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About ASH

Scientific Committee on Iron and Heme

Committee Roster

Francesca Vinchi, PhD  ('24)

Vice Chair
Yvette Yien, PhD  ('24)

Appointed Members
Janis  L. Abkowitz, MD  ('24)
Jodie Babitt, MD  ('24)
Maria Domenica Cappellini, MD  ('26)
Hideo Harigae, MD  ('24)
Stefano Rivella, PhD  ('26)
Nicole Stoffel, PhD  ('27)
Ali Taher, MD, PhD, FRCP  ('25)
Michelle  P. Zeller, MD  ('24)

Staff Liaison
Alice Kuaban, MS

Committee Mandate

The Scientific Committee on Iron and Heme is focused on all aspects of normal and pathological iron metabolism as well as normal and defective heme synthesis, within hematology. The focus of this committee will include:

Areas of biological/mechanistic interest:
Intracellular iron and heme pathways, iron and heme toxicity, control of iron availability for erythropoiesis, regulatory roles for heme and iron in development and metabolism, heme and iron sensors acting as regulators of gene expression, the role of macrophages in iron metabolism, and the role of hepcidin as an agonist, including compounds that trigger hepcidin expression.

The clinical areas:
Physiology and pathophysiology of hereditary and acquired microcytic anemia related to iron defects, anemia of inflammation and the roles of molecules related to this process, hereditary and acquired porphyrias, post-transfusional iron overload, hereditary hemochromatosis, and organ-specific iron toxicity.

The methodological aspects:
Methods for assessing body iron stores, including serum hepcidin measurement; non-invasive methods of measuring organ iron concentration; assays for non-transferrin bound iron; genotyping for mutations in genes of iron metabolism; generation of animal models of inborn errors of iron metabolism for gene discovery and characterization.

Emerging areas:

  • New techniques for measurement of iron stores. Development of new iron chelators.
  • Mechanisms of iron and heme toxicity in extra-hepatic organs (neurons, heart, kidney)
  • Iron, heme and iron-containing proteins as modifiers of thalassemia, hemolytic anemia, etc.
  • Interactions between nutrients (vitamin D, Se, Cu, ascorbate, folates) and iron effects and toxicity
  • Hepcidin regulation and extra-hepatic hepcidin production; development of hepcidin antagonists
  • Role of heme, iron sulfur clusters and other iron containing proteins in cell survival and differentiation.
  • New heme transporters
  • Alternative roles for iron and heme in development.

Potential overlap and resolution with other scientific committees:

Potential overlaps with the Scientific Committee on Red Cell Biology, especially with regards to acquisition of iron in the red cell, heme as a metabolic switch, iron deficiency and apoptosis in erythroblasts, anemia of inflammation and ageing.

Thus, appropriate sessions at the ASH annual meeting may include:

  • Techniques for measurement of iron stores.
  • Development and clinical applications of new iron chelators.
  • Hepcidin regulation and extra-hepatic hepcidin production; development of hepcidin antagonists
  • Iron, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and toxicity, including carcinogenesis
  • Disorders of heme synthesis; porphyrias
  • Inherited defects of iron metabolism: iron deficiency and iron overload