Research Activities

Research staff

Job Vacancies

Location & Contact

Welcome to Our Laboratory

Rod Bremner, Ph.D.


Bremner, Rod, Ph.D.

Head, Genetics and Development Division

Toronto Western Research Institute

Professor, Departments of Ophthalmology and Lab Med & Pathobiology

University of Toronto

Tel: 416 603 5865

Lab Tel: 416 603 5800 X2628

Fax: 416 603 5126



Fischer M, Huber G, Beck S, Tanimoto N, Muehlfriedel R, Fahl E, Grimm C, Wenzel A, Remé C, van de Pavert S, Wijnholds J, Pacal M, Bremner R, Seeliger M. 2009. Noninvasive, in vivo Assessment of Mouse Retinal Structure Using Optical Coherence Tomography. PLoS One, 2009 4:e7507. PDF

Bremner R (2009). Retinoblastoma: An Inside Job. Cell 137: 992-993 PDF

Couto JM, Livne-Bar I, Xu Z, Cate-Carter T, Nathaniel A, Anderson B, Tannok R, Kerr EN, Lovett MW, Humphries T, Bremner R, Barr CL (2009). Association of Reading Disabilities to a Region Marked by Acetylated H3 Histones in KIAA0319. American Journal of Medical Genetics B.

Chen D, Pacal M, Wenzel P, Knoepfler PS, Leone G, Bremner R 2009. Division and apoptosis of E2f-deficient retinal progenitors. Nature, In Press

Chong JL, Wenzel PL, Saenz-Robles MT, Nair V, Ferrey A, Hagan JP, Gomez YM, Sharma N, Chen H-Z, Ouseph M, Wang S-H, Trikha P, Culp B, Mezache L, Winton DJ, Sansom OJ, Chen D, Bremner R, Cantalupo PG, Robinson ML, Pipas JM and Leone G 2009. A Switch of E2F1-3 Function from Activators in Progenitor Cells to Repressors in Differentiating Cells. Nature, In Press

Abou El Hassan M, Bremner R (2009). A rapid simple approach to quantify chromosome conformation capture. Nucleic Acids Research 2009 1:14 doi:10.1093/nar/gkp028 PDF

Fujieda H, Bremner R, Alan J. Mears, Sasaki H (2009). Retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor α regulates a subset of cone genes during mouse retinal development. J Neurochem. 108:91-101 PDF

Ni Z, Abou El Hassan M, Xu Z, Yu T, Bremner R (2008). The chromatin-remodeling enzyme BRG1 coordinates CIITA induction through many interdependent distal enhancers. Nat Immunol. 9:785-93 PDF

This article was featured in News and Views in same issue: New dimensions of CIITA. PDF

Chen D, Opavsky R, Pacal M, Tanimoto N, Wenzel P, Seeliger MW, Leone G Bremner R. (2007) Rb-Mediated Neuronal Differentiation through Cell-Cycle-Independent Regulation of E2f3a. PLoS Biol. 2007 Jul;5(7). PDF

McClellan KA, Ruzhynsky VA, Douda DN, Vanderluit JL, Ferguson KL, Chen D,Bremner R, Park DS, Leone G, Slack RS. (2007) Unique requirement for Rb/E2F3 in neuronal migration: evidence for cell cycle-independent functions Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Jul;27(13):4825-43. PDF

Ni Z, Bremner R (2007) Brahma-related gene 1-dependent STAT3 recruitment at IL-6 inducible genes. J Immunol. 178(1):345-51 PDF

Pacal M, Bremner R (2006) Insights from animal models on the origins and progression of retinablastoma. Curr Mol Med. 6(7):759-81 PDF

Yu C, Mazerolle CJ, Thurig S, Wang Y, Pacal M, Bremner R, Wallace V (2006) Direct and indirect effects of hedgehog pathway activation in the mammalian retina. Mol. Cell. Neurosci 32:274-282 PDF

Livne-Bar I, Pacal M, Cheung MC, Hankin M, Trogadis J, Chen D, Dorval KM and Bremner R (2006). Chx10 is required to block photoreceptor differentiation but is dispensable for progenitor proliferation in the postnatal retina. Proc Natl Acad Sci 103: 498849933 PDF

Dorval KM, Bobechko BP, Fujieda H, Chen S, Zack DJ, Bremner R (2006). CHX10 targets a subset of photoreceptor genes. J. Biol. Chem. 281: 744-751 PDF

Bremner R, Chen D, Livne-bar I, Agochiya M (2005). Update on retinoblastoma. Retina, 25:950-1. PDF

Zuyao Ni, Elizabeth Karaskov, Tao Yu, Steve Callaghan, Sandy Der, David Park, Zhaodong Xu, Samantha Pattenden, Bremner R (2005) Apical Role for BRG1 in Cytokine-Induced Promoter Assembly. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Oct 102:14611-14616 PDF

Heisler LE, Torti D, Boutros PC, Watson J, Chan C, Winegarden N, Takahashi M, Yau P, Huang TH, Farnham P, Jurisica I, Woodgett JR, Bremner R, Penn L, Der SD (2005) CpG Island microarray probe sequences derived from a physical library are representative of CpG Islands annotated on the human genome. Nuc Acids Res 33:2952-29611 PDF

Dorval K, Bobechko B, Ahmad KF, Bremner R (2005) Transcriptional activity of the paired-like homeodomain proteins Chx10 and Vsx1. J Biol Chem. PDF

Dyer MA, Bremner R (2005) The search for the retinoblastoma cell of origin. Nature Reviews in Cancer. 2005 Feb;5(2):91-101

Ni B, Lin Z, Zhou L, Wang L, Jia Z, Zhou W, DiCiommo DP, Zhao J, Bremner R , Wu Y (2004) Induction of P815 tumor immunity by DNA-based recombinant SemlikiForest virus or replicon expressing the P1A gene. Cancer Detection and Prevention 28:418-42525.

Bremner R, Chen D, Pacal M, Livne-bar I, Agochiya M (2004) The RB protein family in retinal development and retinoblastoma: new insights from new mouse models.Dev Neurosci. 2004;26(5-6):417-34.

DiCiommo DP, Duckett A, Burcescu I, Bremner R* and Gallie BL* (2004) Retinoblastoma protein purification and transduction of retina and retinoblastoma cells using improved alphavirus vectors. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2004 Sep;45(9):3320-9. * Co-senior authors. PDF

Chen D, Livne-bar I, Vanderluit J, Slack R, Agochiya M, Bremner R (2004). Cell-specific effects of RB or RB/p107 loss on retinal development implicate an intrinsically death resistant cell-of-origin in retinoblastoma. Cancer Cell. 2004 Jun;5(6):539-551. PDF

Commentaries on this article were made at the time in Cancer Cell PDF, Nature Reviews Cancer PDF and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute PDF.

Popkin DL, Watson MA, Karaskov E, Dunn GP, Bremner R, Virgin HW 4th (2003). Murine cytomegalovirus paralyzes macrophages by blocking IFN gamma-induced promoter assembly. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Nov 25;100(24):14309-14. PDF

Pattenden S, Klose R, Karaskov E, Bremner R (2002). Interferon-g-induced chromatin remodeling at the CIITA locus is BRG1-dependent. EMBO J. 21:1978-86. PDF

Héon E, Sahr H, Greenberg H, Rootman D, Vincent AL, Billingsley G, Priston P, Taylor C, Dorval D, Chow R, McInnes R, Heathcote G, Westall C, Sutphin J,, Semina E, Bremner R, Stone EM (2002). VSX-1: a gene for posterior polymorphous dystrophy and keratoconus. an unsuspected relationship. Human Molecular Genetics 11:1029-36 PDF

Wu J, Trogadis J, Bremner R (2001) Rod and cone degeneration in the rd mouse is p53-independent. Molecular Vision 7:101-106. PDF

DiCiommo D, Gallie BL, Bremner R. Retinoblastoma: the disease, gene and protein provide critical leads to understand cancer (2000). Semin Cancer Biol 10: 255-269 PDF

Park DS, Morris EJ, Bremner R, Keramaris E, Padmanabhan J, Rosenbaum M, Shelanski ML, Geller HM, Greene LA (2000). Involvement of retinoblastoma family members and E2F/DP complexes in death of neurons evoked by DNA damage. J. Neurosci. 20: 3104-3114. PDF

Zhu XP, Pattenden S, Bremner R (1999) pRB is required for interferon-gamma-induction of the MHC class II A-beta gene. Oncogene 18: 4940-4947. PDF

Diciommo D, Bremner R (1998) Rapid, high level protein production using DNA-based Semliki Forest virus vectors. J. Biol. Chem. 273: 18060-18066. PDF

Bremner R, Du DC, Connolly M, Bridge P Ahmad KF, Mostachfi H, Rushlow D, Dunn JM, Gallie, BL (1997) Deletion of RB exons 24 and 25 causes low penetrance retinoblastoma. Amer. J. Human Genet. 61: 556-570.


This movie shows a 3D view of a clone of cells in the mouse retina (from work by M Pacal in the lab). A retrovirus expressing a fluorescent protein (GFP) was injected into the retina. The concentration of virus particles is low enough to ensure that only rare progenitors take up virus. The progenitor in this case gave rise to three daughter neurons. This occurs when the dividing progenitor generates one post-mitotic daughter neuron and a progenitor, then the latter gives rise to two post-mitotic neurons. The blue and purple cells are rod photoreceptors and the yellow cell is a bipolar interneuron. Photoreceptors communicate with bipolar cells through extensive synaptic connections.