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 the formation of the mammalian lens and retina. We are investigating the genetic pathways underlying lens and retinal tissue formation during 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 one type of neuron, although multiple fates are available to them and 2) the role of the optic nerve head in patterning the retina.

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


  • Mina Azimi, BMCDB Graduate Student
  • Angelica Kowalchuck, GGG Graduate Student
  • Joel Miesfeld, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Bernadett Bosze, Postdoctoral Fellow

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 Developement 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


    Miesfeld, J.B., T. Glaser and N. L. Brown (2017) 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 (Epub 2Aug17)  Separate and coincident expression of Hes1 and Hes5 in the developing mouse eye. Developmental Dynamics (2018) 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. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. 54: 108-120.

    Hufnagel, R.B. and N.L. Brown (2013). “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. Elsevier: pp 519-537.

    Saravanamuthu, S.S., T.T. Le, C.Y. Gao, C. Liu, C. Radu, P. Pandiyan, J. Zhang, P.S. Zelenka and N.L. Brown. (2012) Conditional ablation of the Notch2 receptor in the ocular lens. Developmental Biology 362: 219-29.

    Le, T.T., K. Conley, T.J. Mead, S. Rowan, K.E. Yutzey and N.L. Brown. (2012) Requirements for Jag1-Rbpj mediated Notch signaling during mouse lens vesicle development. Developmental Dynamics 241: 493-504

    Charlton-Perkins, M., N.L. Brown, and T.A. Cook (2011). The Lens in Focus: A Comparison of Lens Development in Drosophila and Vertebrates. Molecular Genetics & Genomics 286: 189-213.

    Prasov, L, Brown, NL and Glaser, T. (2010) A critical analysis of Atoh7 (Math5) splicing in the developing mouse retina. PLoS One. 2010; Aug 5(8):e12315.

    Macgregor S, Hewitt AW, Hysi PG, Ruddle JB,Medland SE, Henders AK, Gordon SD, Andrew T, McEvoy B, Sanfilippo PG, Carbonaro F, Tah V, Li YJ, Bennett SL, Craig JE, Montgomery GW, Tran-Viet KN, Brown NL, Spector TD, Martin NG, Young TL, Hammond CJ, Mackey DA. (2010) Genome-wide association identifies ATOH7 as a major gene determining human optic nerve size. Human Molecular Genetics. 340: 490-503.

    Hufnagel RB, Le TT, Riesenberg AL, Brown NL. (2010) Neurog2 controls the leading edge of neurogenesis in the mammalian retina. Developmental Biology 340: 490-503.

    Riesenberg AN, Liu Z, Kopan R, Brown NL. (2009) Rbpj cell-autonomous regulation of retinal ganglion cell and cone photoreceptor fates in the mouse retina. Journal of Neuroscience 29: 12865-77.