Author Archives: dsolano

Reincarnation or Atavism in the Iron Field? By Ioav Cabantchik


The medieval practice of bloodletting was based on the Moslem medical writers who emphasized revulsion (bleeding from a site located as far from the ailment as possible). This position was attacked in 1514 by Pierre Brissot (1478-1522), a Paris physician, who stressed the importance of bleeding near the locus of the disease (derivative bleeding). He was declared a medical heretic by the Paris Faculty of Medicine and derivative bleeding was forbidden by an act of the French parliament. In 1518, Brissot was exiled to Spain and Portugal. In 1539, the celebrated anatomist, Andreas Vesalius, continued the controversy with his famous Venesection Letter, which came to the support of Brissot“. 

From T.A. Appel and A.B. Davis  “Bloodletting Instruments in the National Museum of History and Technology” 1–103, 1979

That venesection runs in the veins of our Pierre Brissot (former President of Bioiron and leading authority in hemochromatosis) may not come as a surprise to our members, but is the profession an hereditary trait or is that an atavistic feature of PR?….

In fact, Pierre Brissot is not only aware of his distinguished ancestry profession but also shared that information publically in his recently published historical article in the Revue du Praticien ( Vol. 67 _ Décembre 2017 ) titled “LA SAIGNÉE EN MÉDECINE : une très longue histoire qui n’est pas encore terminée”  (“Bleeding in medicine: a very long story that is not over yet”).

Renal Iron Handling In Health and Disease

Invitation to submit research and review articles related to Renal Iron Handling in Health and Disease.

While iron is a pre-requisite for life, it also initiates a cascade of pathological events that lead to parenchymal damage and activation of immune cells. Iron-dependent regulated cell death, namely ferroptosis, potentiates kidney injury and ironically, delivery of iron (or iron-loaded macrophages) to the kidney reduces the severity of the disease. Clearly, this represents our incomplete understanding iron metabolism in kidney health and pathology.

              We invite investigators to contribute original research articles as well as review articles that will aid in the understanding of iron metabolism and trafficking in the initiation and outcomes of kidney injury and chronic kidney disease.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

• Characterization and determination of the role of the kidney in iron trafficking and metabolism
• Effects of disorders of systemic iron metabolism (e.g. iron deficiency and iron overload) on the kidney, including new techniques to measure iron content (free or protein-bound) in tissue, plasma and cells
– Iron homeostasis in kidney disease (proteinuria, glomerulopathy and chronic kidney disease)
• Mechanism of iron-mediated kidney injury;
• Modulation of iron and hepcidin levels as therapeutic strategies to overcome injury and/or promote recovery 

Please use the following link to access the submission page

In Memory of Marianne Wessling-Resnick

Marianne Wessling-Resnick passed away on November 13th, 2019 after a long and private struggle with breast cancer. She was 61 years old. Marianne was a Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry in the Department of Genetics & Complex Diseases at the Harvard School of Healthin Boston, Massachusetts. A native of the Boston area, Marianne obtained her BS degree in Chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from UMass Medical School. In 1990, she started as Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she moved through the ranks to Professor in 2000. In addition to her research and teaching, Marianne served as a standing member and chair of three consecutive NIH study sections (1998–2012), chair of East Coast Iron Club (1994–1996), co-chair of the FASEB Conference on Micronutrients: Trace Elements (2001), and director of the PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2010–2014). Marianne’s research over the years covered wide territory including biochemical, molecular, and cellular mechanisms of iron transport and homeostasis, manganese transport and neurotoxicity, and endocytic vesicle trafficking. In recent years, she was known throughout the nutritional biochemistry community for her many contributions to our understanding of how iron status and genetic factors regulate iron and manganese uptake via intestinal, pulmonary, and olfactory pathways. Having trained over 30 post-doctoral fellows in her laboratory at Harvard, she was highly regarded as a dedicated and supportive mentor of the next generation of biomedical scientists. As such, she was frequently sought—by junior faculty at Harvard and beyond—for her solid advice on career and life. She seemed to know something about everything, was generous with her time and advice, and despite a strong exterior, she was known by many as a remarkably caring and compassionate individual. She will be dearly missed by hercolleagues and friends at Harvard, the BioIron Society, and the trace element community. Marianneis survived by her husband Paul Resnick and her son Timothy.

Mitch Knutson (University of Florida), Khristy Thompson (Harvard School of Public Health), Jonghan Kim (Northeastern University), and Young-Ah Seo (University of Michigan)

Prem Ponka Legacy

Prem Ponka (born as Přemysl Poňka) passed away while at a conference in Paris. He was Professor of Physiology at McGill University and Senior Investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research in Montreal, Canada. He obtained his MD in 1964 and his PhD (in Physiology) in 1969 from Charles University, Prague. From 1968 to 1979 he served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathophysiology at Charles University in Prague. As Czechoslovakia was then under an oppressive communist rule, he emigrated to Montreal in 1979 under difficult circumstances, and resumed his academic career at McGill and the Lady Davis Institute. While still behind the “iron curtain”, Prem developed an interest in the study of iron and heme metabolism and throughout his career continued making major contributions in this area of research. Prem demonstrated that iron uptake is the limiting factor for erythroid heme synthesis. He formulated the ‘kiss-and-run hypothesis”, according to which iron is directly delivered from endosomes to mitochondria in erythroid cells. He discovered a critical role of the heme catabolic enzyme heme oxygenase in erythroid cell physiology. Furthermore, Prem developed a new class of cell permeable iron chelators (SIH, PIH and analogues), which are widely used by researchers in the field. Prem was an active member of the BioIron Society and organized its first international conference in Prague in 2005. He also organized an earlier “iron conference” in Montebello, Quebec, in 1987. Prem was an acclaimed scientist who received broad recognition for his work, and was in high demand as a lecturer and peer-reviewer of manuscripts and grant proposals in Canada, USA, Czech Republic and elsewhere. He was a devoted colleague with encyclopedic knowledge of the history and personalities of the bioiron field, and a renaissance man with a broad interest in science, history, philosophy and arts. He was a dedicated proponent of political and intellectual freedom and tolerance, with a unique sense of humor. Prem had no plans to retire and passed away as an active scientist, exactly as he envisioned. He is survived by his wife Dr. Jitka Ponka, adult children Dr. David Ponka and Claire Ponka, and grandchildren. Prem will be greatly missed by his colleagues at the BioIron Society, McGill University and the Lady Davis Institute.

Kostas Pantopoulos (McGill University) and Tomas Ganz (UCLA)