Thomas Bastian, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor,Department of Pediatrics

E-MAIL: [email protected]

Research Interests:

Research in the Bastian Lab focuses on uncovering the cellular/molecular mechanisms by which specific nutrients regulate brain development. We have a particular interest in metabolic interactions among micronutrients (e.g., iron, iodine, copper, and zinc) and metabolic regulators (e.g., thyroid hormone), which are directly involved in cellular energy metabolism in the developing brain. Our goal is to understand how these interactions contribute to proper brain development. We use primary neuron culture and in vivo transgenic approaches to manipulate cellular levels of micronutrients (and other metabolic pathways) in developing brain cells, allowing us to study interactions between cellular metabolic processes that are critical for neurodevelopment. This line of research is also clinically relevant as early-life micronutrient deficiencies are common and cause abnormal neurodevelopment in humans.

Currently, our main research focus is on how early-life iron deficiency and subsequent iron repletion alter mitochondrial energy metabolism in developing neurons and how this contributes to the neurobehavioral deficits that persist into adulthood.


  • Bastian TW, von Hohenberg WC, Kaus OR, Lanier LM, Georgieff MK. Choline supplementation partially restores dendrite structural complexity in developing iron-deficient mouse hippocampal neurons. J Nutr. 2021 Dec 27:nxab429. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxab429.
  • Bastian TW, Rao R, Tran PV, Georgieff MK. The effects of early-life iron deficiency on brain energy metabolism. Neurosci Insights. 2020 Jun 29;15:2633105520935104.
  • Bastian TW. Potential mechanisms driving mitochondrial motility impairments in developing iron-deficient neurons. J Exp Neurosci. 2019 Jun 20;13:1179069519858351.
  • Bastian TW, von Hohenberg WC, Georgieff MK, Lanier LM. Chronic energy depletion due to iron deficiency impairs dendritic mitochondrial motility during hippocampal neuron development. J Neurosci. 2019 Jan 30;39(5):802-813.
  • Bastian TW, Duck KA, Michalopoulos GC, Chen MJ, Liu ZJ, Connor JR, Lanier LM, Sola-Visner MC, Georgieff MK. Eltrombopag, a thrombopoietin mimetic, crosses the blood-brain barrier and impairs iron-dependent hippocampal neuron dendrite development.J Thromb Haemost. 2017 Mar;15(3):565-574.
  • Bastian TW, von Hohenberg WC, Mickelson DJ, Lanier LM, Georgieff MK. Iron deficiency impairs developing hippocampal neuron gene expression, energy metabolism, and dendrite complexity. Dev Neurosci. 2016;38(4):264-276.
  • Bastian TW, Prohaska JR, Georgieff MK, Anderson GW. Fetal and neonatal iron deficiency exacerbates mild thyroid hormone insufficiency effects on male thyroid hormone levels and brain thyroid hormone-responsive gene expression. Endocrinology. 2014;155(3):1157-67.


Current Graduate Students:

Julie Bailard (Neuroscience, University of Minnesota)
Daniel Mendez (Neuroscience, University of Minnesota)

Picture of Thomas Bastian