Lisa A. Brennan, Ph.D.

Lisa A. Brennan

Research Associate Professor | Director of Graduate Program Curriculum & Student Access

777 Glades Road

Boca Raton, FL 33431

BC 71, Room 202

p: 7-3806 / 7-3754

Department: Biomedical Science


Lisa Ann Brennan, Ph.D., is a research associate professor in the department of Biomedical Science at the FAU Schmidt College of Medicine.


  • 1992: B.Sc. (Hons) Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland
  • 1996: Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland

Work History

  • 2007-Present: Associate Research Professor, Department Biomedical Science, Florida Atlantic University
  • 2001-2007: Research Scientist, Randox Laboratories, Crumlin, Northern Ireland
  • 2000-2001: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Feinburg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago Illinois
  • 1996-2000: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland

Scholarly Activity

Research Interests

Our research focuses on the role of oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage in age-related eye diseases. In the Kantorow lab we also use the lens as a model system to elucidate molecular mechanisms of development, differentiation and aging. We examine the role of oxidative stress in cell death, protein aggregation, protein modifications as well as alterations in cellular autophagy and study how these changes contribute to developmental and age related ocular diseases. The goal of our research is to understand the underlying mechanism of lens protein repair, differentiation and development with the hope that we can use these processes to repair or regenerate damaged lens tissue damage using the body’s own innate processes.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Ma Z, Chauss D, Disatham J, Jiao X, Brennan LA, Menko AS, Kantorow M, Hejtmancik JF. Patterns of Crystallin Gene Expression in Differentiation State Specific Regions of the Embryonic Chicken Lens. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2022 Apr 1;63(4):8. doi: 10.1167/iovs.63.4.8. PMID: 35412582
  • Disatham J, Brennan L, Jiao X, Ma Z, Hejtmancik JF, Kantorow M. Changes in DNA methylation hallmark alterations in chromatin accessibility and gene expression for eye lens differentiation. Epigenetics Chromatin. 2022 Mar 5;15(1):8. doi: 10.1186/s13072-022-00440-z. PMID: 35246225.
  • Disatham J, Brennan L, Chauss D, Kantorow J, Afzali B, Kantorow M. A functional map of genomic HIF1α-DNA complexes in the eye lens revealed through multiomics analysis. BMC Genomics. 2021 Jul 3;22(1):497. doi: 10.1186/s12864-021-07795-9. PMID: 34215186
  • Brennan L, Disatham J, Kantorow M. Mechanisms of organelle elimination for lens development and differentiation. Exp Eye Res. 2021 Jun 30;209:108682. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2021.108682. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34214522. Review
  • Costello MJ, Gilliland KO, Mohamed A, Schey KL, Johnsen S, Brennan LA, Kantorow M. Novel mitochondrial derived Nuclear Excisosome degrades nuclei during differentiation of prosimian Galago (bush baby) monkey lenses.  PLoS One. 2020 Nov 12;15(11):e0241631. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241631. eCollection 2020. PMID: 33180800
  • Brennan L, Disatham J, Kantorow M. Hypoxia regulates the degradation of non-nuclear organelles during lens differentiation through activation of HIF1a. Exp Eye Res. 2020 Sep;198:108129. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2020.108129. Epub 2020 Jul 3.
  • Disatham J, Chauss D, Gheyas R, Brennan L, Blanco D, Daley L, Menko AS, Kantorow M. Lens differentiation is characterized by stage-specific changes in chromatin accessibility correlating with differentiation state-specific gene expression. Dev Biol. 2019 Sep 1;453(1):86-104.
  • Brennan LA, McGreal-Estrada R, Logan CM, Cvekl A, Menko AS, Kantorow M. BNIP3L/NIX is required for elimination of mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus during eye lens organelle-free zone formation. Exp Eye Res. 2018 Sep;174:173-184.
  • Brennan L, Khoury J, Kantorow M. Parkin elimination of mitochondria is important for maintenance of lens epithelial cell ROS levels and survival upon oxidative stress exposure. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2017 Jan;1863(1):21-32.
  • Costello MJ, Brennan LA, Mohamed A, Gilliland KO, Johnsen S, Kantorow M. Identification and Ultrastructural Characterization of a Novel Nuclear Degradation Complex in Differentiating Lens Fiber Cells.PLoS One. 2016 Aug 18;11(8).
  • Shuying He, Saima Limi, Rebecca S. McGreal, Qing Xie, Lisa Ann Brennan, Wanda Kantorow, Juraj Kokavec, Romit Majumdar, Harry Hou, Winfried Edelmann, Wei Liu, Ruth Ashery-Padan, Jiri Zavadil, Marc Kantorow, Arthur Skoultchi, Tomas Stopka, Ales Cvekl. Chromatin remodeling enzyme Snf2h/Smarca5 regulates embryonic lens differentiation and denucleation. Development. 2016.  Development. 2016 Jun 1;143(11):1937-47. doi: 10.1242/dev.135285. PMID: 27246713
  • Klionsky et al. Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition). Autophagy. 2016. 12(1):1-222.
  • Brennan LA, Chauss D, Bakina O, Kantorow M. Integrin αVβ5-mediated Removal of Apoptotic Cell Debris by the Eye Lens and Its Inhibition by UV Light Exposure. J Biol Chem. 2015 Dec 18;290(51):30253-66.

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Invited Presentations

  • Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research Platform Presentation: Title - Parkin-Directed Mitophagy Governs Lens Epithelial Cell Mitochondrial Degradation Under Oxidative Stress Conditions.  Lisa Brennan, Dan Chauss   Marc Kantorow. July 2014. San Francisco, USA.
  • Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research Platform Presentation: Title - Repair of alpha-crystallin chaperone activity by MsrA and protection of lens mitochondria.  L. Brennan, R.S. McGreal, W. Lee Kantorow, D. Chauss, M. Kantorow. July 2012. Berlin, Germany.
  • Invited presentation at the laboratory of Dr. Mark Failla, University of North Carolina, Greensboro in December 1998. Entitled “The Effect of Antioxidant Supplementation on transcription factor activation and heat shock protein expression in lymphocytes. Lisa A. Brennan, Yvonne A. Barnett and Bernie M. Hannigan.


  • Experimental Eye Research
  • International Journal of Radation Biology
  • Cell Biology and Toxicology
  • International Journal of Biological Sciences
  • Molecular Vision
  • PloS One

Grant Reviewer

  • The Marsden Fund, New Zealand, 2014

Professional Memberships

  • 2007-Present: Association of Research in Vision and Opthalmology (ARVO)
  • 2008-Present: International Society of Eye Research (ISER)

Additional Information
The Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine offers students a variety of educational programs and degrees.
Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road, BC-71
Boca Raton, FL 33431