Brian Brooks, M.D., Ph.D.
Brian P. Brooks, M.D., Ph.D., is the clinical director for the National Eye Institute (NEI). He oversees NEI’s clinical research and patient care programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Brooks trained in biochemistry, earning a B.S. in biochemistry in 1989 from the University of Maryland, College Park. He completed medical school in 1997 at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also earned a Ph.D. After his residency in ophthalmology and a fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology at the University of Michigan, Brooks came to the NIH in 2002 for a fellowship in medical genetics at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). In 2004, he joined the NEI as a staff clinician and in 2008 started the NEI Unit on Pediatric, Developmental, and Genetic Ophthalmology. He was awarded tenure and became the chief of the NEI Ophthalmic Genetics and Visual Function Branch in 2014. NEI appointed him clinical director in 2016. Brooks served as the first director of the National Ophthalmic Genotyping Network (eyeGENE®) and launched the ophthalmic genetics clinic at Children's National Medical Center. He is the senior ophthalmic consultant in the NIH Undiagnosed Disease Program and is board certified in both ophthalmology and in medical genetics.
Brooks has a strong clinical and research interest in inherited eye diseases that affect children. He has a special interest in coloboma, a potentially blinding eye malformation. Using clinical and lab studies, he has identified several genes related to optic fissure closure. He also studies albinism, an inherited disorder associated with reduced hair, skin, and eye melanin. Children with albinism often have reduced visual acuity and an involuntary rhythmic shaking of the eyes called nystagmus. He recently led a clinical study of the drug nitisinone to increase melanin production in people with albinism.
Brooks has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 20 review articles, and has been an investigator on dozens of clinical trials. His work was recognized in 2010 by the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the nation’s highest award for early career scientists, and in 2017 by the Alan S. Rabson Award for Clinical Care.