Dr Hal Drakesmith tells us how his work on iron availability can help us fight infections. Iron plays essential biochemical roles in oxygen binding, ATP synthesis and DNA metabolism. It also influences infection outcomes, since pathogens can resist the immune system when iron availability is high, leading to rapid infection. The level of iron available in different tissues is controlled by the small peptide hormone hepcidin. Dr Hal Drakesmith is investigating how hepcidin is modulated during infection to identify new ways of combating infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria and Hepatitis C.