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dennis_brownIntroducing Dennis Brown

Dennis Brown is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and is Director of the Program in Membrane Biology (PMB), in the Division of Nephrology, at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He also serves as the Associate Director of the MGH Center for Systems Biology. He was born in a small fishing town on the East coast of England, called Grimsby, which was made famous recently by the wretched Sacha Baron Cohen movie “The Brothers Grimsby”, and before that by being the name Disney gave to the butler in “The Little Mermaid”, and by being the title of a tongue-in-cheek song “Grimsby” on the 1974 Elton John album Caribou. There is also a Grimsby in Canada, near Niagara Falls on the southern side of lake Ontario. He received his Ph. D. from the University of East Anglia, Norwich (pronounced Norrich), UK in 1975 and then spent 10 years working under the direction of Dr. Lelio Orci at the University of Geneva Medical School in Switzerland, where he eventually became an Assistant Professor. He moved to the MGH in 1985 to work with Dennis Ausiello in the Renal Unit, and has remained there ever since.

Dennis Brown is a cell biologist/physiologist who specializes in the use of state-of-the art imaging techniques to follow and dissect physiologically-relevant membrane protein trafficking events in epithelial and non-epithelial cells. He is an internationally recognized authority on vesicle trafficking (particularly endocytosis and exocytosis) and polarity in epithelial cells, with special focus on water channels (aquaporins) in principal cells and vacuolar proton pumping ATPase recycling and function in intercalated cells of the kidney collecting duct. His work is aimed at understanding basic cell physiology and signaling pathways in order to develop novel therapeutic strategies for kidney disease. In particular, he has made seminal contributions towards our understanding of the cell biology of vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone) action and aquaporin 2 trafficking that inform the development of strategies to bypass defective vasopressin signaling in nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. Most recently, for example, informed by high throughput chemical screening, his lab reported that the EGFR inhibitor Erlotinib significantly ameliorates the diuretic action of lithium in a mouse model (Cheung et al., JASN, 2016). In recent years he has also had an extensive collaboration with his colleague Dr. Sylvie Breton on transport and trafficking processes in epithelia of the male reproductive tract (epididymis) that are essential for male fertility. He has published over 370 articles in peer-reviewed journals. 


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Dennis Brown

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