Gregory Connell

Associate Professor
Faculty, MS and PhD Programs in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (MPaT)


Greg Connell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology. He received a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia in 1990 where his work identified photoreceptor peripherin as a protein that can cause retinitis pigmentosa when defective. He did postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado at Boulder with a focus on the interaction of amino acids with RNA, which has relevance to the origins of the genetic code. He also did postdoctoral work at the University of California at Los Angeles studying a type of RNA editing that occurs within the trypanosome parasites. He joined the University of Minnesota in 1996.

Research Summary

The Connell Lab studies mechanisms of mammalian iron homeostasis during health and disease. The redox potential and coordination chemistry of iron in aqueous solution is exploited within a wide cross-section of biochemistry, including respiration, the synthesis of deoxyribonucleotides and the transport of oxygen. However, some of the same properties of aqueous iron that make it so valuable can also result in the generation of free radicals that are toxic to the body. As a result, mechanisms have evolved to precisely regulate both the organismal and intracellular iron concentration. Understanding these mechanisms is highly relevant to the development of novel drugs for the treatment of a wide range of pathologies in which iron homeostasis has been perturbed. The transferrin receptor (TfR1) is the primary means of iron importation for most proliferating mammalian cells, and its expression is mostly controlled through the regulation of its mRNA stability. Our recent work identified Roquin as the major mediator of the TfR1 mRNA degradation, and we are currently developing pharmacological approaches to alter its expression for the treatment of several blood disorders including some cancers.




3-126 Nils Hasselmo Hall
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0215