Prof Hal Drakesmith

Associate Professor of Immunology, Principal Investigator


Iron is critical for life: too little causes anaemia, stunts growth and causes other health problems; but too much is toxic. Furthermore, iron is essential for the growth of infectious microbes, but also for the immune system that fights infections. Iron levels in the body are controlled by a hormone called hepcidin: hepcidin is to iron what insulin is to glucose. Defects in how we make hepcidin or in how it acts can cause iron deficiency, anaemia or iron-overloading disorders called haemochromatosis and thalassaemia. We work in the lab in Oxford and via collaborators, with patients and children in the UK, Africa and Asia, to study how iron, infection, immunity and anaemia all interact. We aim to generate new treatments for iron-related disorders, and to control iron to boost growth and immunity.


  • Iron deficiency
  • Anaemia
  • Haemochromatosis
  • Thalassaemia
  • Infectious diseases especially malaria