Current QIMR Berghofer appointment
- 1995 – current: Head, Iron Metabolism Laboratory.
Other current appointments
- 2004 – current: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow.
- 2010 – current: Visiting Professor, National Institute for Nanoscience and Technology, Beijing, China.
- 2012 – 2016: Deputy Director, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.
- 2008 – 2011: Head, Cancer and Cell Biology Division.
- 2004 – 2006: Chair, Population Studies and Human Genetics Division.
- 1995 – 2003: Senior Research Officer.
- 1992 – 1994: NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow.
- 1990 – 1992: NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow, National Institutes of Health (USA).
Current Area of Research
The laboratory focuses on understanding the homeostasis of the essential trace element iron in the body and the natural history of disorders of iron metabolism such as the iron loading disease haemochromatosis. Our work takes a broad approach from basic molecular mechanisms to clinical applications. Specific area of interest include:
- Elucidating the basic mechanisms of intestinal iron absorption and its regulation as increased absorption characterises most iron loading disorders. Emphasis is being placed on how the iron transport protein ferroportin functions in conjunction with the iron oxidase hephaestin and how this function is disturbed by the iron regulatory peptide hepcidin.
- Exploring novel mechanisms of regulating iron intake in early postnatal life.
- Examining how iron homeostasis is regulated in iron loading anaemias such as thalassaemia. These studies are helping us to understand how changes in erythropoiesis regulated body iron intake.
- Investigating mechanisms of iron metabolism in the lung and how these relate to bacterial infections and the severity of cystic fibrosis.
- Studying the natural history of hereditary haemochromatosis and exploring markers for monitoring the effectiveness of treatment.
- Using nanotechnology to develop more effective methods for the therapeutic delivery and removal of iron.
- 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.
- Showing that hephaestin plays an important role in controlling iron levels in extra-intestinal tissues, notable the central nervous system, heart and kidney.
- Demonstrating that expression of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin is defective in HFE-associated haemochromatosis. We were able to show that 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. Our studies confirmed hepcidin as key systemic regulator of intestinal iron absorption.
- Showing that 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 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.
- 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.
- Cloning components of the iron uptake system of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Two genes involved in ferric iron reduction, which is required for ferric iron uptake, were identified. These were the first ferric reductase genes to be cloned in any eucaryote.
- American Gastrenterological Association.
- American Society of Hematology.
- Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
- Australian Society for Medical Research.
- Gastroenterological Society of Australia.
- International Bioiron Society.
- International Biometals Society.
- National Association of Research Fellows.
- 2004 – 2016: NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship.
- 1994: Silver Seahorse Award. Distinguished graduate award, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Newcastle.
- 1993 – 1995: AMRAD Postdoctoral Award.
- 1993: Career Development Award, ASTRA/Gastroenterological Society of Australia Research Institute.
- 1992: Young Investigator Award, Gastroenterological Society of Queensland.
- 1990 – 1994: C.J. Martin Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
- 1990 – 1992: Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship, Australian-American Educational Foundation.
- 1989: Queensland Medical Research Award, AMP-Australian Society for Medical Research.
- 1989: Marcel Simon Prize. Young investigator at the IXth International Conference on Proteins of Iron Transport and Storage.
- 1986 – 1989: Edwin Tooth Scholarship, The University of Queensland.
- 1981 – 1983: Postgraduate Scholarship, McMaster University, Canada.
- 1981 – 1983: Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship, Government of Canada.
- 1980: University Medal, University of Newcastle.
In addition, Professor Anderson is current President of the International Bioiron Society, and is a foundation Council Member of the International Biometals Society (from 2010). Nationally, he oversees the Australian Biometals Group and Chairs the Industry Advisory Board for the School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences at Griffith University. He chaired the Program Advisory Committee for the XFM beamline of the Australian Synchrotron (2012-2014), was Treasurer of the Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2008-2012), and served on the Research Committee of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia for 10 years (2004-2013).
- 1986 – 1990: PhD, The University of Queensland.
- 1981 – 1983: MSc, McMaster University, Canada.
- 1977 – 1980: BSc(Hons), University of Newcastle, NSW.