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.

Development of New Iron Chelators as Novel Drugs Against Cancer

Primary supervisor: Des Richardson

This project will use a combination of techniques that are implemented in chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, molecular biology and pharmacology to design and assess the activity of novel drugs for the treatment of cancer. Your project will be multi-faceted and will involve growing human tumour cells in tissue culture and assessing the effects of chelators on gene expression. This will be done using Western analysis, RT-PCR and microarray analysis. The lab has considerable experience in these cutting-edge techniques and you will be taught the intricacies of their use.


Feel free to contact Prof. Des Richardson or Dr. David Lovejoy ( or Dr. Danuta Kalinowski ( to have a chat about whether the project matches your interests.

Discipline: Pathology
Co-supervisors: David Lovejoy, Danuta Kalinowski
Keywords: Iron chelators, Drug design, Cancer