Iron in health and disease
The human body contains just 3 to 4 grams of iron which is vital for essential functions like oxygen transport, ATP generation, DNA synthesis/repair, and many others. Due to its versatile redox potential that may also promote oxidative damage and ferroptosis, iron needs a strict and highly orchestrated regulation at both systemic and cellular level.
Iron imbalance can determine or contribute to a myriad of disease conditions resulting from iron deficiency, excess, or maldistribution at systemic or local levels. In the recent years, consistent advances have been made in understanding the molecular basis of iron regulation. Clinical implications are broad, far beyond the traditional field of hematology. Actually, they are extended to nearly every field of internal medicine, including cardiovascular, immunological and infectious disorders, as well as many others. Some paradigmatic examples will be illustrated during the lecture. Novel drugs, directly or indirectly manipulating iron metabolism, also represent promising therapeutic approaches to be exploited in the near future.


MD, Specialist in Internal Medicine, with PhD in Experimental Hematology. Full Professor of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Verona, Italy. Director of Internal-Urgency Medicine Clinical Unit at the University Hospital of Verona. Longstanding experience in clinically-oriented research on iron metabolism disorders. Author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and contributor to several textbook (including: UpToDate® – chapters on Hemochromatosis; invited Author for the chapter on “Iron Deficiency and Other Hypoproliferative Anemias” of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine 22nd Edition, along with Clara Camaschella). Associate Editor of Internal and Emergency Medicine, member of the Editorial Board of HemaSphere. Former Member of the BOD of BIOIRON (20152019, serving as Treasurer) and of the Scientific Committee on Iron and Heme of the American Society of Hematology (2017-2020). Current member of the Scientific Program Committee of the European Hematology Association, the WHO Working Group for Implementation of Patient Blood Management, the EuroBloodNet reference network on rare hematological disorders, and of the Scientific Committee of the European Federation of the Associations of Patients with Hemochromatosis. Main research achievements in the iron field: first clinical and molecular descriptions of the Hereditary Hyperferritinemia Cataract Syndrome (1995), and of HAMP-related Hemochromatosis (2003, coordinated by Clara Camaschella). Coordinator of the BIOIRON Committee for Nomenclature of Hemochromatosis. Invited speaker at several international Meetings, including BIOIRON, American Society of Hematology, European Hematology Association, European Iron Club, and Société Française d’Hématologie. Organizer of the European Iron Club meeting in Verona (2014).
Date: 1 March 2024, 13:00 (Friday, 7th week, Hilary 2024)
Venue: Sherrington Library, off Parks Road OX1 3PT
Venue Details: Sherrington Building
Speaker: Professor Domenico Girelli (University Hospital of Verona)
Organising department: Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG)
Organisers: Dr Mootaz Salman (DPAG, University of Oxford), Associate Professor Samira Lakhal-Littleton (DPAG, University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Host: Associate Professor Samira Lakhal-Littleton (DPAG, University of Oxford)
Part of: DPAG Head of Department Seminar Series
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Hannah Simm