John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair

School of Clinical Medicine



In this section


Ruma Raha-Chowdhury

Scientific Advisor, Department of  Clinical Neuroscience

Associate Director of Graduate Studies

E mail: rr224@

Research Interests

Iron homeostasis, Bone morphogenesis proteins, Role of iron in cellular proliferation and differentiation, Ageing, Inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases.

My main interest is in brain iron homeostasis, its role in normal ageing, neuronal inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases.

Abnormalities in brain iron metabolism have been found in a wide spectrum of neurodegenerative disorders. These include PD where localised regional increases in iron levels have been found in the basal ganglia and in the cortex in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Excess iron, as well as copper and aluminium, has been reported to be located in the widely distributed in amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). Hepcidin is a regulatory hormone playing a key role in whole body iron homeostasis. Hepcidin inhibits the cellular efflux of iron by binding to and inducing the degradation of an iron exporter Ferroportin (FPN) in


iron-transporting cells.  An impairment of FPN and hepcidin could be the mechanistic link between Iron and neurodegeneration (Raha et al, 2013).

We have identified the importance of a family of inhibitory guidance molecules regulated by iron and Bone morphogenesis proteins (BMPs) in iron homeostasis. These provide the critical element for growth, proliferation and survival while preventing the toxicity of excess iron.

My main role is to teach molecular biology to Neuroscience PhD students through seminars and practical workshops.


  • Prof. James Fawcett, Cambridge
  • Dr. Shahid Zaman, Cambridge
  • Prof. Tony Holland, Cambridge
  • Dr Jonathan Powell, Cambridge
  • Dr. Dr Dora Pereira, Cambridge
  • Dr. Adrian Bomford, London
  • Dr Sigvard Olsson, Sweden
  • Prof. Jeffery Gruen, Yale, USA
  • Prof. Sherman M Weissman, Yale, USA
  • Prof. Robert Friedland, Kentucky, USA


Key Publications

Raha AA, Vaishnav RA, Friedland RP, Bomford A, Raha-Chowdhury R. (2013 ) The systemic iron-regulatory proteins hepcidin and ferroportin are reduced in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Neuropathologica Communications 1:55

Olsson KS, Konar J, Dufva IH, Ricksten A, Raha-Chowdhury R. (2011) Was the C282Y mutation an Irish Gaelic mutation that the Vikings helped disseminate? HLA haplotype observations of hemochromatosis from the west coast of Sweden. Eur J Haematol. 2011 Jan;86(1):75-82.

Olsson K Sigvard; Ritter Bernd; Raha-Chowdhury Ruma (2010)  HLA-A3-B14 and the origin of the haemochromatosis C282Y mutation: founder effects and recombination events during 12 generations in a Scandinavian family with major iron overload. European Journal of Haematology ;84(2):145-53.

Zhao Jing-Wei; Raha-Chowdhury Ruma; Fawcett James W; Watts Colin (2009)  Astrocytes and oligodendrocytes can be generated from NG2+ progenitors after acute brain injury: intracellular localization of oligodendrocyte transcription factor 2 is associated with their fate choice. The European Journal of Neuroscience  29(9):1853-69.

Barraud Perrine; He Xiaoling; Zhao Chao; Ibanez Chrystelle; Raha-Chowdhury Ruma; Caldwell Maeve A; Franklin Robin J M (2007) Contrasting effects of basic fibroblast growth factor and epidermal growth factor on mouse neonatal olfactory mucosa cells. The European Journal of Neuroscience  26(12):3345-57.

Raha-Chowdhury Ruma; Andrews Simon R; Gruen Jeffrey R (2005) CAT 53: a protein phosphatase 1 nuclear targeting subunit encoded in the MHC Class I region strongly expressed in regions of the brain involved in memory, learning, and Alzheimer’s disease. Molecular Brain Research 138(1):70-83.

Michell AW, Raha SK , Barker RA, Raha-Chowdhury R (2005) “A case of late onset sporadic Parkinson’s Disease with an A53T mutation in α-synuclein” JNNP , 76:96-597 ·

Raha-Chowdhury R, Gruen R (2000) “Localisation, allelic heterogeneity, and origin of the hemochromatosis gene”.  In: Haemochromatosis, Genetics pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment, edited by Barton and Edwards, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K    Chapter 7:75-90

Goei V L; Choi J; Ahn J; Bowlus C L; Raha-Chowdhury R; Gruen J R ( 1998) Human gamma-aminobutyric acid B receptor gene: complementary DNA cloning, expression, chromosomal location, and genomic organization. : Biological Psychiatry 44(8):659-66.

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