Research Network for Metals in Medicine



Dr Gregory J Anderson

BSc(Hons I), MSc, PhD, (UQ)

Position: Head, Iron Metabolism Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research;
NHMRC Senior Research Fellow:
Adjunct Lecturer, University of Queensland.

Affiliation: Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Postal Address:
Iron Metabolism Laboratory
Queensland Institute of Medical Research
PO Royal Brisbane Hospital
Herston Queensland 4029

Phone: +61 (07) 3362 0187
Fax: +61 (07) 3362 0191

Research Profile

BSc(Hons I), University of Newcastle, NSW, 1980; MSc, McMaster University, Canada, 1983; PhD, University of Queensland, 1990. Postdoctoral Appointments: 1990-1992, Visiting Fellow, National Institutes of Health (CBMB, NICHD), USA; 1992-1994, CJ Martin Fellow, QIMR; 1994-present, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Queensland; 1995-1996, NHMRC Research Officer, QIMR; 1996-2003, NHMRC Senior Research Officer, QIMR; 2004-2008, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, QIMR.

Research interests:
All aspects of iron metabolism with an emphasis of the regulation of mammalian iron homeostasis; Clinical disorders of iron metabolism; Intestinal biology and in particular intestinal differentiation.

Major Honors and Awards:
1980, University Medal, University of Newcastle; 1981-1983, Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship; 1989, Marcel Simon Prize (an international award in iron metabolism research); 1989, Queensland Medical Research Award; 1990-1992, Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship; 1990-1992, CJ Martin Fellowship (NHMRC); 1993, Career Development Award, Gastroenterological Society of Australia; 1993, AMRAD Postdoctoral Award.

Other achievements:
The success of Dr Andersonís work has led to the award of several major international grants including three from the NIH(USA) and one from the Human Frontier Science Program (their number 1 ranked grant in its category worldwide in 2001). He has also been the recipient of a number of highly prestigious awards including CJ Martin and Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowships, an AMRAD Postdoctoral Award and a Career Development Award from the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA). He has received numerous invitations to speak at national and international fora (25 since 1997), including the First Scientific Conference on Hallervorden Spatz Syndrome (Washington DC, 2000), XXXIV International Congress of Physiological Sciences (Christchurch, 2001), International Conference on Iron Metabolism (Chiemsee, Germany, 2002) and the GESA Paediatric Symposium (State-of-the-Art Lecture, Brisbane, 2000). As further evidence of Dr Andersonís international reputation, he has been invited to write 18 reviews or chapters over the last 5 years, (including the chapter on iron absorption in a major recent book on iron transport), served on the international scientific advisory panel of the World Congress of Iron Metabolism in 1999 (Sorrento), was Co-President of the 2001 meeting (Cairns), and is acting as an advisor for the 2003 meeting (Washington). In 2003 he was elected an inaugural Director of the International Bioiron Society.

Dr Anderson has been Head of the Iron Metabolism Laboratory at the QIMR since 1995. His major research interests lie in understanding the molecular basis of iron homeostasis and diseases associated with disturbances in iron metabolism. A particular focus is on the mechanisms and regulation of intestinal iron transport. After PhD studies at the University of Qld and postdoctoral training at the NIH(USA), he has established an internationally recognized, productive and well funded research program in Brisbane. His research has led to 39 publications since 1998, including contributions to journals of high to very high impact factor such as Nature Genetics, Proc Natl Acad Sci (USA), Lancet, Gastroenterology, J Clin Invest, Blood, Human Mutation and Gut.

Major scientific contributions of his lab in recent years have included: (1) Cloning the genes for mouse and rat hephaestin (an essential component of intestinal iron transport)(one publication in Nature Genetics has already been cited over 220 times); (2) Providing definitive demonstration using both normal rodents and sla mice that systemic stimuli to alter iron absorption (e.g. iron deficiency) exert their primary effects on iron export from intestinal epithelial cells and into the circulation rather than on the uptake step from the intestinal lumen; (3) Demonstrating a close inverse correlation between the expression of the regulatory peptide hepcidin and iron absorption; and (4) Showing that the expression of hepcidin is dysregulated in haemochromatosis and appears to be under the control of the HFE gene. This is arguably the most important advance in understanding the biology of this common human disease since the identification of HFE itself in 1996 and provides a potential avenue of therapy for this disorder.

Selected Publications

  1. ANDERSON GJ, Powell LW and Halliday JW. 1990. Transferrin receptor distribution and regulation in the rat small intestine. Effect of iron stores and erythropoiesis. Gastroenterology 98:576-585.
  2. Dancis A, Roman DG, ANDERSON GJ, Hinnebusch AG and Klausner RD. 1992. Ferric reductase of Saccharomyces cerevisiae: molecular characterization, role in iron uptake, and transcriptional control by iron. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 89:3869-3873.
  3. Roman DG, Dancis A, ANDERSON GJ and Klausner RD. 1993. The fission yeast ferric reductase gene frp+ is required for ferric iron uptake and encodes a protein that is homologous to the gp91-phox subunit of the human NADPH phagocyte oxidoreductase. Mol Cell Biol 13:4342-4350.
  4. ANDERSON GJ, Powell LW and Halliday JW. 1994. The endocytosis of transferrin by rat intestinal epithelial cells. Gastroenterology 106:414-422.
  5. ANDERSON GJ, Murphy TL, Cowley L, Evans BA, Halliday JW and McLaren GD. 1998. Mapping the gene for sex-linked anaemia: an inherited defect of intestinal iron absorption in the mouse. Genomics. 48:34-39.
  6. Cullen LM, ANDERSON GJ, Ramm GA, Jazwinska EC and Powell LW. 1999. Genetics of hemochromatosis. Annual Rev Med 50:87-98.
  7. Vulpe CD, Kuo Y-M, Libina N, Gitschier J, Askwith C, Murphy TL, Cowley L, and ANDERSON GJ. 1999. Hephaestin: a ceruloplasmin homologue implicated in intestinal iron uptake and its defect in the sla mouse. Nature Genetics. 21:195-199.
  8. ANDERSON GJ and Powell LW. 1999. Haemochromatosis and the control of intestinal iron absorption. Lancet.353:2089-2090.
  9. ANDERSON GJ and Powell LW. 2000. Of metals, mice and men: What animal models can teach us about body iron loading. J Clin Invest. 105:1185-1186.
  10. ANDERSON GJ. 2001. Ironing out disease: inherited disorders of iron homeostasis. IUBMB Life 51:11-17.
  11. Frazer DM, Vulpe CD, McKie AT, Cleghorn GJ and ANDERSON GJ. 2001. Cloning and gastrointestinal expression of the rat hephaestin gene: relationship to other proteins of iron transport. American Journal of Physiology 281:G931-G939.
  12. Frazer DM and ANDERSON GJ. 2001. Intestinal iron transport and its regulation. Hematology. 6: 193-203.
  13. ANDERSON GJ and Vulpe CD. 2001. Regulation of intestinal iron transport. In: Molecular and Cellular Iron Transport. Ed Templeton D. Marcel Dekker. New York. pp559-596.
  14. Frazer DM, Wilkins SJ, Becker EM, Vulpe CD, McKie AT, Trinder D, Cleghorn GJ and ANDERSON GJ. 2002. Hepcidin expression inversely correlates with the expression of duodenal iron transporters and iron absorption in rats. Gastroenterology. 123: 835-844.
  15. ANDERSON GJ and Powell LW. 2002. HFE and non-HFE hemochromatosis. Int J Hematol. 76: 203-207.
  16. Frazer DM, Wilkins SJ, Becker EM, Murphy TL, Vulpe CD, McKie AT and ANDERSON GJ. 2002. A rapid decrease in the expression of DMT1 and Dcytb but not Ireg1 or hephaestin explains the mucosal block phenomenon of iron absorption. Gut. 52: 340-346.
  17. Stuart KA, ANDERSON GJ, Frazer DM, Powell LW, McCullen M, Fletcher LM and Crawford DHG. 2003. Duodenal expression of iron transport molecules in untreated hemochromatosis subjects. Gut. 52: 953-959.
  18. Bridle KR, Frazer DM, Wilkins SJ, Dixon JL, Crawford DHG, Subramaniam VN, Powell LW, ANDERSON GJ and Ramm GA. 2003. Disrupted hepcidin regulation in HFE-associated haemochromatosis and the liver as a regulator of body iron homeostasis. Lancet. 361: 669-673.
  19. Frazer DM and ANDERSON GJ. 2003. Orchestrating body iron intake: How and where do intestinal cells take their cues? Blood Cells Molec Dis. 30: 288-297.
  20. Arden KE, Wallace DF, Dixon JL, Summerville L, Searle JW, ANDERSON GJ, Ramm GA, Powell LW and Subramaniam VN. 2003. A novel mutation in ferroportin1 is associated with haemochromatosis in a Solomon Islands patient. Gut 52: 1215 1217.
  21. Chen H, Su T, Attieh ZK, Fox TC, McKie AT, ANDERSON GJ and Vulpe CD. 2003. Systemic regulation of hephaestin and Ireg1 revealed in studies of genetic and nutritional iron deficiency. Blood. 102: 1893 1899.
  22. Kuo Y-M, Su T, Chen H, Attieh Z, ANDERSON GJ, Gitschier J and Vulpe CD. 2003. Mislocalization of hephaestin, a predicted multi-copper ferroxidase involved in basolateral intestinal iron transport, in the sex-linked anaemia mouse. Gut. 53: 201-206.
  23. Stuart KA, ANDERSON GJ, Frazer DM, Murphy TL, Powell LW, Fletcher LM and Crawford DH. 2003. Increased duodenal expression of DMT1 and Ireg1 in cirrhosis. Hepatology. In press.
  24. Millard KN, Frazer DM, Wilkins SJ and ANDERSON GJ. 2003. Changes in the expression of intestinal iron transport and hepatic regulatory molecules explain the enhanced iron absorption associated with pregnancy in the rat. Gut. In press.
  25. Chen H, Attieh ZK, Su T, Syed BA, Gao H, Alaeddine RM, Fox TC, Usta J, Naylor CE, Evans RW, McKie AT, ANDERSON GJ and Vulpe CD. 2004. Hephaestin is a ferroxidase that maintains partial activity in the sex-linked anemia mouse. Blood. In press.


Our laboratory is based at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Australiaís largest biomedical research institute. QIMR is very well equipped to carry out a wide range of biological research activities and has all the facilities required for our research. The Institute does not have any specialized equipment for metal or trace element research. However, since we are physically located on the campus of a major teaching hospital, we are particularly well placed to conduct clinical and human research. Our laboratory currently has active research programs involving both the Royal Brisbane and Womenís Hospital and the Royal Childrenís Hospital.

International Linkages

Dr Andrew McKie (Department of Molecular Medicine, Kingís College School of Medicine, London)
Dr Chris Vulpe (Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, University of California, Berkeley)
Professor Gordon McLaren (VA Medcial Centre, Long Beach and Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine)