Our People

Greg Anderson

Professor | Group Leader | Principal Research Fellow | Head of the Chronic Diseases Program

Iron Metabolism

+61 7 3362 0187




Professor Anderson is a Principal Research Fellow at QIMR Berghofer where he heads the Iron Metabolism Laboratory and Chronic Disorders Program. He is the immediate past Deputy Director of the Institute. He is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland and a Visiting Professor at the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing.

After undergraduate studies at the University of Newcastle and an MSc at McMaster University in Canada, Professor Anderson completed a PhD at the University of Queensland followed by postdoctoral work at the US National Institutes of Health. He has worked in the area of iron homeostasis for over 30 years and has other research interests in gastrointestinal and liver disease, and nanotechnology-based drug delivery platforms. His particular areas of focus include mechanisms of intestinal iron absorption and its regulation, the pathogenesis of iron loading diseases, the use of nanotechnology for modulating body iron levels and for cancer therapy, iron homeostasis in pregnancy and early postnatal life and mechanisms of hepatic encephalopathy. He is a former President of the International BioIron Society, serves on the Board of the International Biometals Society and has served on the Council of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.



2017: Principal Research Fellow, QIMR Berghofer             

2016: Head, Chronic Disorders Program, QIMR Berghofer

2010: Visiting Professor, National Institute for Nanoscience and Technology, Beijing, China

2008: Adjunct Professor, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland

1995: Group Leader, Iron Metabolism Laboratory, QIMR


Previous Appointments

2012-2016: Deputy Director, QIMR Berghofer

2008-2011: Head, Cancer and Cell Biology Division, QIMR 

2004-2016: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, QIMR

2004-2006: Chair, Population Studies and Human Genetics Division, QIMR

1995-2003: Senior Research Officer, Population Studies and Human Genetics Division, QIMR

1992-1994: CJ Martin Fellow, Liver Unit, QIMR

1990-1992: CJ Martin Fellow, Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, USA









The Iron Metabolism Laboratory focuses on understanding the homeostasis of the essential trace element iron (and related metals), the natural history of iron-related disorders and potential therapies for treating them, and mechanisms of liver disease.

Current research activities include:

  • elucidating the basic mechanisms of intestinal iron absorption and its regulation. Increased absorption characterises most iron loading disorders such as haemochromatosis and thalassaemia. Emphasis is being placed on the ferroportin/hephaestin iron transport complex and its modulation by the iron regulatory peptide hepcidin
  • exploring novel mechanisms of regulating iron intake in pregnancy and early postnatal life. These are times of high iron demand and this work has significant implications for maternal health as well as infant nutrition and complementary feeding
  • using novel nanoparticle technology to develop better methods for delivering iron removing agents. Target tissues for iron removal include the liver, brain and heart, as well as tumours
  • studying the natural history of the iron loading disorder hereditary haemochromatosis and exploring markers for monitoring the effectiveness of treatment
  • examining the mechanisms underlying hepatic encephalopathy, the neurophsychiatric syndrome that often accompanies severe liver disease. Our work takes a broad approach from basic molecular mechanisms to clinical applications



  • cloning and analysis of the iron oxidase hephaestin. Hephaestin plays an important role in the efficient intestinal absorption or iron and its identification represented a major advance in our understanding of the molecular basis of intestinal iron transport
  • demonstrating hephaestin plays an important role in controlling iron levels in extra-intestinal tissues, notably the central nervous system, heart and kidney
  • demonstrating expression of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin is defective in HFE-associated haemochromatosis, revealing hepcidin is a downstream target of HFE and not an upstream modulator as was previously proposed. This led to a paradigm shift in the field and provided a mechanistic basis for understanding the pathogenesis of primary iron loading disorders
  • demonstrating a close inverse relationship between the expression of hepcidin in the liver and iron transport molecules in the small intestine. These studies confirmed hepcidin as the key systemic regulator of intestinal iron absorption
  • showing diferric transferrin can act as a key regulator of hepcidin, thereby providing an important link between body iron levels and the regulator of iron transport into the plasma
  • undertaking a large population-based study which has provided the most objective evidence to date of disease penetrance in HFE-related haemochromatosis
  • providing a molecular explanation for the mucosal block phenomenon which can decrease the efficiency of intestinal iron absorption
  • defining mechanisms of intestinal iron absorption and its regulation during early infancy
  • providing definitive evidence that the transferrin/transferrin receptor system does not play a direct role in intestinal iron absorption, but an indirect role in absorption by supplying iron to the proliferating cells of the intestinal crypts



  • American Gastroenterological Association
  • Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Gastroenterological Society of Australia
  • International Bioiron Society
  • International Biometals Society




  • President-Elect, President, then Past-President of the International BioIron Society


  • NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship


  • Silver Seahorse Award, Distinguished graduate award, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Newcastle


  • AMRAD Postdoctoral Award


  • Career Development Award, ASTRA/Gastroenterological Society of Australia Research Institute


  • Young Investigator Award, Gastroenterological Society of Queensland


  • J. Martin Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia


  • Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship, Australian-American Educational Foundation


  • Queensland Medical Research Award, Australian Society for Medical Research
  • Marcel Simon Prize, Young investigator at the IX International Conference on Proteins of Iron Transport and Storage


  • University Medal, University of Newcastle



1986-1990: PhD, University of Queensland, ‘Studies of the transferrin receptor and its role in iron absorption’

1981-1983: MSc, McMaster University, Canada, ‘The mutagenicity, metabolism and macromolecule binding of the nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon 3-nitroperylene’

1977-1980: BSc(Hons), University of Newcastle