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Christopher J. Brandon, PhD

Professor Emeritus

Dr. Brandon received his B.S. in biology from Northwestern University in 1969, and a PhD in biochemistry from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1974. His postdoctoral research was carried out in the Laboratory of Functional Neuroanatomy at the National Institutes of Health, and in the Department of Cell Biology at Baylor Medical School.

From 1980 to 1983, he was an assistant professor in the departments of Anatomy and Ophthalmology at the Oregon Health Sciences University. He was part of the Chicago Medical School faculty in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy from 1984 to 2016.


The long-range goal of Dr. Brandon's research was an understanding of mechanisms of neural computation. Using the eye as a model for the brain, his work was concerned with determining how certain visual neurons distinguish the direction of motion of a visual stimulus, in both vertebrate and invertebrate visual systems.

In vertebrates, these directionally-sensitive neurons provide the brain with visually-derived information about the movement of the eye with respect to the real world; this information is then used in reflexes that control gaze. Similar neurons have been observed in the visual systems of crustaceans and insects.

The neuronal circuitry responsible for directional selectivity resides completely within the retina (in vertebrates) or the optic lobe (in invertebrates), and involves interactions among directional neurons and cholinergic and/or GABAergic interneurons. Dr. Brandon's research employed immunocytochemical methods and electron microscopy to identify the detailed connections among these cell types.


  • C. Brandon (2000) Cholinergic innervation of On-center, directionally-selective retinal ganglion cells.
  • C. Brandon and R. Guo (2000) Purification of choline acetyltransferase from the brain of the lobster, Homarus americanus.
  • C. Brandon, M.S. Abel, R. Guo, and N. S. Peachey (2000) Intravitreal administration of an antisense oligonucleotide to GAD67 mRNA causes alterations in the electroretinogram of the rat.
  • C. Brandon and C. Vega (2000) Rabbit retinal ganglion cells that project to the medial terminal nucleus are directionally selective.
  • J. Marmur, C. Brandon, S. Neubort, M. Ehrlich, M. Mandel, and J. Konvicka (1972) Unique properties of nucleic acid from Bacillus subtilis Phage SP- 15. Nature New Biology 239, 68-70.
  • C. Brandon, P.M. Gallop, J. Marmur, H. Hayashi, and K. Nakanishi (1972) Structure of a new pyrimidine from Bacillus subtilis Phage SP-15 nucleic acid. Nature New Biology 239, 70-72.
  • H. Hayashi, K. Nakanishi, C. Brandon, and J. Marmur (1973) Structure and synthesis of dihydroxypentyluracil from bacteriophage SP-15 DNA. J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 95, 8749-8752.
  • C. Brandon and J.-Y. Wu (1978) Purification and properties of choline acetyltransferase from the electric organ of Torpedo californica. J. Neurochem. 30, 791-797.
  • D.M.K. Lam, C. Brandon, and J.-Y. Wu (1979) Immunocytochemical localization of glutamic acid decarboxylase in the goldfish retina. Nature 278, 565-567.
  • C. Brandon, D.M.K. Lam, and J.-Y. Wu (1979) The gamma-aminobutyric acid system in rabbit retina: localization by immunocytochemistry and autoradiography. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 76, 3557-3561.
  • D.M.K. Lam, R.E. Marc, P.V. Sarthy, C.A. Chin, Y.Y.T. Su, C. Brandon, and J.-Y. Wu (1980) Retinal organization: Neurotransmitters as physiological probes, in 'Neurochemistry of the Retina', ed. N. Bazan and R. Lolley, Pergamon Press (London).
  • C. Brandon, D.M.K. Lam, Y.Y.T. Su, and J.-Y. Wu (1980) Immunocytochemical localization of GABA neurons in the rabbit and frog retina. Brain Res. Bull. 5, Suppl. 2, pp. 21-29.
  • D.M.K. Lam, Y.Y.T. Su, C.A. Chin, C. Brandon, J.-Y. Wu, R. E. Marc, and E.M. Lasater (1980) GABAergic horizontal cells in the teleost retina. Brain Res. Bull. 5, Suppl. 2, pp. 137-140.
  • Z. Gottesfeld, C. Brandon, D.M. Jacobowitz, and J.-Y. Wu (1980) The GABA system in the mammalian habenula. Br. Res. Bull. 5, Suppl. 2, pp. 1-6.
  • J.-Y. Wu, Y.Y.T. Su, D.M.K. Lam, C. Brandon and L. Denner (1980) Purification and regulation of L-glutamate decarboxylase. Brain Res. Bull. 5, Suppl. 2, pp. 64-71.
  • Z. Gottesfeld, C. Brandon, and J.-Y. Wu (1981) Immunocytochemistry of glutamate decarboxylase in the deafferented habenula. Brain Res. 208, 181- 186.
  • J.-Y. Wu, C. Brandon, Y.Y.T. Su, and D.M.K. Lam (1981) Immunocytochemical and autoradiographic localization of the GABA system in the vertebrate retina. Molec. Cell. Biochem. 39, 229-238.
  • J.-Y. Wu, C.-T. Lin, C. Brandon, T.S. Chan, H. Mohler, and J.G. Richards (1982) Regulation and immunocytochemical characterization of glutamic acid decarboxylase, in 'Cytochemical Methods in Neuroanatomy', Alan R. Liss, NY.
  • C. Brandon and D.M.K. Lam (1983) The ultrastructure of rat rod synaptic terminals: Effects of dark adaptation. J. Comp. Neurol. 217, 167-175.
  • C. Brandon and D.M.K. Lam (1983) L-Glutamic acid: A neurotransmitter candidate for human and rat cone photoreceptors. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 80, 5117- 5121.
  • S.H.C. Hendry, E.G. Jones, J. DeFelipe, D. Schmechel, C. Brandon, M. Beinfeld, and P.C. Emson (1984) Neuropeptide-containing neurons of the cerebral cortex are also GABAergic. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 81, 6526- 6530.
  • C. Brandon (1985) Improved immunocytochemical staining through the use of primary Fab fragments, Fab-specific second antibody, and FabHRP. J. Histochem. Cytochem. 33, 715-719.
  • C. Brandon (1985) Retinal GABA neurons: Localization in vertebrate species using an antiserum to rabbit brain glutamate decarboxylase. Brain Research 344, 286-295.
  • A.K. Ball and C. Brandon (1986) Localization of (3H)-GABA, -muscimol, and -glycine in goldfish retinas stained for glutamate decarboxylase. J. Neuroscience 6, 1621-1627.
  • C. Brandon (1986) L-glutamate decarboxylase: Purification from rabbit brain and preparation of a monospecific antiserum. J. Neurosci. Res. 15, 367-381.
  • E.G. Jones, S.C. Hendry, and C. Brandon (1986) Cytochrome oxidase staining reveals functional organization of monkey somatosensory thalamus. Exp. Brain Res. 62, 438-442.
  • C. Brandon (1987) Cholinergic neurons in the rabbit retina: Immunocytochemical localization, and relationship to GABAergic and cholinesterase-containing neurons. Brain Research 401, 385-391.
  • C. Brandon (1987) Cholinergic neurons in the rabbit retina: Dendritic branching and ultrastructural connectivity. Brain Research 426, 119-130.
  • H. Demeulemeester, F. Vandesande, G. Orban, C. Brandon, and J.J. Vanderhaeghen (1988) GABAergic and peptidergic cells of the cat visual cortex. J. Neuroscience 8, 988-1000.
  • R. L. Saint Marie, D. K. Morest, and C. Brandon (1989) The form and distribution of GABAergic synapses on the principal cell types of the ventral cochlear nucleus of the cat. Hearing Research 42, 97-112.
  • C. Brandon (1991) Cholinergic neurons in the retina of the dogfish. Visual Neuroscience 6, 553-562.
  • C. Brandon and M.H. Criswell (1991) Antiserum to Lucifer Yellow: Its production, characterization, and use for the immunocytochemical localization of dye-filled retinal neurons. J. Histochem. Cytochem. 39, 1547-1553.
  • M.H. Criswell and C. Brandon (1992) Cholinergic and GABAergic neurons occur in both the distal and proximal turtle retina. Brain Research 577, 101-111.
  • M.H. Criswell and C. Brandon (1993) Acetylcholinesterase and choline acetyltransferase localization patterns do correspond in cat and rat retinas. Vision Research 33, 1747-1753.
  • C. Brandon and M.H. Criswell (1995) Displaced starburst amacrine cells of the rabbit retina contain the 67dDa isoform, but not the 65kDa isoform, of glutamate decarboxylase. Visual Neuroscience 12, 1053-1061.