The importance of iron in living systems cannot be overestimated. If iron is not
managed efficiently, the aftermath could be catastrophic. My research project focused
on understanding the structure and function of a major iron binding and storage protein
called “Ferritin”. Because of its ubiquitous presence and involvement in iron balance,
ferritin plays a key role in a multitude of human iron-related diseases such as
hemochromatosis, anemia and a number of cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.
These iron-related problems are mainly caused by the 'corrosive chemistry' of iron and oxygen. The World Health Organization estimates some 80% of the World's population
(some five billion plus people) are afflicted with iron-related diseases. Thus,
investigating the iron uptake and release by ferritin is a crucial step to understanding the underlying reasons of these diseases at the molecular level. The ultimate goal is to
design drug molecules that would extract or deliver iron efficiently and thus treat these
Powerpoint slides describing a research project prepared for the Presidential Scholars Presentation Series, April 29, 2010. Advisor: Fadi Bou-Abdallah, Chemistry Department.