Nadean L. Brown

Nadean Brown

Position Title

Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, School of Medicine

4407A Tupper Hall

Research Interests

Mammalian Developmental Genetics

My research group aims to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating mouse ocular morphogenesis from the brain and retinal neurogenesis. We are investigating the genetic pathways underlying these processes during mammalian embryogenesis. This research will contribute to a better understanding of congenital eye diseases and ultimately inform therapies that can correct vision loss. Currently we are focused on understanding: 1) how retinal progenitor cells choose to become a specific type of neuron, although multiple fates are available 2) the role of the optic nerve head in patterning the retina and 3) how integrated signaling instructs the optic vesicle to grow out of the brain and undergo specific morphogenetic movements .

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics

Specialties / Focus

  • Biochemistry
  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Genetics
  • Gene Regulation
  • Model Organism Genetics
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vision


  • Cell Biol CH402 Cell and Tissue Biology

Lab personnel

  • Joel Miesfeld, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Bernadett Bosze, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Illiana Cajias, Junior Specialist
  • Julissa Suarez-Navarro, Undergraduate
  • Pradhan Hariharan, Undergraduate
  • Rebecca Snell, Undergraduate

Honors and Awards

  • 1995-96 NRSA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
  • 1995 NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined)
  • 1996 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Course "Molecular Embryology of the Mouse" Participant
  • 2014 Visual Systems Development Gordon Conference Vice Chair
  • 2016 Visual Systems Development Gordon Conference Chair

    Professional Societies

    • Genetics Society of America
    • Society for Developmental Biology
    • Society for Neuroscience
    • International Society for Eye Research
    • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology


    • 1994 PhD Cell and Molecular Biology University of Wisconsin


    Bosze, B., M.S. Moon, R. Kageyama and N.L. Brown (2020) Simultaneous requirements for Hes1 in retinal neurogenesis and optic cup-stalk boundary maintenance. Journal of Neuroscience 40: 1501-1513.

    Bosze, B., Hufnagel, R.B. and N.L. Brown (2020).  “Specification of Retinal Cell Types” in Patterning and Cell Type Specification in the Developing CNS and PNS: Comprehensive Developmental Neuroscience; Editors, John Rubenstein and Pasko Rakic.  Invited chapter for 2nd edition. In press.

    Miesfeld, J.B. and N.L. Brown (2019) "Eye Organogenesis: A hierarchical view of ocular development".  Current Topics in Developmental Biology: 132: 351-393.

    Azimi, M., T.T. Le and N.L. Brown (2019)  Jagged1 protein processing in the developing mammalian lens. Biology Open: 8, bio041095.

    Kowalchuk, A.M., K.A. Maurer, F. Shoja-Taheri, N.L. Brown (2018)  Requirements for Neurogenin2 during mouse postnatal retinal neurogenesis.  Developmental Biology: 442: 220-235.

    Azimi, M., T.T. Le and N.L. Brown (2018) Presenilin gene function and Notch signaling feedback regulation in the developing mouse lens. Differentiation: 102:40-52.

    Miesfeld, J.B*., M-S. Moon*, A.N. Riesenberg, A. Reyer, R.A. Kovall and N.L. Brown (2018)  Rbpj is a direct regulator of Atoh7 transcription in the embryonic mouse retina.  Scientific Reports:Jul 5;8(1):10195 (*Co-first authors)

    Maurer, K.A., A.M. Kowalchuk, F. Shoja-Taheri and N.L. Brown (2018)  Integral bHLH Factor Regulation of Cell Cycle Exit and RGC Differentiation.  Developmental Dynamics: 247: 965-975.

    Baker, N.E. and N.L. Brown (2018)  All in the Family: Proneural bHLH genes and neuronal diversity.  Development: 145: dev159426.

    Miesfeld, J.B., T. Glaser and N. L. Brown (2018) The dynamics of native Atoh7 protein expression during mouse retinal histogenesis, revealed with a new antibody. Gene Expression Patterns 27:114-121.

    Riesenberg, A.N., K.W. Conley, T.T. Le and N.L. Brown (2018)  Separate and coincident expression of Hes1 and Hes5 in the developing mouse eye. Developmental Dynamics 247: 212-221.

    Zhang, Q., J. Zogozewski, S. Cheng, R. Dixit, S. Zhang, J. de Melo, X. Mu, W.H. Klein, N.L. Brown, J.T. Wigle, C. Schuurmans, D.D. Eisenstat (2017). Regulation of Brn3b by DLX1 and DLX2 is required for retinal ganglion cell differentiation in the vertebrate retina. Development 144: 1698-1711.

    A.N. Riesenberg, and N.L. Brown (2016) Cell autonomous and nonautonomous requirements for Delltalike1 during early mouse retinal neurogenesis. Developmental Dynamics 245(6):631-40.

    Maurer, KA, A.N. Riesenberg, and N.L. Brown (2014) Notch signaling differentially regulates Atoh7 and Neurog2 in the distal mouse retina. Development 141: 3243-3254.

    Hufnagel, R.B.*, A.N. Riesenberg,* J.A. Brzezinski IV, M. Quinn, T. Glaser and N.L. Brown. (2013) Heterochronic misexpression of Ascl1 in the Atoh7 retinal cell lineage blocks cell cycle exit. (*Co-first authors) Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience: 54: 108-120.