Dennis Brown (academic)

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Dennis Brown
Nationality British
Institutions Harvard Medical School
Alma mater University of East Anglia
Thesis Control of Metabolic Processes in Amphibian Organ Culture (1975)
Doctoral advisor Michael Balls

Dennis Brown is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is the director of the Program in Membrane Biology at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH),[1] and is the Associate Director of the MGH Center for Systems Biology. He is a member of the MGH Executive Committee on Research (ECOR), the central body for research governance at MGH.[2]

He was born in Grimsby, England where he attended Wintringham Grammar School, and continued his education at the University of East Anglia where he received a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences with first class honors, and then stayed on to complete his PhD under Michael Balls, studying the hormonal control of glycogen metabolism in long-term amphibian organ culture. He then spent 10 years working under the direction of Prof. Lelio Orci at the University of Geneva Medical School in Switzerland, where he eventually became an Assistant Professor.

Dennis Brown is a cell biologist/physiologist who specializes in the use of state-of-the art imaging and cell biological techniques to follow and dissect physiologically-relevant membrane protein trafficking events in epithelial and non-epithelial cells. He is an internationally recognized authority on membrane protein trafficking in epithelial cells, with special focus on water channels aquaporins and vacuolar proton pumping ATPase function in the kidney and, more recently, in the male reproductive tract. He has published over 350 articles and reviews in peer reviewed journals.

Brown is currently the editor-in-chief of the prestigious journal Physiological Reviews, which has a citation index of 30, ranking 5th among all scientific journals. He previously served as the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology from 2002–2008 and an associate editor of American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology. He was also a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Journal of Membrane Biology, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

In 1999, Brown was awarded the Carl W. Gottschalk Distinguished Lectureship in 1999,[3] and the Hugh Davson award for Cell Biology in 2011,[4] both from the American Physiological Society. He received an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, and was the invited plenary lecturer on aquaporins at the Silver Anniversary meeting of the American Society of Nephrology. He has given several endowed lectures, including the Robert Schrier endowed lecture (on aquaporin trafficking) at the 2008 meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, the Suk-Ki Hong Endowed Lectureship in Physiology at the University of Buffalo in May 2008, the Dunaway Burnham Endowed Lectureship at Dartmouth College in 2005, and the Daniel L. Kline Lecture at the 2009 Univ. Cincinnati annual Systems Biology retreat. He presented the Robert Pitts lecture in Nephrology at the International Union of Physiological Sciences meeting in Birmingham, UK, in July 2013. The same month he was awarded an honorary degree by his alma mater, UEA, for his contributions to physiology and cell biology.

He was a council member of the American Physiological Society (APS) between 2011-2014, and in 2016 became President Elect of the APS. His one-year term as President will begin in April 2017.Established in 1887, the APS was the first US society in the biomedical sciences field. The society represents more than 11,000 members and publishes 14 peer reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.

Many of his former trainees have gone on to develop their own successful independent research careers throughout the World. In recognition of this, he received the A. Clifford Barger "Excellence in Mentoring" Award from Harvard University in 2005, and the Dean's Award for the Advancement of Women's Careers in 2012, also from Harvard University. He was appointed as the Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Office for Research Career Development (ORCD) in 2012 where he leads efforts to provide career development opportunities and courses in the responsible conduct of research for fellows and faculty.

Dennis is married to Dr. Andrea Brown, Ph. D., who he met while studying at UEA. They have three grown children, Eleanor, Christopher and Marielle, and two grandchildren, Avery and Nathaniel.


  1. ^ Massachusetts General Hospital
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Carl W. Gottschalk Distinguished Lectureship". Renal Awards. American Physiological Society. 1999. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Hugh Davson Distinguished Lectureship". Section Awards—Cell & Molecular Physiology. American Physiological Society. 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2015.