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» Iqbal Hamza
Adjunct & Affiliated Faculty
Department of Animal and Avian Sciences
University of Maryland, Bldg. 142
1985-1989: B.Sc., University of Bombay, Biochemistry and Life Sciences
1989-1991: M.Sc., University of Bombay, Biochemistry
1991-1997: Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine, Biochemistry
2011 Sabbatical, Dr. Paul Liu, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD
Awards and Honors:
1987 Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Silver Standard for Outstanding Community Social Service
1989-90 The University of Bombay Academic Scholarship
1990-91 The Institute of Science Academic Merit Scholarship
2000-02 NIH Post-Doctoral Fellowship, NHLBI, NRSA
2001 Top 30 Outstanding Alumni, Canada World Youth, Montreal, Canada
2002-05 NIH Research Career Development Award, NIDDK, K01
2003 Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
2005 Outstanding Invention, Eukaryotic Heme Transport as a Drug target for Helminthic
2006 Junior Faculty Excellence Award, AGNR, UMCP
2010 Kirwan Faculty Research and Scholarship Prize, UMCP
2010 Best Inventor Pitch, Bioscience Research and Technology Review Day, Professor Venture Fair
2011 Excellence in Research, 44th Annual Alumni Awards Celebration, AGNR, UMCP
2011 Faculty Excellence Award, AGNR, UMCP
2012 Invited Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
2012-16 Standing Member, Integrative Nutrition and Metabolic Processes Study Section, NIH
2016-18 Vice-Chair and Chair, Gordon Research Conference, Chemistry and Biology of Tetrapyrroles
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
The International BioIron Society
The Genetics Society of America
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The long-term objectives of my research program are to identify the genes and uncover the pathways for heme transport and trafficking in humans which have remained poorly understood. At the University of Maryland, I deliberately set out to uncover heme trafficking pathways in eukaryotes – which were unknown at the time. My pioneering work with the invertebrate animal model C. elegans has demonstrated that this roundworm is exceptional because it does not synthesize heme but rather utilizes environmental heme to manufacture heme-containing proteins, which have human homologs. This broke the existing paradigm that heme synthesis occurred in all free-living eukaryotes [
]. Using the worm model, my research group identified the first eukaryotic heme importer/transporter (HRG-1) which is conserved in zebrafish and humans [
More recently, my group uncovered how heme is exported from the intestine to other tissues including the embryos by HRG-3 and ABCC5/MRP5 [
Cell 2011; Cell Metabolism 2014
]. These findings represent major discoveries in heme trafficking and establish a heuristic paradigm for heme transport in animals. Beyond C. elegans, we have shown that related free-living and parasitic nematodes (helminths) do not synthesize heme, much like Trypanosomes and Leishmania. Thus, selective targeting of parasite heme transport pathways could be their Achilles heel. Our groundbreaking studies resulted not only in the identification of homologs for heme transporters in humans [
Cell Metabolism 2013
] but also in parasites such as hookworms, filarial worms and Leishmania, which rely on host heme for survival [
Infect Immun 2006, PLoS NTD. 2009; PLoS Path. 2012
]. We anticipate that our studies will lead to identification of inhibitors that can target heme transport pathway in parasites which infect humans, livestock, and plants, as well as in humans with genetic disorders of heme and iron metabolism.
Molecular and Quantitative Animal Genetics
ANSC327/ANSC627, 3 credits, Spring semester,
Tuesday and Thursday
Rao A, Carta L, Lesuisse E and Hamza I. Lack of Heme Synthesis in a Free-Living Eukaryote.
Proc Natl Acad Sci
. 2005; 102:4270-4275 [PMID:15767563].
Rajagopal A, Rao AU, Amigo J, Tian M, Upadhyay SK, Hall C, Uhm S, Mathew MK, Fleming MD, Paw BH, Krause M and Hamza I. Heme homeostasis is regulated by the conserved and concerted functions of HRG-1 proteins.
2008; 453: 1127-1131 (Epub Apr 16, 2008) [PMID:18418376].
Severance S, Rajagopal A, Rao AU, Cerqueira GC, Mitreva4 M, El-Sayed NM, Krause M and Hamza I. Genome-wide analysis reveals novel genes essential for heme homeostasis in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Chen C, Samuel TK, Sinclair J, Dailey H and Hamza I. An intercellular heme trafficking protein delivers maternal heme to the embryo during development in C. elegans.
. 2011; 145:720-731 [PMID:21620137].
White C, Yuan X, Schmidt PJ, Bresciani E, Campagna D, Hall C, Bishop K, Calicchio ML, Lapierre A, Ward DM, Liu P, Fleming MD and Hamza I. HRG1 is essential for heme transport from the phagolysosome of macrophages during erythrophagocytosis.
. 2013; 17: 261-270 [PMID:23395172].
Korolnek T, Zhang J, Beardsley S, Scheffer GL, Hamza I. Control of metazoan heme homeostasis by a conserved multidrug resistance protein.
. 2014;19:1008-1019 [PMID: 24836561].
Multiple R01 grants from NIH
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