Brian P. Brooks, M.D., Ph.D. is the chief of the Unit of Genetic and Developmental Eye Disease at the National Eye Institute (NEI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Brooks graduated summa cum laude in biochemistry from the University of Maryland. He graduated with honors in both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Following medical school, Dr. Brooks completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Michigan, where he was chief resident. In 2002, Dr. Brooks became an NEI employee and trained in medical genetics at the National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH. He is one of a few of physicians board certified both in ophthalmology and clinical genetics.
At the NEI Dr. Brooks serves as the senior ophthalmic consultant in the NIH-wide Undiagnosed Disease program. He is the founding Director of the National Ophthalmic Disease Genotyping Network, an online database of genes that contribute to inherited eye diseases. In addition to his work at the NEI, Dr. Brooks directs the Ophthalmic Genetics Clinic at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Brooks has a strong clinical and research interest in inherited eye diseases, particularly those affecting children. Currently at the NEI, he is conducting research on understanding the genetics of a potentially blinding eye malformation called coloboma. Using the information learned from both clinical studies on patients and laboratory studies on animal models with coloboma, Dr. Brooks hopes to provide better genetic counseling and prevention methods to patients with coloboma. Recently, Dr. Brooks and his laboratory team have identified several genes related to the developmental process of optic fissure closure, which causes coloboma.
In addition to his work concerning coloboma, Dr. Brooks is involved in many collaborative research projects on multiple inherited eye diseases such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome, lysozomal storage disorders, congenital disorders of glycosylation, Proteus syndrome, mitochondrial disorders, albinism, micriphthalmia, congenital optic nerve anomalies, aniridia/WAGR, holoprosencephaly, craniosynostosis, and patients with inherited disorder of DNA repair.