Knutson, Mitchell D., Ph.D.

knutson 175x202Professor

Contact Information

572 Newell Dr.
FSHN Building
Room 459
P.O. Box 110370
Gainesville, FL 32611-0370

Phone: 352.392.1991 ext. 204


  • Post. Doc. Harvard School of Public Health; Molecular Biology, 2003
  • Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley; Nutrition, 1998
  • B.S. Iowa State University; Biochemistry, 1992

Research Interests

The Knutson lab focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms of iron transport and homeostasis. Disturbances of iron metabolism represent some of the most common disorders affecting humans. Iron deficiency, for example, affects an estimated 2 billion individuals worldwide, mainly women and children in the developing world. In the US, roughly 1 in 5 women of reproductive age have iron deficiency, which is often associated with anemia. On the other hand, having too much iron (i.e., iron overload) is increasingly being recognized as a public health concern. Iron overload most commonly results if one has a genetic disorder (called hemochromatosis) or if one receives repeated blood transfusions, such as in the disease beta thalassemia. An estimated 1 in 200 individuals of Northern European descent are at genetic risk for developing hemochromatosis.

Despite the prevalence of iron disorders and their negative effects on health, our understanding of how iron is taken up into cells at the molecular level is far from complete. Therefore, the Knutson lab focuses on identifying and characterizing iron transport proteins at the molecular, cellular, and physiologic levels. This research will also help to identify therapeutic targets for treating disorders of iron metabolism.

Classes Taught


HUN 4221 Nutrition and Metabolism


HUN 6331 Vitamins in Human Nutrition


  • University of Florida, Jack Wessel Excellence Award for Assistant Professors, 2009
  • International Life Sciences Institute, Future Leaders Award, 2009
  • Gamma Sigma Delta, the Honor Society of Agriculture, Elected member, 2007
  • University of Florida, Outstanding Mentor Award, University Scholars Program, 2004
  • University of California at Berkeley, Ellsworth C. Dougherty Memorial Prize,
    Dept. of Nutrition, 1998
  • University of California at Berkeley, George M. Briggs Memorial Award, Dept. of Nutrition, 1997

Recent Publications

Guo X, Zhang Z, Zhang F, Tao Y, An P, Wu Q, Wang CY, Knutson MD, Wang F. Fine-Mapping and Genetic Analysis of the Loci Affecting Hepatic Iron Overload in Mice. PLoS One.2013 May 10; 8(5):e63280.

Wang CY, Knutson MD. Hepatocyte divalent metal-ion transporter-1 is dispensable for hepatic iron accumulation and non-transferrin-bound iron uptake in mice. Hepatology. 2013; 58(2):788-98.

Nam H, Wang CY, Zhang L, Zhang W, Hojyo S, Fukada T, and Knutson M. ZIP14 and DMT1 in the liver, pancreas, and heart are differentially regulated by iron deficiency and overload: implications for tissue iron uptake in iron-related disorders. Haematologica. 2013; 98(7):1049-57.

Wang CW, Jenkitkasemwong S, Duarte S, Sparkman B, Shawki A, Mackenzie B, Knutson MD. ZIP8 is an iron and zinc transporter whose cell-surface expression is upregulated by cellular iron loading. J Biol Chem. 2012; 287(41); 34032-34043.

Xu J, Jia Z, Knutson MD, Leewenburgh C. Impaired Iron Status in Aging Research. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13, 2368-2386.

Jenkitkasemwong S, Wang CY, Mackenzie B, Knutson MD. Physiologic implications of metal-ion transport by ZIP14 and ZIP8. Biometals. 2012; 25(4):643-55.

Xu J, Hwang JC, Lees HA, Wohlgemuth SE, Knutson MD, Judge AR, Dupont-Versteegden EE, Marzetti E, Leeuwenburgh C. Long-term perturbation of muscle iron homeostasis following hind limb suspension in old rats is associated with high levels of oxidative stress and impaired recovery from atrophy. Exp Gerontol. 2012; 47(1):100-8.

Nam H, Knutson MD. Effect of dietary iron deficiency and overload on the expression of ZIP metal-ion transporters in rat liver. Biometals. 2012; 25(1):115-24.

Zhang Z, Zhang F, An P, Guo X, Shen Y, Tao Y, Wu Q, Zhang Y, Yu Y, Ning B, Nie G, Knutson MD, Anderson GJ, Wang F.Ferroportin1 deficiency in mouse macrophages impairs iron homeostasis and inflammatory responses. Blood. 2011; 118(7):1912-22.

Pinilla-Tenas JJ, Sparkman BK, Shawki A, Illing AC, Mitchell CJ, Zhao N, Liuzzi JP, Cousins RJ, Knutson MD, Mackenzie B.Zip14 is a complex broad-scope metal-ion transporter whose functional properties support roles in the cellular uptake of zinc and nontransferrin-bound iron. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011; 301(4):C862-71.

Zhao N, Gao J, Enns CA, Knutson MD. ZRT/IRT-like protein 14 (ZIP14) promotes the cellular assimilation of iron from transferrin. J Biol Chem. 2010; 85(42):32141-50.

Knutson MD. Iron-Sensing Proteins that Regulate Hepcidin and Enteric Iron Absorption. Annu Rev Nutr. 2010; 30:149-71.

Collins JF, Prohaska JR, Knutson MD. Metabolic crossroads of iron and copper. Nutr Rev. 2010; 68:133-47.

Jenkitkasemwong S, Broderius M, Nam H, Prohaska JR, Knutson MD. Anemic copper-deficient rats, but not mice, display low hepcidin expression and high ferroportin levels. J Nutr. 2010; 140:723-30.

Hansen SL, Ashwell MS, Moeser AJ, Fry RS, Knutson MD, Spears JW. High dietary iron reduces transporters involved in iron and manganese metabolism and increases intestinal permeability in calves. J Dairy Sci. 2010; 93:656-65.

Koeppen AH, Morral JA, Davis AN, Qian J, Petrocine SV, Knutson MD, Gibson WM, Cusack MJ, Li D. The dorsal root ganglion in Friedreich’s ataxia. Acta Neuropathol. 2009; 118:763-76.

Hepburn JJ, Arthington JD, Hansen SL, Spears JW, Knutson MD. Technical note: copper chaperone for copper, zinc superoxide dismutase: a potential biomarker for copper status in cattle. J Anim Sci. 2009; 87:4161-6.

Genter MB, Kendig EL, Knutson MD. Uptake of materials from the nasal cavity into the blood and brain: Are we finally beginning to understand these processes at the molecular level? Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008; 1170:623-8.

Knutson MD. Into the matrix: Regulation of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin by matriptase-2. Nutr Rev. 2009; 67:284-8.

Andriopoulos B, CorradiniE, XiaY, FaasseSA, Chen S, GrgurevicL, Knutson MD, Pietrangelo A, Vukicevic S, LinHY, Babitt JL.BMP6 is a key endogenous regulator of hepcidin expression and iron metabolism. Nat Genet. 2009; 41(4):482-7.

Aydemir F, Jenkitkasemwong S, Gulec S, Knutson MD. Iron loading increases ferroportin heterogeneous nuclear RNA and mRNA levels in murine J774 macrophages. J Nutr.2009; 139(3):434-8.

Collins JF, Wessling-Resnick M, Knutson MD. Hepcidin regulation of iron transport. J Nutr. 2008; 138(11):2284-8.

Seo AY, Xu J, Servais S, Hofer T, Marzetti E, Wohlgemuth, Knutson MD, Chung HY, Leeuwenburgh. Mitochondrial iron accumulation with age and functional consequences. Aging Cell. 2008; (5):706-16.

Knutson MD, Leeuwenburgh C. Resveratrol and novel potent activators of SIRT1: effects on aging and age-related diseases. Nutr Rev. 2008; 66(10):591-6.

Xu J, Knutson MD, Carter CS, and Leeuwenburgh C. Iron accumulation with age, oxidative stress and functional decline. PLoS ONE. 2008; 3(8):e2865.

Gao J, Zhao N, Knutson MD, Enns C. HFE inhibits iron uptake via downregulation of Zip14 in HepG2 cells. J Biol Chem.2008; 283(31):21462-8

King SM, Donangelo CM, Knutson MD, Walter PB, Ames BN, Viteri FE, King JC. Daily supplementation with iron increases lipid peroxidation in young women with low iron stores. Exp Biol Med. 2008; 233(6):701-707.

Hofer TH, Marzetti E, Xu J, Seo A, Knutson MD, Leeuwenburgh C, Dupont-Versteegden EE. Increased iron and RNA oxidative damage in skeletal muscle with aging and disuse atrophy. Exp Gerontol. 2008; 43(6):563-70.

Book Chapters:

Hofer T, Marzetti E, Seo AY, Xu J, Knutson MD, Leeuwenburgh C. Mechanisms of iron regulation and oxidative stress in sarcopenia and neurodegenerative diseases. In Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine. (Gutiérrez-Merino C and Leeuwenburgh C, eds.) Research Signpost, T.C., Kerala, India, 2008.

Knutson MD, Handelman GJ, Viteri FE. Methods for measuring ethane and pentane in expired air from rats and humans. In Bio-Assays for Oxidative Stress Status (BOSS)(Pryor WA, ed.) Elsevier, Amsterdam. 74-79, 2001.

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