My lab at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular of Medicine studies the role of iron in infectious diseases and the immune response.
Almost all forms of life require iron to thrive. Iron plays essential biochemical roles in oxygen binding, ATP synthesis and DNA metabolism. During infection, pathogens need to acquire iron from their human host. If iron availability is high, infections can progress more rapidly. On the other hand, denying iron to invading microbes can slow down the course of disease, and allow immune mechanisms more time to clear the infection. Pathogens can become resistant to antibiotics, and can sometimes mutate to avoid recognition by the immune systems, but they cannot escape the metabolic requirement for iron. By manipulating iron transport we hope to develop a new strategy to combat infections.