Martina Muckenthaler, Ph.D.


Professor of Molecular Medicine

University of Heidelberg, Department of Paediatric Oncology, Haematology and Immunology

Head of Molecular Medicine

Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit Group Leader


Heidelberg University Hospital

Im Neuenheimer Feld 350
69120 Heidelberg

Tel.:+49 (0) 6221 56-6923

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Research Interests:



Opens internal link in current windowShort CV
Opens internal link in current windowProjects
Opens internal link in current windowTeam
Opens internal link in current windowSelected Publications



Curriculum Vitae

1984-1989Study of Biology at the University of Regensburg and the Technical University of Munich
1989-1990 London Hospital Medical College, London, Great Britain (MSc project) 
1990-1994PhD at the University of Oxford, Great BritainJohann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt (PhD defense)
1994-2001Postdoctoral Fellow, EMBL, Heidelberg  
2002-2003Staff Scientist, EMBL, Heidelberg 
2004Professor of Molecular Medicine
2005Head of the post-doctoral excellence program of the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg
2006Group Leader, University of Heidelberg / EMBL Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU)
2008  Equal opportunity representative of the University of Heidelberg
2009Director of the Bioiron society
2010Group Leader Cell Network Excellence Cluster          
Since 2012Prinicpal Investigator of the Translational Lung Research Center Heidelberg (TLRC) and the German Center for Lung Research (DZL)

Honours & Awards

1994EMBO longterm fellowship
2000Fondbroker Förderpreis "The best idea" (2000)
2005Member of the editorial board of the Journal of Molecular medicine and Biochemical Journal        
2007Margrit Krikker Award 2007 by the International Bioiron Society in Kyoto     
2009Elected director of the Bioiron Society
2012Committee Member of the European Hematology Association (EHA)
2012Scientific Committee on Iron and Heme of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)


My research focuses on iron metabolism and its disturbances in human disease. My major aim is to understand the regulatory circuitry underlying systemic iron homeostasis. We concentrate on the iron hormone hepcidin and its regulatory “target receptor” ferroportin. Since both the excess of hepcidin (leading to anemia) and its deficiency (causing iron overload) must be prevented, a central goal of our work is to decipher the control of hepcidin expression employing network/systems-based analyses by integrating transcriptomic and proteomic analyses, mouse models and genome-wide siRNA screens.


Post-doctoral fellows

Dr. Sandro Altamura

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Dr. Flavia D'Alessio

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Dr. Christoph Metzendorf

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Dr. Katarzyna Mleczko-Sanecka

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Dr. Francesca Vinchi

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PhD students

Milene Costa da Silva

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Ana Rita da Silva

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Claudia Guida

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Joana Neves

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Kamesh Rajendra Babu

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Technical Assistants

Regina Kessler

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Richard Sparla

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Selected Publications

  1. Muckenthaler M, Gray NK, Hentze MW: IRP-1 binding to ferritin mRNA prevents the recruitment of the small ribosomal subunit by the cap-binding complex eIF4F. Mol Cell 1998, 2(3):383-388
  2. Muckenthaler M, Roy CN, Custodio AO, Minana B, deGraaf J, Montross LK, Andrews NC, Hentze MW: Regulatory defects in liver and intestine implicate abnormal hepcidin and Cybrd1 expression in mouse hemochromatosis. Nat Genet 2003, 34(1):102-107.
  3. Hentze MW, Muckenthaler MU, Andrews NC: Balancing acts: molecular control of mammalian iron metabolism. Cell 2004, 117(3):285-297.
  4. Roy CN, Custodio AO, de Graaf J, Schneider S, Akpan I, Montross LK, Sanchez M, Gaudino A, Hentze MW, Andrews NC, Muckenthaler MU: An Hfe-dependent pathway mediates hyposideremia in response to lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in mice. Nat Genet 2004, 36(5):481-485.
  5. Ludwiczek S, Theurl I, Muckenthaler MU, Jakab M, Mair SM, Theurl M, Kiss J, Paulmichl M, Hentze MW, Ritter M, Weiss G: Ca2+ channel blockers reverse iron overload by a new mechanism via divalent metal transporter-1. Nat Med 2007, 13(4):448-454.
  6. Sanchez M, Galy B, , Hentze MW, Muckenthaler MU: Iron-regulatory proteins limit hypoxia-inducible factor-2alpha expression in iron deficiency. Nat Struct Mol Biol 2007, 14(5):420-426.
  7. Braliou GG, Verga Falzacappa MV, Chachami G, Casanovas G, Muckenthaler MU, Simos G: 2-Oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases control hepcidin gene expression. J Hepatol 2008, 48(5):801-810.
  8. Muckenthaler MU: Fine tuning of hepcidin expression by positive and negative regulators. Cell Metab 2008, 8(1):1-3.
  9. Vujic Spasic M, Kiss J, Herrmann T, Galy B, Martinache S, Stolte J, Grone HJ, Stremmel W, Hentze MW, Muckenthaler MU: Hfe acts in hepatocytes to prevent hemochromatosis. Cell Metab 2008, 7(2):173-178.
  10. Hentze MW, Muckenthaler MU, Galy B, Camaschella C: Two to tango: regulation of Mammalian iron metabolism. Cell 2010, 142(1):24-38.
  11. Mleczko-Sanecka K, Casanovas G, Ragab A, Breitkopf K, Muller A, Boutros M, Dooley S, Hentze MW, Muckenthaler MU: SMAD7 controls iron metabolism as a potent inhibitor of hepcidin expression. Blood 2010, 115(13):2657-2665.
  12. Castoldi M, Vujic Spasic M, Altamura S, Elmen J, Lindow M, Kiss J, Stolte J, Sparla R, D'Alessandro LA, Klingmuller U, Fleming RE, Longerich T, Grone HJ, Benes V, Kauppinen S, Hentze MW, Muckenthaler MU: The liver-specific microrna mir-122 controls systemic iron homeostasis in mice. J Clin Invest 2011;121:1386-1396
  13. Sanchez M, Galy B, Schwanhaeusser B, Blake J, Bahr-Ivacevic T, Benes V, Selbach M, Muckenthaler MU, Hentze MW: Iron regulatory protein-1 and -2: Transcriptome-wide definition of binding mrnas and shaping of the cellular proteome by iron regulatory proteins. Blood 2011;118:e168-179.
  14. D'Alessio F, Hentze MW, Muckenthaler MU: Opens external link in new windowThe hemochromatosis proteins hfe, tfr2 and hjv form a membrane-associated protein complex For hepcidin regulation. J Hepatol. 2012 Jun 21.
  15. Benesova K, Vujić Spasić M, Schaefer SM, Stolte J, Baehr-Ivacevic T, Waldow K, Zhou Z, Klingmueller U, Benes V, Mall MA, Muckenthaler MU: Opens external link in new windowHfe deficiency impairs pulmonary neutrophil recruitment in response to inflammation. PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39363.