Hamza Laboratory Research Team
Professor, Pediatrics, Microbiology and Immunology, Center for Blood Oxygen Transport and Hemostasis, UMSOM;
Joint Appointment: University of Maryland College Park, Animal and Avian Sciences, Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics.
Areas of specialty
Genetics and Genomics of Heme Trafficking in Iron Metabolism and Anemia; Host-Pathogen Interactions; Chemical Genetics
Lab site: https://hamza.umd.edu/
I am a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the Center for Blood Oxygen Transport and Hemostasis. The long-term objectives of my research program are to identify the genes and pathways responsible for heme transport and trafficking in eukaryotes which have remained poorly understood.
At the University of Maryland, I deliberately set out to uncover heme trafficking pathways in eukaryotes – which were unknown at the time. Our pioneering work with the invertebrate animal model C. elegans demonstrated that this roundworm is exceptional because it does not synthesize heme but rather utilizes environmental heme to manufacture heme-containing proteins, which have human homologs [PNAS 2005]. Using the worm model, my research group identified the first eukaryotic heme importer/transporter (HRG-1) which is conserved in zebrafish and humans [Nature 2008; Cell Metabolism 2013; eLife 2019; Nature 2022].
More recently, my group uncovered how heme is exported from the intestine to other tissues including the embryos by HRG-3 and ABCC5/MRP5 [Cell 2011; Cell Metabolism 2014], and how organs communicate with each other [Nature Cell Biology 2017]. Our studies not only identified homologs of heme trafficking machinery in humans but also in parasites such as hookworms, filarial worms, and Leishmania, which all rely on host heme for survival [Infect Immun 2006, PLoS NTD. 2009; PLoS Path. 2012].
Oct 2022: Andrew, Audrey, Jonathan, Indira, Sandeepan, Ran, Iqbal, Sohini, Melissa, Aidan, Xuedi, Xiaojing