Emily Westover

Emily WestoverAssistant Professor of Biochemistry

I have always been fascinated by how living things work. How do we derive energy from the food we eat? How does the heart beat in a coordinated way? How do cells know how much cholesterol they need to make? How can a drug act to clear a bacterial infection? I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm for the molecular underpinnings of life with my students. I seek to equip my students with skills that will help them to ask (and answer) important biological questions.    


I teach the first biochemistry course both for non-majors (BCHM88 Introductory Biochemistry) and an advanced class for biochemistry and chemistry majors (BCHM100 Advanced Introductory Biochemistry). I also regularly teach a seminar course that explores the biochemical mechanisms of several case study diseases (BIBC126 Molecular Basis of Disease). I have taught a project based biochemistry laboratory course (BCHM155 Biochemistry Laboratory) and a special topics course on the role of cholesterol (BCHM 172 Cholesterol in Health and Disease).


I have studied the biological and physical properties of cholesterol in a number of ways, including Langmuir monolayers and signal transduction in cell cultures. I chemically synthesized the unnatural enantiomer of cholesterol to probe the enantioselectivity of cholesterol's activity. I currently do not run a research lab at Brandeis.

Selected Publications

  • Crowder, C. M.; Westover, E. J.; Kumar, A. S.; Ostlund, R. E., Jr. and Covey D. F. “Enantiospecificity of Cholesterol Function In Vivo.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2001. 276: 44369-44372.
  • Westover, E. J. and Covey, D. F. “The First Synthesis of Ent-Desmosterol and its Elaboration to Ent-Deuterocholesterol.” Steroids. 2003. 68:159-166.
  • Zitzer, A. S.; Westover, E. J.; Covey, D. F. and Palmer, M. “Differential interaction of the two cholesterol-dependent, membrane-damaging toxins streptolysin O and Vibrio cholerae cytolysin with enantiomeric cholesterol.” FEBS Letters, 2003. 553(3): 229-231.
  • Westover, E. J.; Covey, D. F.; Brockman, H. L.; Brown, R. E and Pike, L. J. "Cholesterol Depletion Results in Site-Specific Increases in EGF Receptor Phosphorylation Due to Membrane Level Effects: Studies with Cholesterol Enantiomers." Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2003. 278: 51125-51133.
  • Westover, E. J.; Lin, X.; Riehl, T. E.; Ma, L.; Stenson, W. F.; Covey, D. F. and Ostlund, R. E. Jr. “Rapid Transient Absorption and Biliary Secretion of Enantiomeric Cholesterol in Hamsters.” Journal of Lipid Research. 2006. 47: 2375-2381.
  • Minogue, S.; Chu, K. M. E.; Westover, E. J.; Covey, D. F.; Hsuan, J. J. and Mark G. Waugh. “Relationship between phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate synthesis, membrane organisation and lateral diffusion of PI4KIIalpha at the trans-Golgi Network” Journal of Lipid Research. 2010. 51(8):2314-2324.