists Alan M. Kleinfeld
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Alan M. Kleinfeld

Alan M. KleinfeldTorreyPinesInstituteCA

Adjunct Member
858.597.3724 - phone
858.597.3804 - fax
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Free fatty acids (FFA) provide the major source of the body’s long term energy needs and are therefore essential for health. At the same time, disruption of the normal regulation of FFA levels by diseases such as diabetes, cancer, liver diseases and cardiovascular disease can result in serious consequences including death. The focus of our laboratory is to determine how free fatty acids are transported across cell membranes and how the levels and types of FFA change in disease. To carry out these studies we have developed molecular sensors that allow FFA to be visualized within living cells and allow the profiling of blood levels of FFA for the diagnosis of major diseases. Results from these studies raise the possibility of new therapeutic strategies for treating breast cancer.


  • 1963 - B.A. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
  • 1968 - Ph.D Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (physics)


  • 1968-1973                Group Leader, Physics Institute,  University of Cologne
  • 1973                          Admitted to the faculty (Habilitation), Physics Institute, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  • 1973-1977                Privat Dozent, Physics Institute, University of Cologne
  • 1977-1981                Lecturer on Biophysics, Biophysical Laboratory, Harvard Medical School
  • 1979-1987                Faculty, the program in Cell and Developmental  Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • 1981-1983                Assistant Professor of Biophysics, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Harvard Medical School
  • 1983-1987                Associate Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Harvard Medical School
  • 1987-1998                Member, Medical Biology Institute, La Jolla, CA.
  • 1998-present            Member, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, San Diego, CA

Professional Affiliations

  • 1970                          Guest Scientist, Nuclear Physics Laboratory, Weizman Institute, Israel
  • 1972                          Consultant, Nuclear Structure Laboratory, YaleUniversity
  • 1987-1988                Consultant Quidel Pharmacuticals, La Jolla, CA.
  • 1988-1998                Consultant LIDAK Pharmacuticals, La Jolla, CA.
  • 1997-1999                Consultant Aurora Biosciences, La Jolla, CA.
  • 1997-2001                Consultant Molecular Simulations Inc., San Diego CA.
  • 1998-present            President/CEO, FFA Sciences LLC, San Diego, CA.
  • 2001-2009                Chairman, Advisory Committee National Resource for Imaging Mass Spectroscopy, Harvard Medical School
  • 2010                         Member, Advisory Committee National Resource for Imaging Mass Spectroscopy, Harvard Medical School

Honors & Awards

  • 1976-1979                National Research Service Award (NIH)
  • 1979                         American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Award
  • 1982-1987                Established Investigatorship of the American Heart Association

Selected Publications (10 of 102)

  1. Kampf, J. P., and Kleinfeld, A. M. Fatty acid transport in adipocytes monitored by imaging intracellular FFA levels. J. Biol. Chem., 279: 35775- 35780, 2004.
  2. Kleinfeld, A. M., Kampf, J. P., and Lechene, C. Transport of 13C-oleate in adipocytes measured using multi imaging mass spectrometry. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom., 15: 1572-1580, 2004.
  3. Yuvienco, J.M., Dizon, E. C., Kleinfeld, A. M., Anwar, M., Hiatt, M., and Hegyi, T., Umbilical cord unbound free fatty acid concentration and low Apgar score. Am. J. Perinatology,22: 429-36, 2005
  4. Kleinfeld, A. M., and Okada, C., Free fatty acid release from human breast cancer tissue inhibits cytotoxic T lymphocyte- mediated killing. J. Lipid Res., 46:1983-1990, 2005
  5. Huber, A., Kampf, J. P., Kwan, T. Zhu, B. and Kleinfeld, A. M., Fatty acid-specific fluorescent probes and their use in resolving mixtures of different unbound free fatty acids in equilibrium with albumin.  Biochemistry, 45:14263-14274, 2006
  6. Lechene, C., Hillion, F., McMahon, G., Benson, D., Kleinfeld, A. M., Kampf, J. P., Daniel, D., Luyten, Y., Bonventre, J., Hentschel, D., Park, K., M., Ito, S., Schwartz, M., Benichou, G., Slodzian, G. High-resolution quantitative imaging of mammalian and bacterial cells using stable isotope mass spectrometry. J. Biol., 5:20.0-20.30, 2006
  7. Kampf, J. P. and Kleinfeld, A. M., Membrane transport of FFA mediated by lipid, protein, or both? – Point/Counterpoint. Physiology, 22:7-14, 2007.
  8. Kampf, J. P., Parmley, D. and Kleinfeld, A. M., Free fatty acid transport across adipocytes is mediated by an unknown membrane protein pump.  Am. J. Physiology Endocrinol Metab, 293:E1207-E1214, 2007.
  9. Cantor, W. J., Hoe-Kim, H., Jolly S., Moe, G., Burstein, J. M., Mendelsohn A., Kleinfeld, A. M., and Fitchett, D., B-Type Natriuretic Peptide and Serum Unbound Free Fatty Acid Levels after Contemporary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention.  J. Invasive Cardiology, 29:186-188, 2008.
  10. Carley, A. N. and Kleinfeld, A. M., Flip-Flop Is the Rate-Limiting Step for Transport of Free Fatty Acids across Lipid Vesicle Membranes.  Biochemistry 48:10437-10445, 2009.

Patents (5 of 7)

  1. One Step Free Fatty Acid Determination (U.S. Patent No. 5,470,714, Eur. Patent No. 0457901) and Hong Kong.
  2. Method of Detection of Cardiac Ischemia Using Fatty Acid Binding Protein (US Patent No. 6,444,432 B1)
  3. Method of detection of cardiac ischemia using fatty acid binding proteins (US Patent No. 6,750,030 B2)
  4. Method Method and apparatus for ratio fluorometry (US Patent No. 6,999,173 B2)
  5. Early diagnosis of stroke (US Patent No. 7,202,089) also Canada, Europe, China