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Molecular and Human Genetics

Houston, Texas

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
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Chester Brown, M.D., Ph.D.

Chester Brown, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics

Other Positions

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics


B.S., Howard University, 1985
Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 1993
M.D., University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 1993

Board Certifications

American Board of Medical Genetics: Clinical Genetics
American Board of Pediatrics
National Board of Medical Examiners

Professional Organizations

Member, American Society of Human Genetics
Member, The Endocrine Society
Member, National Medical Association
Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics

Clinical Interests

Obesity-related disorders and the contributions of copy number variation to human disease.

Research Interests

Our laboratory is working to understand the mechanisms by which genes regulate body composition, using cell-based approaches, genetically engineered mouse models and advanced genomic technologies to dissect the complex interrelationships among gene products and their effects on adiposity and metabolism. Several of these gene products are members of the TGF-beta superfamily, which has been our main focus for several years. Our team’s ultimate goal is to understand the variety of mechanisms by which genes affect adiposity in humans thereby providing the basis for the rational design of drugs for the medical treatment of obesity and its co-morbidities. Accordingly, our clinical interests include a variety of genetic syndromes, particularly those with obesity as a feature, and the contributions of genomic copy number variation and monogenic variants to syndromic and non-syndromic obesity. I am certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and have been in clinical genetics practice since 1996, based primarily at Texas Children’s Hospital.

We are also applying emerging genomic technologies and approaches to benefit patients. Our collaborations have allowed us to develop several lines of translational study to better understand the host genomic factors that influence HIV and tuberculosis susceptibility, progression and latency in African children; to work toward a legitimate cure for HIV/AIDS; and to develop better diagnostic tools and treatments for TB while building the capacity and infrastructure for African scientists to carry out genomic studies independently through the H3Africa initiative ( Our Collaborative African Genomics Network (CAfGEN) will ultimately benefit patients on many fronts. Human subjects research is a recent addition to our lab, a decision made because of the clinical importance of the problems and the importance of helping to direct ethical and culturally sensitive practices for genomic science abroad as we seek to impact global health initiatives. Collectively, our teams have many years of experience in the clinical, molecular and statistical approaches that are critical for the success of future projects both at home and abroad.

Selected Publications

  1. Hanchard N, Murdock D, Magoulas P, Bainbridge M, Muzny D, Wu YQ, Wang M, McGuire A, Lupski J, Gibbs R, Brown CW (2013). Exploring the utility of whole-exome sequencing as a diagnostic tool in a child with atypical episodic muscle weakness. Clin. Genet. 83(5): 457-61. PubMed PMID: 22901280
  2. El-Hattab AW, Bournat J, Eng PA, Wu JB, Walker BA, Stankiewicz P, Cheung SW, Brown CW (2011). Microduplication of Xp11.23p11.3 with effects on cognition, behavior, and craniofacial development. Clin. Genet. 79(6): 531-8. PubMed PMID: 20662849
  3. Zamani N, Brown CW (2011). Emerging roles for the transforming growth factor-{beta} superfamily in regulating adiposity and energy expenditure. Endocr. Rev. 32(3): 387-403. PubMed PMID: 21173384
  4. Bournat JC, Brown CW (2010). Mitochondrial dysfunction in obesity. Curr. Opin. Endocrinol. Diabetes Obes. 17(5): 446-52. PubMed PMID: 20585248
  5. Urban Z, Hucthagowder V, Schürmann N, Todorovic V, Zilberberg L, Choi J, Sens C, Brown CW, Clark RD, Holland KE, Marble M, Sakai LY, Dabovic B, Rifkin DB, Davis EC (2009). Mutations in LTBP4 cause a syndrome of impaired pulmonary, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, musculoskeletal, and dermal development. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 85(5): 593-605. PubMed PMID: 19836010
  6. Li L, Shen JJ, Bournat JC, Huang L, Chattopadhyay A, Li Z, Shaw C, Graham BH, Brown CW (2009). Activin signaling: effects on body composition and mitochondrial energy metabolism. Endocrinology 150(8): 3521-9. PubMed PMID: 19389832
  7. Jiang YH, Fang P, Adesina AM, Furman P, Johnston JJ, Biesecker LG, Brown CW (2009). Molecular characterization of co-occurring Duchenne muscular dystrophy and X-linked oculo-facio-cardio-dental syndrome in a girl. Am. J. Med. Genet. A 149A(6): 1249-52. PubMed PMID: 19449433
  8. Shen JJ, Huang L, Li L, Jorgez C, Matzuk MM, Brown CW (2009). Deficiency of growth differentiation factor 3 protects against diet-induced obesity by selectively acting on white adipose. Mol. Endocrinol. 23(1): 113-23. PubMed PMID: 19008465
  9. Pangas SA, Jorgez CJ, Tran M, Agno J, Li X, Brown CW, Kumar TR, Matzuk MM (2007). Intraovarian activins are required for female fertility. Mol. Endocrinol. 21(10): 2458-71. PubMed PMID: 17609433
  10. Chen C, Ware SM, Sato A, Houston-Hawkins DE, Matzuk MM, Shen MM, Brown CW (2006). The Vg1-related protein GDF3 regulates Nodal expression in the pre-gastrulation mouse embryo. Development 133(2): 319-29. PubMed PMID: 16368929
  11. Shen JJ, Kurotaki N, Patel A, Lupski JR, Brown CW (2005). Low factor XII level in an individual with Sotos syndrome. Pediatr. Blood Cancer 44(2): 187-9. PubMed PMID: 15390361
  12. Brown CW, Li L, Houston-Hawkins DE, Matzuk MM (2003). Activins are critical modulators of growth and survival. Mol. Endocrinol. 17(12): 2404-17. PubMed PMID: 14551263
  13. Brown CW, Levy ML, Flaitz CM, Reid BS, Manolidis S, Hebert AA, Bender MM, Heilstedt HA, Plunkett KS, Fang P, Roa BB, Chung P, Tang HY, Richard G, Alford RL (2003). A novel GJB2 (connexin 26) mutation, F142L, in a patient with unusual mucocutaneous findings and deafness. J. Invest. Dermatol. 121(5): 1221-3. PubMed PMID: 14708631
  14. Chang H, Brown CW, Matzuk MM (2002). Genetic analysis of the mammalian TGF-β superfamily. Endocr. Rev. 23(6): 787-823. PubMed PMID: 12466190
  15. Brown CW, Houston-Hawkins DE, Woodruff TK, Matzuk MM (2000). Insertion of Inhbb into the Inhba locus rescues the Inhba-null phenotype and reveals new activin functions. Nat. Genet. 25(4): 453-7. PubMed PMID: 10932194

More Publications

Contact Information

Chester Brown, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, MS BCM225
Houston, TX, 77030, U.S.A.

Room: ABBR-R717
Phone: 713-798-7418
Fax: 713-798-8920

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