International BioIron Society

IBIS News - Letters from the President

June 2017 Letter from the President

Dear Colleagues,

The Seventh Congress of the International BioIron Society held at the Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles is about a month over. The outstanding and memorable event was one of the peaks of the IBIS Society thanks to the superb organizational job done by the hosts Drs. Ella Nemeth and Tomas Ganz with the help the IBIS Board of Directors (BOD) led by Dr. Robert Fleming and WJ Weiser professional services. The quality of the relatively new UCLA venue and the local services certainly added to the success, but, above all, it was the quality of the scientific work presented that was most refreshing and outstanding, especially by young investigators. BioIron was at its best in virtually all aspects, starting from the educational sessions, to the keynote address, to meet the experts, and both plenary and parallel sessions and posters, that we had perhaps too little time to go over, let alone discuss them with the presenters. As for the Gala Dinner, I have a hard time finding enough superlatives. BioIron 2017 set a new standard that might be hard to surpass, but we shall try!

BioIron meetings are also the occasion for the election of new board members (for a four-year term) and of a president (for a two-year term), starting after the meeting's completion. As past-elect and now IBIS president, I would like to express my deep gratitude to my predecessor Robert Fleming, with whom I had the privilege and joy to work for the last two years on a weekly (and far from weakly) basis, not only on matters related to BioIron meetings, but on major changes that we felt our society has to undergo in both structure and function. Together we have planted seeds which we hope will germinate soon and lead to a scientifically richer society with higher impact and visibility. This is also the time to thank the outgoing members of the BOD — Stefano Rivella, Robert Evans and Ella Nemeth — for their contributions to what culminated in UCLA and to greet the newly elected members — Caroline Philpott, Jodie Babitt, Nathan Subramaniam and president-elect, Martina Muckenthaler — welcome to BOD 2017 – 2019!

The general IBIS assembly held in May 2017 selected Heidelberg, Germany as the venue for BioIron 2019 following the presentation prepared by Martina Muckenthaler and Matthias Hentze, two personalities that don't need introduction to our society. Heidelberg is not only a most beautiful town and the site of the oldest German university, recognized worldwide as an academic center of excellence in both sciences and humanities, but it is also the site of prestigious research institutions. All BioIron 2019 activities will be held in the facilities of the Advanced Training Centre (ATC) of the European Molecular Biology Laboratories (EMBL).

It is a high honor for our society to be hosted by such a prestigious institution and we, the BOD members, pledge to provide Martina and Matthias all the necessary assistance for Bioiron 2019 to reach new heights.

Ioav Cabantchik, MD, PhD
Professor Emeritus
President of IBIS, 2017 – 2019

November 2016 Letter from the President

Dear Colleagues,

The IBIS Board and the local hosts have been busy putting together the BioIron 2017. We have what I believe to be an outstanding program. No doubt there are sessions that fit in well with your work and interests. The plenary topics emphasize recent developments in the roles of iron in neurodegeneration, chronic kidney disease, and ineffective erythropoiesis. We'll have a plenary session celebrating the discovery of the IRE/IRP system 30 years ago and on the advances in intracellular iron metabolism. A special session will be devoted to the development of iron chelation some 50 years ago. The mysteries surrounding the trafficking of heme molecule continue to unravel, and there will be a plenary session devoted this molecule and its centerpiece. Because iron deficiency continues to be a major public health problem worldwide, there will be a plenary session devoted to this pervasive issue-with emphasis on areas receiving more recent attention (e.g., the elderly, organ systems beyond the erythron). Concurrent sessions nearly cover the gamut of current issues in iron biology. I encourage you to join in the interchange by submitting your work. For those of us with writer's block, we can take solace in published company¹ (see attached). And not to worry, as there is nearly a month before the submission deadline of December 15, 2016.

We will take time at BioIron to acknowledge the contributions of the giants of our field, particularly those we have lost in the past year. These include Thomas Bothwell who passed away November 12. Tom's myriad contributions to iron biology are nicely outlined in an article by Patrick MacPhail, available on the IBIS website. Regarding the website, the board recognizes the need for upgrading. Prior to undertaking that expenditure, we wish to ensure we maximize our funds to provide bursaries to attend BioIron. Please encourage trainees in your labs to apply.

Things are coming together nicely for BioIron 2017. The newly constructed Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center at UCLA is now open and our local hosts, Drs. Elizabeta Nemeth and Tomas Ganz have toured it and find it ideal for our purposes. Don't forget that advanced registration offers savings. Please contact me or any of the board members for comments or suggestions.

Robert E. Fleming, MD
Professor, Saint Louis University
President of IBIS

¹Upper, D. J Appl Behav Analysis. 3:497, 1974

May 2016 Letter from the President

Dear Colleagues,

It is now only one year until the Seventh Congress of the International BioIron Society meeting. The IBIS Board has been busily working to prepare our 2017 program. We have outlined what we hope you will agree is an outstanding set of topics on some of the most exciting and timely areas of our field. Our Keynote Speaker will be Dr. Nels Elde who will discuss the fascinating relationship we eukaryotes have had with our prokaryotic "frenemies" in competition for this precious metal. It is clear from looking over the titles of each of the sessions how very far our field has grown, and how our ongoing discoveries have direct applicability to human health.

The meetings will be hosted by Drs. Ella Nemeth and Tomas Ganz at Luskin Conference Center on the Campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. For an understanding of just how new this facility is view this short video.

We believe this facility is ideal for our group and will ensure plenty of opportunity for interactions and discussions in a unified setting. We've been taking steps to make the meeting as affordable as possible, including reduced registration fees for trainee and emeritus status. Needless to say, Southern California has much to offer in terms of entertainment and recreation as well.

We hope you are able to attend, and will suggest the same to friends and collaborators who are new to the field and may not have attended in the past. Meeting registration will open June 20, 2016 and abstract submission will open on July 1, 2016. Keep an eye out for meeting-related emails with links to registration and abstract submission! Also, be sure to register early to receive the discounted meeting rate.

Don't hesitate to contact me or any of the other board members with feedback and suggestions as we move ahead. Please stay tuned for additional details, including the full complement of plenary speakers as they emerge.

I look forward to seeing you in Los Angeles!

Robert E. Fleming, MD
Professor, Saint Louis University
IBIS President

January 2016 Letter from the President

Dear IBIS Member,

Please allow me to follow the IBIS tradition for the newly elected president to outline the aspirations for the society at the start of the New Year. This is an exciting time in the study of iron biology, providing an outstanding opportunity for IBIS to grow and expand. We are well poised to do so, building from a very successful BioIron meeting in Hangzhou, China. The venue at Zhejiang University afforded an opportunity to facilitate interactions with colleagues from an area of the world that has seen a tremendous expansion in biomedical research activity. I’m sure the resulting relationships will serve the membership of IBIS very well into the future. I heard many comments from colleagues impressed by the beautiful setting and appreciative of the generous hospitality of our hosts.

The society owes a debt of gratitude to Immediate Past President Greg Anderson for his efforts in bringing this meeting about. For those who were unable to attend, a synopsis of highlights from the meeting will be available on the IBIS website, and reprints of the abstracts are now available through the American Journal of Hematology. The meeting also saw the election of outstanding group of individuals onto the IBIS Board of Directors. We met in Hangzhou and have held additional discussions to outline what we believe are the greatest priorities for the society moving forward. I will briefly describe here three of these:

  • Expand the membership of the Society, with particular attention to young investigators and those who have only recently interfaced with iron biology.
    • We hope to achieve this goal by increasing the overall visibility of the society to the research community, particularly at related conferences. Your individual efforts in this regard will be very important. As you interact with other researchers in your own work, please inquire whether they have considered membership in IBIS. In particular, encourage participation among investigators new to this field.
  • Add further value to membership in IBIS beyond participation at BioIron meetings.
    • We will be rolling out a redesigned website to provide expanded educational and reference resources useful to the iron research community. We welcome your specific recommendations.
  • Ensure that the BioIron is the premier setting for presenting novel discoveries in iron biology and for positioning young investigators for future successes in this field.
    • Ella Nemeth and Tomas Ganz will be the local organizers of BioIron 2017, to be held at the newly constructed Luskin Convention Center on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. The meeting will be May 7 – 11, 2017. The first day will again be comprised of introductory educational presentations directed primarily at trainees and investigators new to the field. We will work to increase the opportunities throughout the meeting for young investigators to participate in vibrant discussions and interactions with established scientists.

It is my hope that through attention to these areas, the society will continue to advance its stated objective – “To provide a forum for discussion, to promote research and its publication and advance public education on iron chemistry and biology as well as on disorders.” Your input and suggestions are highly encouraged as we move forward.

I wish each of you a prosperous and rewarding New Year, and look forward to seeing you personally in Los Angeles in 2017.

Robert E. Fleming, MD
IBIS President

July 2012 Letter from the President

Dear friends and colleagues,

The tradition is that the president addresses a message to the Society members after the last meeting. I take the opportunity of the New Year to start this message with my best wishes for a prosperous and productive 2012!

As I briefly mentioned during our 4th BioIron Meeting in Vancouver, I see my role as a service for the Society in order to maintain and enforce its mission “To provide a forum for discussion, to promote research and its publication and advance public education on iron chemistry and biology as well as on disorders...

Our young Society has witnessed fascinating advances in iron research that have made all our meetings exciting. Our strength is that IBIS is the “Iron House” for both basic scientists and clinicians and has a strong translational nature. We must be proud of the outstanding findings that IBIS members regularly contribute to the field, continuously resetting the basic iron knowledge that translates into improved clinical applications. In these times of extreme specialization our Society maintains a “global iron culture in biology and medicine.”

I would like to concentrate on two aims: increasing the international character of the Society and implementing young member participation to the Society life.

There is an increasing interest worldwide in iron biology and in the role that iron plays in most clinical disciplines. However, IBIS members are from Europe, the US, Canada, Japan and Australia, whereas scientists/clinicians from other countries are not or are only minimally represented. As members of the international iron scientific community, we have to modify the present situation and take the opportunity of the worldwide interest in iron to start globalizing our Society, or at least our meetings.

Young members represent the future of both iron research and of IBIS. Their active participation at the Vancouver meeting was a great success. Our endeavor will be to facilitate their participation at the next meeting in 2013. In conjunction with the Board of Directors and with the help of the Local Organizing Committee coordinated by Kaila Srai, we will start soon to work on the program for next BioIron meeting that will be held at the beautiful venue of UCL, in the heart of London, April 14 – 18, 2013. The successful structure of the meeting with most contributions from the floor will remain the same, but some novelties are planned. A BioIron Educational Course will take place in the afternoon on Sunday, April 14, which will focus on problems and open questions in iron biology and clinics and work as a broad introduction to the meeting. I hope that PhD students, postdoctoral and residents will attend this event to expand their iron knowledge and vision. In addition we are studying how to favor a tighter interaction between young and senior members during the meeting. As in previous meetings, we plan to release many travel awards to young participants and to open a competition for poster and oral presentation prizes.

These are just some of the reasons to attend the 5th BioIron Meeting! It relies on all of us to contribute the best of our research in order to make the London meeting another cornerstone in the Society history.

Please feel free to send comments and suggestions.

Thank you very much and again have a wonderful 2012.

See you all in London next year.

Clara Camaschella
IBIS President

February 2008 Letter from the President

Dear IBIS Members,

It is our pleasure, on behalf of the IBIS board, to give you an update on our Association.

The BioIron meeting in beautiful Kyoto was highly successful, with large participation of researchers from all over the world, in a charming atmosphere. Some photos of the event, kindly provided by Prof. Y. Kohgo, have been posted on our website.

IBIS is now embarked on the preparation of the forthcoming meeting to be held in Porto, Portugal, 7 – 11 June 2009. Under Dr Graça Porto’s guidance the practical organization is already largely completed, and we foresee a well-organised meeting in a delightful site. The beautiful location and the continued flow of new important data in the field of iron metabolism and of iron-related diseases promise a particularly exciting event.

Special emphasis will be placed on the participation of associations of patients suffering from disorders of iron metabolism. It is clear that patient associations have become indispensable partners in our joint efforts towards a better understanding of diseases, a prerequisite for better care and management.

We would like to ask you to encourage your young scientific and medical colleagues to become IBIS members so that our Society continues to grow in parallel with the amazing developments in the science of BioIron.

We have been working to update and improve our website, and to make it an important tool for the BioIron community. The main function of the website is to provide information about the international BioIron-related news and events. We will use it to keep you informed about the progress in organizing the 2009 meeting. We also hope that it will benefit from your own observations, comments and suggestions for further growth of the iron community.

We are especially happy to take the opportunity to express our collective gratitude to Prof. Yutaka Kohgo for having ensured the great success of the 2007 meeting, to the former IBIS board and to our former IBIS President, Prof. Jerry Kaplan, whose outstanding scientific productivity complements his magnetic personality.

Pierre Brissot, President IBIS
Tomas Ganz, President-Elect IBIS
Paolo Arosio, Secretary IBIS

2006 Letter from the President

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the International BioIron Society (IBIS) it is our great pleasure to invite you to BioIron 2007, which will be held in Kyoto Japan April 1 – 6. 2007. This conference will follow in the tradition of conferences on Iron Storage and Transport Proteins first held in London in 1973 and of meetings held by the International Association for the Study of Iron Disorders, first held in Frankfurt in 1988. The groups that sponsored these meetings have combined their efforts by forming IBIS, which continues to sponsor international meetings that promote research on iron metabolism.

This meeting is the second biennial conference of IBIS, the first conference sponsored by IBIS was BioIron 2005 held in Prague. Similar to BioIron 2005, BioIron 2007 is being held in a particularly spectacular venue, Kyoto Japan during the cheery blossom season. It is our intention that these meetings provide a venue for discussion of the latest advances in understanding the mechanisms of iron uptake and storage, in understanding how altered or malregulated iron metabolism leads to disease and in identifying new and improved therapies for iron-related disorders.

We hope that new discoveries will be shared and that outstanding problems in the field will be discussed. It is our goal that this meeting will be a “magnet” for advancement of knowledge about the biological and medical roles of iron. To accomplish this goal we plan that many of the platform talks will be chosen from the abstracts to ensure that the latest research is included in the program.

We hope that you will join us in Kyoto for BioIron 2007.

Jerry Kaplan President IBIS

Pierre Brissot Vice President IBIS

2005 Letter from the President

Dear Colleagues:

It is with both a sense of honor and some trepidation that I submit my first President’s Letter. I am honored to have this opportunity to communicate with you as President of the International BioIron Society (IBIS), a society whose research focus is on iron, a topic to which I have devoted much of my scientific career. The trepidation comes from attempting to meet the high standard established by Antonello Pietrangelo, the first president of our society. Isaac Newton is reported to have said that “a dwarf can see further than a giant, if he stands on a giant’s shoulders.” Antonello was the founding father of IBIS and the society was started in large part because of his enthusiasm and dedication. IBIS and I owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.

Along the same vein, many thanks are due to Prem Ponka. Under his guidance, this was the first BIOIRON meeting convened under the authority of IBIS. BIOIRON 2005 was held in Prague this spring and was an enormous success. Both the science and the city were wonderful. Myself, and others, can attest to the extraordinary effort that Prem and his co-chair Kostas Pontopoulos expended to make this a successful meeting. This was the largest BioIron meeting ever held.

The Society also owes a great debt of gratitude to the sponsors of the meeting, which include: Novartis, the National Institute of Health (US), the Center for Disease Control (US), the Diamond-Blackfan Foundation, Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, ApoPharma, Iron Disorders Institute, Vifor AG Roche Diagnostics GMBH, Sigma-Aldrichs Co., Xenon Pharmaceuticals, EMBO, Vienna Labordiagnostika GMBH, Biochemical Journal. Thanks are also owed the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) for their support for speakers to attend this meeting. Finally, we gratefully acknowledge the Guarant Corporation and, in particular, Kristina Pichanicova, for their efforts in organizing BIOIRON 2005.

Several awards were given at this meeting. The award for the Best Young Scientist, referred to as the President’s Award, went to Dr. Barry Paw for his study that identified a mutation in a mitochondrial transporter as being responsible for microcytic anemia in a mutant zebrafish. This award was graciously provided by Novartis and included an honorarium for $5,000.

An award for the Best Poster in Basic Science was graciously funded by the Biochemical Journal and included an honorarium of $500. This award went to J. H. Cheah, who presented a poster entitled “Dexras 1 regulates transferring-mediated iron trafficking in the brain.”

IBIS also presented an award of $500 for the Best Poster in Clinical Science, which went to Martin Delatycki for a poster entitled “The Healthiron Study: Results from a Pilot Study of Modifiers of HFE.”

The Marcel Simon Award ($1,500) was given to three individuals in recognition of their discovery of hepdicin: Drs. Tomas Ganz, Sophie Vaulont and Olivier Loreal. This award was funded by The Margrit Krikker, M.D. Endowment Fund.

Dr. Margrit Krikker was a strong supporter of the BioIron community as part of her efforts to affect a cure and raise public consciousness about Hemochromatosis. In the past, Dr. Krikker provided financial support for the Marcel Simon Award. Dr. Krikker passed away this year, graciously leaving the majority of her estate to IBIS. Currently, the estate has provided $150,000 and there is an expectation of more support when the estate is finally settled. With the consent of the IBIS Board, the $150,000 has been invested in short-term U.S. Certificates of Deposit (CD’s). These CDs are currently yielding about 3.5% and are completely insured so that they are risk-free. (Thankfully, so I don’t have to have sleepless nights).

Dr. Krikker’s Will has several stipulations. One is that the endowment be used to provide $1,500 to the Marcel Simon Award, which is given every other year. The award will now read “The Marcel Simon Award funded by ‘The Margrit Krikker, M.D. Endowment Fund.’” (Dr. Krikker’s first name on many official documents is Margaret but she was also known as Margrit. In her will she stipulated use of the name Margrit for the endowments).

A second stipulation is that every other year grant(s) of up to $5,000 be expended for research. The exact number of grants will be determined by the IBIS Board based on financial returns from the investment of the endowment. The grants will be known as research grants awarded from the “The Margrit Krikker, M.D. Endowment Fund”. The Board and I would like to solicit suggestions as to how we can meet that obligation in the most effective way.

I would also like to thank the departing members of the IBIS Board for their service. These individuals were responsible for helping to make the Prague meeting a success, but perhaps even more enduring, they were responsible for starting and formalizing the BioIron Society.

New members of the board include:
Pierre Brissot, President-Elect
Robert Fleming
Kathryn Robson
Graça Porto

Dr. Yukata Kogho is an Ex-Officio Board Member. Dr. Kogho is head of the local organizing committee for BIOIRON 2007, which will be held Kyoto, Japan, from April 1 – 6, 2007.

The new members of the IBIS Board continue the tradition of both basic and clinical science, reflecting the international nature of IBIS.


Jerry Kaplan, Ph.D.
President, IBIS

2004 Letter from the President

Antonello Pietrangelo, MD, PhD

Dear Members,

A short note to report on recent activities of IBIS. Our society is growing fast and gathering more and more interest not only from individual scientists and physicians, but also from other societies, health organizations and biomedical companies. The number of IBIS members is steadily increasing, and is now 358. This is an extremely important achievement, but we should not stop there… It is important that each one of us become an IBIS promoter and bring in our society all colleagues and investigators interested in various aspects of iron metabolism and diseases.

BIOIRON 2005: The next IBIS meeting, BIOIRON 2005, will be held in Prague, May 22 – 27. Headquarter will be the Prague Hilton Hotel. You should be now receiving the announcement from Prem Ponka, chairman of the conference. As promised, there will be a special reduced fee for IBIS members attending the 2005 Prague meeting. Dr. Ponka has been working very hard to set up a very attractive program in a fascinating historical setting in the heart of Europe. Please visit the meeting website at for more information. I’m sure we will all enjoy an unforgettable meeting. I’m particularly pleased to also announce that 20 IBIS bursaries covering full accommodation and registration will be granted to selected IBIS trainee members presenting an abstract at the meeting. In addition, a Presidential IBIS travel award will be granted to the best oral presentation… and more to be announced… I remind you that in order to take advantage of all these benefits, good standing with IBIS membership fees will be required for both regular and trainee members. So, check your membership status and if for any reasons you forgot to renew your membership, do it now.

In Prague, election of IBIS board members will also take place. A new president-elect and three new directors will be voted. Members are entitled to nominate themselves or other IBIS members to the different positions available. You can send your nomination by email to A ballot will be prepared and sent to all members prior to the Prague meeting. As we did in 2003, election will take place at the meeting but email votes will also be accepted from non-attending members (in case there will be any...). You will have further information from me on this issue in due time.

The IBIS web page is fully established and maintained through Weiser under the supervision of Greg Anderson. It has been recently improved and we are very proud that the IBIS web site gets thousands of hits per month. It should represent a bonus for members as it has an area restricted to IBIS members. We should all take advantage of this easily accessible tool that facilitates the exchange of news and the interaction between members. As you know, we have implemented the Email Forum Discussion, an important place to exchange ideas, information and, we hope, collaborations among members. IBISNET is fully in place and right now an important discussion on iron gene nomenclature is taking place.

As to the economical situation of IBIS, the closing balance of the Washington BIOIRON 2003 meeting has been extremely positive and because of this and the membership fee input, the present IBIS financial status is definitely satisfactory. This allows us to look very optimistically to the future. You will be updated in Prague by our treasurer, Bob Hider, on IBIS budgets and finances. Once more, we must be grateful to the excellent work done by Tracey Rouault and Victor Gordeuk, chairpersons of the Washington 2003 meeting. We foresee a great scientific success for the 2005 Prague meeting under the chairship of Prem Ponka, and this will also help consolidate our finances and secure our future. Special attention is now being paid to relationships with commercial sponsors and biomedical industries to commit them to our meetings and society’s activities without renouncing our nature and mission. Also, private entities are clearly showing their interest in IBIS and, in this respect, I will hopefully update you very soon with important developments for our society.

At the end, as always, let me remind you that all members should feel free to contact me or any other member of the Board directly or through the IBIS web site. I look forward to your active participation in IBIS activities.

See you all in Prague!

Antonello Pietrangelo, IBIS President

Page Last Modified: 6/7/2017 3:22:23 PM