Joe Brzezinski, PhD
Associate Professor, Ophthalmology

Graduate School :
  • PhD, University of Michigan (2005)
Undergraduate School:
  • BS, State University of New York System (NY) (1999)
Languages: English
Department: Ophthalmology

Professional Titles

  • Associate Professor

Recognition & Awards

  • Chancellor’s Teaching Recognition Award, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (2022)
  • Boettcher Foundation Web-Waring Biomedical Research Award, Boettcher Foundation (2013)

Research Interests

My research interests are in uncovering how the mammalian retina is formed during development. We are especially interested in how transcription factors and non-coding DNA elements control retinal development.


  • Bosze B, Suarez-Navarro J, Cajias I, Brzezinski Iv JA, Brown NL. Notch pathway mutants do not equivalently perturb mouse embryonic retinal development. PLoS Genet. 2023 Sep;19(9):e1010928. PubMed PMID: 37751417
  • Bachu VS, Kandoi S, Park KU, Kaufman ML, Schwanke M, Lamba DA, Brzezinski JA 4th. An enhancer located in a Pde6c intron drives transient expression in the cone photoreceptors of developing mouse and human retinas. Dev Biol. 2022 Aug;488:131-150. PubMed PMID: 35644251
  • Aparicio-Domingo S, Flores-Bellver M, Cobb H, Li KV, Conrad B, Chen C, Brzezinski JA, and Canto-Soler MV. (2023). Generation of Three-Dimensional Retinal Tissue with Physiologically Competent, Light-Sensitive Photoreceptors from Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. In: Gopalakrishnan, J. (eds) Brain Organoid Research. Neuromethods, vol 189. Humana, New York, NY.
  • Kaufman ML, Goodson NB, Park KU, Schwanke M, Office E, Schneider SR, Abraham J, Hensley A, Jones KL, Brzezinski JA. Initiation of Otx2 expression in the developing mouse retina requires a unique enhancer and either Ascl1 or Neurog2 activity. Development. 2021 Jun 15;148(12). PubMed PMID: 34143204
  • Goodson NB, Park KU, Silver JS, Chiodo VA, Hauswirth WW, Brzezinski JA 4th. Prdm1 overexpression causes a photoreceptor fate-shift in nascent, but not mature, bipolar cells. Dev Biol. 2020 Aug 15;464(2):111-123. PubMed PMID: 32562755
  • Goodson NB, Kaufman MA, Park KU, Brzezinski JA 4th. Simultaneous deletion of Prdm1 and Vsx2 enhancers in the retina alters photoreceptor and bipolar cell fate specification, yet differs from deleting both genes. Development. 2020 Jul 3;147(13). PubMed PMID: 32541005
  • Nam MH, Smith AJO, Pantcheva MB, Park KU, Brzezinski JA, Galligan JJ, Fritz K, Wormstone IM, Nagaraj RH. Aspirin inhibits TGFß2-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition of lens epithelial cells: selective acetylation of K56 and K122 in histone H3. Biochem J. 2020 Jan 17;477(1):75-97. PubMed PMID: 31815277
  • Marin I, Brzezinski JA, Nagaraj R, and Singh JK. A Novel Multiformat Translational Elective for Medical Students. Journal of Academic Ophthalmology, 2019, 11:e30. doi: 10.1055/s-0039-1688761.
  • Kaufman ML, Park KU, Goodson NB, Chew S, Bersie S, Jones KL, Lamba DA, Brzezinski JA 4th. Transcriptional profiling of murine retinas undergoing semi-synchronous cone photoreceptor differentiation. Dev Biol. 2019 Sep 15;453(2):155-167. PubMed PMID: 31163126
  • Goodson NB, Nahreini J, Randazzo G, Uruena A, Johnson JE, Brzezinski JA 4th. Prdm13 is required for Ebf3 amacrine cell formation in the retina. Dev Biol. 2018 Feb 1;434(1):149-163. PubMed PMID: 29258872
  • Groman-Lupa S, Adewumi J, Park KU, Brzezinski Iv JA. The Transcription Factor Prdm16 Marks a Single Retinal Ganglion Cell Subtype in the Mouse Retina. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017 Oct 1;58(12):5421-5433. PubMed PMID: 29053761
  • O'Sullivan ML, Puñal VM, Kerstein PC, Brzezinski JA 4th, Glaser T, Wright KM, Kay JN. Astrocytes follow ganglion cell axons to establish an angiogenic template during retinal development. Glia. 2017 Oct;65(10):1697-1716. PubMed PMID: 28722174
  • Mills TS, Eliseeva T, Bersie SM, Randazzo G, Nahreini J, Park KU, Brzezinski JA 4th. Combinatorial regulation of a Blimp1 (Prdm1) enhancer in the mouse retina. PLoS One. 2017;12(8):e0176905. PubMed PMID: 28829770
  • Park KU, Randazzo G, Jones KL, Brzezinski JA 4th. Gsg1, Trnp1, and Tmem215 Mark Subpopulations of Bipolar Interneurons in the Mouse Retina. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017 Feb 1;58(2):1137-1150. PubMed PMID: 28199486
  • Brzezinski JA, Reh TA. Photoreceptor cell fate specification in vertebrates. Development. 2015 Oct 1;142(19):3263-73. PubMed PMID: 26443631
  • Wilken MS, Brzezinski JA, La Torre A, Siebenthall K, Thurman R, Sabo P, Sandstrom RS, Vierstra J, Canfield TK, Hansen RS, Bender MA, Stamatoyannopoulos J, Reh TA. DNase I hypersensitivity analysis of the mouse brain and retina identifies region-specific regulatory elements. Epigenetics Chromatin. 2015;8:8. PubMed PMID: 25972927
  • Vincent SD, Mayeuf-Louchart A, Watanabe Y, Brzezinski JA 4th, Miyagawa-Tomita S, Kelly RG, Buckingham M. Prdm1 functions in the mesoderm of the second heart field, where it interacts genetically with Tbx1, during outflow tract morphogenesis in the mouse embryo. Hum Mol Genet. 2014 Oct 1;23(19):5087-101. PubMed PMID: 24821700
  • Brzezinski JA 4th, Uoon Park K, Reh TA. Blimp1 (Prdm1) prevents re-specification of photoreceptors into retinal bipolar cells by restricting competence. Dev Biol. 2013 Dec 15;384(2):194-204. PubMed PMID: 24125957
  • Hufnagel RB, Riesenberg AN, Quinn M, Brzezinski JA 4th, Glaser T, Brown NL. Heterochronic misexpression of Ascl1 in the Atoh7 retinal cell lineage blocks cell cycle exit. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2013 May;54:108-20. PubMed PMID: 23481413
  • Brzezinski JA, Prasov L, and Glaser T. 2012. Math5 defines the ganglion cell competence state in a subpopulation of retinal progenitor cells exiting the cell cycle. Developmental Biology. In Press. Pubmed ID: 22445509
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Personal Interests
I enjoy hiking, cycling, hockey, board games, and SCUBA diving.

Volunteer Activities
I help coach youth ice hockey.

Public Speaking

General Information

Graduate Schools:
  • PhD, University of Michigan (2005)
Undergraduate Schools:
  • BS, State University of New York System (NY) (1999)
Languages: English
Department: Ophthalmology
Contact Us
CU Anschutz
Fitzsimons Building

13001 East 17th Place
Campus Box C290
Aurora, CO 80045

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