HCS 2018 Speaker Profiles

Check back for more coming profiles of our 2018 speakers!

Jin-Zhang.jpgMarianne Wessling-Resnick is Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research program largely focuses on mineral metabolism and in particular, genetic disorders of iron metabolism.  Dr. Wessling-Resnick’s studies have elucidated the role of iron deficiency and overload in the regulation of iron and manganese uptake by the intestinal, pulmonary and olfactory pathways.  Using animal models, her work has defined the function of the iron importer divalent metal transporter-1 and the iron exporter ferroportin to characterize “iron-responsive manganese uptake”. Through these efforts, the pharmacokinetics of pulmonary manganese and iron uptake from the lungs to the blood have been established, and this research has revealed the effects of high iron diet as well as the effects of iron deficiency due to diet and phlebotomy on these pathways.  A major finding has been that iron deficiency promotes manganese absorption across the olfactory tract directly into the brain. Studies of flatiron mice, a genetic model of “ferroportin disease”, have demonstrated ferroportin mediates manganese uptake across the intestinal epithelium. In a companion investigation, her laboratory also studied a different model of hereditary hemochromatosis, the hfe-knockout mouse, to show that decreased expression of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin upregulates intestinal manganese absorption. These combined investigations have identified a role for hepcidin in manganese metabolism to uncover the molecular basis for iron-responsive manganese uptake.