A major focus of current research work is in studying iron homeostasis in women, non-pregnant and pregnant. In non-pregnant women, we are evaluating optimal ways for oral iron supplementation to treat iron-deficiency. In pregnancy, ongoing work investigates handling of iron in the placenta, how the iron status of the mother influences the fetus and the role of the placenta in the processes involved. In this context, we currently study those with uncomplicated pregnancies and those with gestational diabetes mellitus.
We have also been involved in studies on anemia of inflammation. In this context, we study derangements in iron homeostasis in those with inflammatory bowel diseases and how the presence of Helicobacter pylori infection affects iron homeostasis. Our past work has shown that several events involved in iron homeostasis are deranged in chronic inflammatory states, often resulting in anemia of inflammation, which is challenging to treat in clinical practice. Our work on inflamed mice has documented alterations in duodenal proteins involved in absorption of dietary iron. This provides an explanation for the observation that absorption of dietary iron is often decreased in inflammatory states. Broadly similar changes were seen in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases where, in addition, our work has shown that when anemia and inflammation (opposing stimuli that regulate hepcidin) coexist, the effect of anemia predominates over that of the latter.
We have also been involved in work on factors (such as ATOH8 [a transcription factor] and BMPER [bone morphogenetic protein-binding endothelial cell precursor-derived regulator]) that influence hepcidin (central regulator of systemic iron homeostasis) expression and hence, iron homeostasis. In addition, we are also involved in studies to evaluate the effect of micronutrient supplementation on anemia, in children under 5.
Given below are on-going and completed intra- and extramurally funded research projects in the above areas.