In the laboratory, we study how the master controller of systemic iron homoestasis, hepcidin, is regulated. Hepcidin is responsible for controlling iron absorption from the intestine and iron recycling from degraded red cells by the macrophage.
We are using novel epigenetic approaches to characterise new pathways which may regulate hepcidin gene expression. In addition, we are studying mechanisms by which erythropoiesis and anaemia may affect hepcidin expression.
In the field, we are undertaking large randomised controlled trials of iron interventions in rural Bangladesh (infants) and Malawi (pregnant women). These trials will provide much needed evidence to inform global health anaemia control policies. Samples from these trials will be available for analysis using cutting edge platforms including 16S rRNA gene sequencing for microbiota, CyTOF and flow cytometry, and molecular characterization, for example using high throughput RNA sequencing.
Finally, we assist and advise international and national organisations with research and policy development.
Australia, University of Melbourne, PhD, 2012
Australia, University of Melbourne, MPH, 2007
Australia, University of Melbourne, MBBS (Hons), 2001
Australia, Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP), 2012
Australia, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FRCPA), 2012
The Royal Melbourne Hospital
The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
2023 Nevin Scrimshaw Award, American Society of Nutrition
2022 Jian Zhou Medal, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
2021 Mathison Memorial Lecture, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne
2019 Levy-Gunshin award, International BioIron Society
2013 Dean’s Award for Excellence in a PhD Thesis, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne
2010 Victoria Fellowship – Victorian Government, Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development
2001 MBBS University of Melbourne Top Student
2022-2026: National Health and Medical Research Council. Investigator Grant – Leadership 1 (CIA)
2019-2021: National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant: The Iron Clock: Epigenetic regulation of circadian iron homeostasis (CIA)
2019-2022: National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant: Effect of universal iron interventions on intestinal health in young children: A sub-study of RCTs in Bangladesh and Malawi (CIA)
2019-2022: National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship Level 1: Innovation and evidence to alleviate anaemia worldwide (CIA)
2018-2022: National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant: Benefits and safety of IRon supplementation with MAlaria chemoprevention to children in Malawi (IRMA) – A randomised controlled trial (CIA)
Lead Commissioner, Lancet Haematology Commission on Anaemia (2023-2025)
Scientific Co-Chair, American Society of Haematology (2023-4)
Member, International Advisory Council, Lancet Haematology
Member, Global Advisory Council, Micronutrient Forum (2021-)
Chair, Scientific Committee on Iron and Heme, American Society of Hematology ( 2019-2022)
Head, WHO Collaborating Centre for Anaemia Detection and Control
Chair, Joint International Union of Nutrition Sciences / NIH Taskforce on Risks and Benefits of Iron Supplementation
External Resource and Chair, World Health Organization
Pasricha, S.R.; Mwangi, M.N.; Moya, E.; Ataide, R.; Mzembe, G.; Harding, R.; Zinenani, T.; Larson, L.M.; Demir, A.Y.; Nkhono, W.; Chinkhumba, J.; Simpson, J.A.; Clucas, D.; Stones, W.; Braat, S.; Phiri, K.S. Ferric carboxymaltose versus standard-of-care oral iron to treat second-trimester anaemia in Malawian pregnant women: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2023, 10.1016/S0140-6736(23)00278-7 PMID: 37088092
Bennett, C.; Jackson, V.E.; Pettikiriarachchi, A.; Hayman, T.; Schaeper, U.; Moir-Meyer, G.L.; Fielding, K.L.; Ataide, R.; Clucas, D.; Baldi, A.J.; Garnham, A.L.; Li-Wai-Suen, C.S.; Loughran, S.J.; Baxter, E.J.; Green, A.R.; Alexander, W.S.; Bahlo, M.; Burbury, K.; Ng, A.P.; Pasricha, S.R. Iron homeostasis governs erythroid phenotype in Polycythemia Vera. Blood 2023, 10.1182/blood.2022016779, doi:10.1182/blood.2022016779. PMID: 36928379
Pasricha SR, Hasan MI, Braat S, Larson LM, Tipu SMMU, Hossain SJ, Shiraji S, Baldi A, Bhuiyan MSA, Tofail F, Fisher J, Grantham-McGregor S, Simpson JA, Hamadani JD, Biggs BA. Benefits and Risks of Universal Iron Interventions in Infants. New Engl J Med. 2021. Sep 9;385(11):982-995. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2034187. PMID: 34496174
Pasricha SR, Tye-Din JA, Muckenthaler M, Swinkels D. Iron Deficiency. Lancet 2021 Jan 16;397(10270):233-248. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32594-0. PMID: 33285139
Hamadani JD, Hasan MI, Baldi AJ, Hossain SJ, Shiraji S, Bhuiyan MSA, Mehrin SF, Fisher J, Tofail F, Tipu SMMU, Grantham-McGregor S, Biggs BA, Braat S, Pasricha SR. Immediate impact of stay-at-home orders to control COVID-19 transmission on socioeconomic conditions, food insecurity, mental health and intimate partner violence in Bangladeshi women and their families: an interrupted time-series. Lancet Glob Health. 2020. doi: 10.1016/ S2214-109X(20)30366-1. PMID: 32857955
Pasricha SR, Gheorghe A, Sakr-Ashour F, Arcot A, Neufeld L, Murray-Kolb LE, Suchdev PS, Bode M. Net benefit and cost-effectiveness of universal iron- containing multiple micronutrient powders for young children in 78 countries: a microsimulation study. Lancet Glob Health. 2020 Aug;8(8):e1071-e1080. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30240-0. PMID: 32710863
Pasricha SR, Lim PJ, Duarte T, Casu C, Oosterhuis D, Mleczko-Sanecka K, Suciu M, Da Silva AR, Al-Hourani K, Arezes J, McHugh K, Gooding S, Frost J, Wray K, Santos A, Porto G, Repapi E, Gray N, Draper S, Ashley N, Soilleux E, Olinga P, Muckenthaler M, Hughes J, Rivella S, Milne TA, Armitage AE, Drakesmith AH. Hepcidin is regulated by promoter-associated histone acetylation and HDAC3. Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 1;8(1):403. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00500-z. PMID: 28864822
Jones E,* Pasricha SR,* Allen A, Evans P, Fisher CA, Wray K, Premawardhena A, Bandara D, Perera A, Webster C, Sturges P, Olivieri NF, St Pierre T, Armitage AE, Porter JB, Weatherall DJ*, Drakesmith H*. Blood. 2015 Jan 29;125(5):873-80. doi: 10.1182/blood-2014-10-606491. PMID: 25519750
Pasricha SR*, Atkinson SH,* Armitage AE, Khandwala S, Veenemans J, Cox SE, Eddowes LA, Hayes T, Doherty CP, Demir AY, Tijhaar E, Verhoef H, Prentice AM*, Drakesmith H*. Expression of the iron hormone hepcidin distinguishes types of anemia in African children. Sci Transl Med. 2014 May 7;6(235):235re3. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008249. PMID: 24807559
Pasricha SR, Frazer DM, Bowden DK, Anderson GJ. Transfusion suppresses erythropoiesis and increases hepcidin in adult patients with beta-thalassemia major – a longitudinal study. Blood. 2013 Jul 4;122(1):124-33. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-12-471441. Epub 2013 May 8. PMID: 23656728
Iron is essential for life. Tight control of bodily iron levels is critical since too much (iron overload) and too little (iron deficiency) both have untoward consequences. We are defining how iron levels are controlled under normal conditions as well as manipulating key players in iron regulation to further understand their role. This knowledge helps us determine how iron homeostasis is altered in diseases where iron regulation is perturbed (e.g. blood cancer, infectious diseases) and during distinct life stages (e.g. infancy, pregnancy).
Team members: Cavan Bennett, Kate Fielding, Ricardo Ataide, Anne Pettikiriarachchi
We study erythropoiesis (red blood cell production) using a range of experimental techniques including genomic and epigenetic studies, live cell imaging, genome engineering and proteomics. Using these techniques we hope to find ways to improve red cell health and hence prevent and treat anaemia.
Lab Members: Gemma Moir-Meyer, Robert Sertori, Cavan Bennett
Through collaboration with Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre we utilise samples from patients with a range of blood disorders, and apply state-of-the-art genomic, transcriptomic, and imaging technologies to define cellular and systemic changes caused by these conditions. Diseases studied include myeloproliferative neoplasms (e.g. Polycythaemia Vera, Essential Thrombocythaemia and Myelofibrosis).
Team members: Cavan Bennett, Indu Raman
The placenta acts as a mediator for communication between the mother and fetus, facilitating the transfer of maternal nutrients, metabolites, immunoglobulins, and oxygen to the developing fetus. It also plays a crucial role in producing hormones that support fetal growth, eliminates fetal waste and carbon dioxide, and, importantly, enables the maternal immune system to tolerate the presence of fetal tissues. As a fetal organ, the delivered placenta represents a unique window into fetal development and metabolism.
We are currently using established histopathology characterisation techniques together with advanced state-of-the-art spatial transcriptomic and imaging approaches to answer questions related to placental development, placental iron biology and transport, placental response to infection (such as Malaria) and inflammation and to evaluate the contribution of placental dysfunction to maternal, fetal and infant outcomes in our trial cohorts.
Team members: Ricardo Ataide, Kate Fielding
Anaemia and undernutrition is very common in low- and middle-income countries, especially in pregnancy and in young children. We are undertaking a program of large randomised controlled trials in rural Bangladesh and Malawi to assess new solutions for anaemia control with the goal of improving maternal and child health, including pregnancy outcomes, maternal wellbeing, infection risk and child growth and development.