Iron Metabolism and Chelation Program

Lab head: Des Richardson
Location: D06 - Blackburn Building

Iron is essential for life and growth. While it is well known that iron deficiency can lead to anaemia it is generally not appreciated that iron is critical for the growth of all cells, particularly cancer cells. The Iron Metabolism and Chelation Program is concerned with understanding the basic processes of how tumour cells utilise and transport iron. This knowledge will lead to the development of therapies that can selectively starve tumour cells of iron and inhibit their growth. In addition, we are studying the mechanisms involved in iron loading in the inherited diseases I2-thalassaemia and Friedreich's ataxia.

Lab members: Head: D Richardson; RFellows: D Kalinowski, D Lovejoy, Y Suryo Rahmanto, D Zhang, D Zhang; PFellows: C Austin, K Dixon, P Jansson, Z Kovacevic, D Lane, K Loh, M Lok, P Quach, V Richardson, Y Yu; RAssistant: S Bal, S Chikhani, M Huang, E Lim, P Obeidy, N Pantarat, F Saletta, D Sharp.

Dissecting the role of NDRG-1 in regulating endoplasmic reticulum stress and cancer cell survival

Primary supervisor: Des Richardson

N-myc downstream regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) is a metastasis suppressor that has known to be involved in cell differentiation, carcinogenesis, survival, and metastasis. It is sensitive to the redox status of the cells and the intracellular calcium concentration. Disruption of calcium homeostasis within endoplasmic reticulum (ER) system is associated with the ER stress response that represents an adaptive mechanism supporting survival and chemoresistance of tumor cells. However, the direct interaction of NDRG1 with ER stress signaling has not been well understood. This project aims to dissect how NDRG1 expression modulates ER stress and to understand the biological consequences. This study will use cell culture, immunoblotting, gene silencing, cell-based functional analysis, phosphatase assay, drug treatment and cell apoptosis, etc. By understanding the association of NDRG1 with ER stress and cancer cell survival, this project will help to develop efficient therapeutic strategies by targeting both NDRG-1 and drug-resistant molecules involved in ER stress.

Discipline: Pathology
Co-supervisors: Nurul Shafie
Keywords: cellular signalling, apoptosis, Cancer