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Amanda Bird

Associate Professor, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Human Nutrition

(614) 247-1559


Amanda is an assistant professor in the Departments of Human Sciences and Molecular Genetics at the Ohio State University. She earned her bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Durham University, England, and her PhD in Molecular Genetics, from the University of Newcastle, England. 

Dr. Bird’s research interests are focused on understanding mechanisms by which cells sense and maintain optimal zinc levels. Her current research topics use the fission yeast model system to 1) identify proteins and metabolites that buffer zinc ions, 2) determine the mechanisms by which cells sense zinc ions and 3) identify factors that affect intracellular zinc transport. She has research published in peer-review journals such as the Journal of Biological Chemistry and The Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Bird is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is also an editorial board member of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.


  • PhD, Biochemistry and Genetics, University of Newcastle, England, 1998
  • BS, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Durham, England, 1994

Research Interests

  • Human Nutrition
    • Metal homeostasis
    • Mineral metabolism
    • Nutrient-dependent changes in gene expression

Research Summary

Our major goals are to identify the mechanisms by which cells sense and regulate gene expression in response to cellular zinc deficiency. To address this question, we are using the fission yeast model system Schizosaccharomyces pombeS. pombe is a versatile system with exceptional genetics to facilitate the identification of genes necessary for zinc sensing. In our recent studies we have used a transcriptomics approach to identify all of the transcripts that are regulated in response to zinc deficiency. In these studies we identified both protein coding and non-protein coding genes that are expressed specifically under zinc-limiting conditions. These zinc-regulated genes provide us with a useful tool to determine molecular pathways that are regulated by zinc. We have also identified loz1, a novel gene that is necessary for zinc-dependent regulation of gene expression.  Current studies in our lab are addressing whether Loz1 can direct ‘sense’ cellular zinc levels. These studies will provide important insight into the types of protein domains that can be used to sense zinc.


  • 2008-present, Assistant Professor. Departments of Human Nutrition and Molecular Genetics. Ohio State University (OSU)
  • 2006-2007, Research Assistant Professor. Department of Hematology. University of Utah
  • 2006-2007, Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Dennis Winge, Department of Biochemistry and Medicine, University of Utah
  • 2002-2006, Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Dennis Winge, Department of Biochemistry and Medicine, University of Utah
  • 1998-2002, Postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Professor David Eide, Department of Nutrition, University of Missouri-Columbia

Selected Publications

  • Ehrensberger KM, Corkins ME, Choi SY, and Bird AJ (2014) The Double Zinc Finger Domain and Adjacent Accessory Domain from the Transcription Factor Loss of Zinc Sensing 1 (Loz1) Are Necessary for DNA Binding and Zinc Sensing.  J Biol Chem. 289:18087-18096.

  • Choi SY, and Bird AJ (2014) Zinc'ing sensibly: controlling zinc homeostasis at the transcriptional level.  Metallomics 6:1198-215

  • Corkins ME, May M, Ehrensberger KM, Hu YM, Liu YH, Bloor SD, Jenkins B, Runge KW, Bird AJ (2013) Zinc finger protein Loz1 is required for zinc-responsive regulation of gene expression in fission yeast.Proc Natl Acad Sci USA103:8674-79. 

  • Ehrensberger KE, Mason C, Corkins, ME, Anderson C, Dutrow N, Cairns B, Dalley B, Milash B, and Bird AJ (2013) Zinc-dependent regulation of the adh1 antisense transcript in fission yeast. J Biol Chem. 288:759-769. 

  • Ehrensberger KE and Bird AJ (2011) Hammering out details: Regulating metal levels in eukaryotes.  TIBS 36:524-31Frey AG, Bird AJ, Blankman E, Evans-Galea M, Winge DR, and Eide DJ (2011) Zinc-regulated DNA Binding of the yeast Zap1 zinc-responsive activator.  PLOS One 6:e22535

  • Wu CY, Roje S, Sandoval FJ, Bird AJ, Winge DR, and Eide DJ (2009) Repression of sulfate zinc assimilation is an adaptive response of yeast to the oxidative stress of deficiency.  J Biol Chem 284:27544-56
  • Wu CY, Bird AJ, Chung LM, Newton MA, Winge DR and Eide DJ (2008) Differential control of Zap1-regulated genes in response to zinc deficiency in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  BMC Genomics 9:370-387
  • Khalimonchuk O, Bird AJ and Winge DR (2007) Evidence for a pro-oxidant intermediate in the assembly of cytochrome oxidase.  J Biol Chem 282:17442-9
  • Bird AJ (2007) Metallosensors, the ups and downs of gene regulation.  Adv Microb Physiol 53:232-57
  • Bird AJ, Gordon M, Eide DJ and Winge DR (2006)Repression of ADH1 and ADH3 gene expression during zinc deficiency by Zap1-induced intergenic RNA transcripts. EMBO J 25:5726-34.
  • Chang-Yi W, Bird AJ, Winge DR and Eide DJ (2006) Regulation of the yeast Tsa1 peroxiredoxin by Zap1 is an adaptive response to the oxidative stress of zinc deficiency. J Biol Chem 282:2184-95.
  • Bird AJ, Swierczek S, Qiao W, Eide DJ and Winge DR (2006) Zinc metalloregulation of the zinc finger pair domain. J Biol Chem 281:25326-35.
  • Qiao W, Mooney M, Bird AJ, Winge DR and Eide DJ (2006) Zinc binding to a regulatory zinc-sensing domain monitored in vivo by using FRET. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA103:8674-79.
  • Keller G, Bird AJ and Winge DR (2005) Independent Metalloregulation of Ace1 and Mac1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiaeEukaryot cell 4:1863-71.
  • Herbig A, Bird AJ, McCall K, Mooney M, Chang-Yi W, Eide DJ and Winge DR (2005) Zap1 activation domain I and its role in controlling gene expression in response to cellular zinc status.  Mol Microbiology 57:834-46.
  • Bird AJ, Blankman E, Stillman DJ, Eide DJ and Winge DR (2004) The Zap1 transcriptional activator also acts as a repressor by binding downstream of the TATA box in ZRT2.  EMBO J 23:1123-1132.
  • Rutherford JC and AJ Bird (2004) Metal-responsive transcription factors that regulate iron, zinc and copper homeostasis in eukaryotic cells.  Eukaryot Cell 3:1-13.
  • Bird AJ, McCall K, Kramer M, Blankman E, Winge DR and Eide DJ (2003) Zinc fingers act as Zn2 sensors for regulation of activation domain function in the yeast Zap1 transcriptional activator.  EMBO J 22:1-10.
  • Evans-Galea M, Blankman E, Myszka D, Bird AJ, Eide DJ and Winge DR (2002) Two of the five zinc fingers in the Zn-regulated Zap1 transcription factor dominate site-specific DNA binding.  Biochemistry 42:1053-1061.
  • Bird AJ, Zhao H, Luo H, Jenson LT, Srinivasan C, Evans-Galea M, Winge DR and Eide DJ (2000) A dual role for zinc fingers in both DNA binding and zinc sensing by the Zap1 transcriptional activator.  EMBO J 19:1-10.
  • Bird AJ, Evans-Galea M, Blankman E, Zhao H, Luo H, Winge DR and Eide DJ (2000) Mapping the DNA binding domain of the Zap1 zinc-responsive transcriptional activator.  J Biol Chem 275:16160-16166.
  • Bird AJ, Turner-Cavet JS, Lakey JH and Robinson NJ (1997) A carboxyl-terminal Cys2/His2-type zinc finger motif in DNA primase influences DNA content in Synechococcus PCC 7942.  J Biol Chem 273:21246-21252.
  • Robinson NJ, Bird AJ and Turner JS (1996). Metallothionein gene regulation in cyanobacteria.  In:  Metal ions in gene regulation (Walden and Silver eds.).  Chapman and Hall.