Published January 4, 2012
Ryan McCarthy, a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Biochemistry, won a travel grant to present a podium talk at the Fourth International Workshop on Iron and Copper Homeostasis.
He also contributed an article on his research to a special issue of BioMetals devoted to proceedings of the meeting, held Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in Pucón, Chile. The issue will be published in April 2012.
McCarthy received the travel grant from the National Science Foundation with the assistance of Michael Garrick, PhD, professor of biochemistry, who co-chaired the workshop and was a member of its organizing committee.
McCarthy researches the pathways that modulate iron’s entry into the brain and thereby maintain brain-iron homeostasis.
He works with an in vitro model of the barrier that separates the blood in brain capillaries from the cells and interstitial fluid in the central nervous system.
“Iron in the brain is a two-edged sword,” explains McCarthy, a student in the laboratory of biochemistry professor Daniel Kosman, PhD. “Given the brain’s high oxidative activity, it requires a significant amount of iron, yet the mineral exhibits a redox chemistry that makes it a very serious toxin to all aerobic cells.”