The Seo research group is interested in discovering novel and fundamental insights related to iron and manganese biology, related genetic, metabolic, and neurological disorders.
Iron and manganese are essential nutrients for our life. Disturbances of iron and manganese metabolism, caused by genetics, dietary, or environmental factors, can have detrimental impacts on human health. Iron deficiency, for example, is the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies in the world, affecting an estimated 2 billion individuals, mainly young children and women. In contrast, having too much iron (i.e., iron overload) is increasingly being recognized a public health concern. Hemochromatosis is a frequent genetic disorder characterized by the accumulation of excess iron across tissues. Untreated hemochromatosis can be fatal due to organ failures. As many as 1 in 200 Americans are at genetic risk for developing hemochromatosis. While manganese deficiency can result in distinct neurodevelopmental conditions, manganese toxicity can lead to brain manganese accumulation and a parkinsonian-like disorder.
Despite the prevalence and adverse health effects associated with iron and manganese related disorders, our understanding of how iron and manganese are regulated at the molecular level is limited. The Seo lab focuses on identifying and characterizing the roles of iron and manganese in related disorders at the molecular, cellular, and physiologic levels. This research will ultimately help to identify therapeutic targets for treating disorders related to iron and manganese metabolism.