GCB Masthead
GCB FacultyAffiliate Faculty l GCB Center Personnel Joseph Bressler, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Bressler received his B.S. degree in biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1973 and his Ph.D. degree in physiology from Rutgers University in 1978. His postdoctoral training at UCLA was in neurosciences, where he studied the involvement of glial cells in response to toxic agents. After his postdoctoral training, Dr. Bressler continued his studies on glial cells at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Bressler has been a research scientist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute since 1988, where he has focused his studies to the effects of lead (Pb) on glial cells as well as other types of cells in the central nervous system. He is an associate professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public health, and also directs the Trace Metals Laboratory, which is responsible for measuring lead in samples in biological fluids and the environment.


Bressler JP, Olivi L, Cheong JH, Kim Y, Maerten A, Bannon D. Metal transporters in intestine and brain: their involvement in metal-associated neurotoxicities. Hum Exp Toxicol. 26:221-9, 2007.

Kim Y, Olivi L, Cheong JH, Maertens A, Bressler JP. Aluminum stimulates uptake of non-transferrin bound iron and transferrin bound iron in human glial cells. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 220:349-56, 2007.

Aschner M, Fitsanakis VA, dos Santos AP, Olivi L, Bressler JP. Blood-brain barrier and cell-cell interactions: methods for establishing in vitro models of the blood-brain barrier and transport measurements. Methods Mol Biol. 341:1-15. 2006.

Weil M, Bressler J, Parsons P, Bolla K, Glass T, Schwartz B., Blood mercury levels and neurobehavioral function. JAMA., 293:1875-82, 2005.

Cheong JH, Bannon D, Olivi L, Kim, Y, Bressler JP (2004. Different mechanisms mediate uptake of lead in a rat astroglial cell line. Toxicological Sciences, 77:334-40.

Bannon DI, Abounader RM, Lees PSJ, Bressler JP (2003). Effect of DMT1 Knockdown on iron, cadmium and lead uptake in Caco-2 cells. American Journal of Physiology, 28:44-50.

Bannon D, Portnoy ME, Olivi L, Lees PS, Culotta VC, Bressler JP (2002). Uptake of lead and iron by divalent metal transporter 1 in yeast and mammalian cells. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 26: 978-84.

Tian H, Song X, Bressler J, Pruett S, Pope CN (2002). Neither forced running or swimming affect acute pyridostigmine toxicity or brain-regional cholinesterase inhibition in rats. Toxicology, 176:39-50.

Hwang K, Lee B, Bressler J, Bolla K, Stewart W, Schwartz B (2002). Protein kinase C activity and the relations between blood lead and neurobehavioral function in lead workers. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110:133-38.

Olivi L, Sisk J, Bressler J (2001). Involvement of DMT1 in uptake of Cd in MDCK cells: Role of protein kinase C. American Journal of Physiology. Cell Physiology, 281:793-800.

George T. Capone, M.D.
Director, Down Syndrome Clinic, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dr. Capone attended college at Wesleyan and worked as a research assistant at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston before obtaining his MD from the University of Connecticut in 1983. After a residency and fellowship in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Dr. Capone came to Baltimore in 1988 for a fellowship in neurobiology research at Johns Hopkins. His interests focus on the neurobiologic basis of cognitive impairment in Down syndrome and its associated comorbid conditions. Dr. Capone currently serves as the director of KKI’s Down Syndrome Clinic, and is an Attending Physician on KKI’s Neurobehavior Unit and Comprehensive Rehabilitation Unit.


Trois MS, Capone GT, Lutz JA, Melendres MC, Schwartz AR, Collop NA, Marcus CL (2009) Obstructive sleep apnea in adults with Down Syndrome. J Clin Sleep Med 5:317-23.

Skotko BG, Kishnani PS, Capone GT; Down Syndrome Study Group (2009) Prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome: how best to deliver the news. Am J Med Genet A 149A:2361-7.

Kishnani PS, Sommer BR, Handen BL, Seltzer B, Capone GT, Spiridigliozzi GA, Heller JH, Richardson S, McRae T (2009) The efficacy, safety, and tolerability of donepezil for the treatment of young adults with Down syndrome. Am J Med Genet A 149A:1641-54.

Capone GT, Goyal P, Grados M, Smith B, Kammann H (2008) Risperidone in children with Down syndrome, severe intellectual disability and co-morbid autistic spectrum disorders: a naturalistic study. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics 29:106-116.

Carter JC, Capone GT, Kaufmann WE (2008) Neuroanatomic correlates of autism and stereotypy in children with Down syndrome. NeuroReport 19:653-656.

Michael V. Johnston, M.D.
Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Director, Division of Neurology & Developmental Medicine, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Director, Neuroscience Laboratory, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Professor, Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dr. Johnston attended Franklin and Marshall College before going on to medical school at the University of Pittsburgh, from which he graduated cum laude in 1971. His postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital included work in Pediatrics, Neurology, Pharmacology, and Pediatric Neurology. After teaching positions and research work at the University of Michigan Medical School and University of Michigan Hospitals, Dr. Johnston returned to Baltimore in 1988. Dr. Johnston’s interest in the role of glutamate in development has led him and his team to research therapies that reduce brain injury and promote recovery. Today Dr. Johnston serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as director of both KKI’s Division of Neurology & Developmental Medicine and KKI’s Neuroscience Laboratory. Dr. Johnston is an attending physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Kennedy Krieger Institute.


Johnston MV, Alemi L, Harum KH (2003). Learning, memory and transcription factors. Pediatric Research, 53: 369-74.

Johnston, MV, Nakajima, W and Hagberg, H. Mechanisms of hypoxic degeneration in the developing brain. The Neuroscientist 8:212-220, 2002.

Harum KH, Alemi L, Johnston MV (2001). Cognitive impairment in Coffin-Lowry syndrome correlates with reduced RSK2 Activation. Neurology, 56: 207-14.

Johnston MV and Hoon AH. Possible mechanisms in infants for selective basal ganglia damage from asphyxia, kernictus or mitochondrial encephalopathies. J Child Neurology 15:588-591, 2000.

Wilson MA, Johnston MV, Goldstein GG, Blue ME. Neonatal lead exposure impairs development of rodent barrel field cortex. Proc. N. Acad. Sci 97:5540-5545, 2000.

Nakajima W, Ishida A, Lange MS, Gabrielson KL, Wilson MA, Martin LJ, Blue ME and Johnston MV. Apoptosis has a prolonged role in neurodegeneration after hypoxic ishcemia in newborn rat. J.Neuroscience 20:7994-8004, 2000.

Harum KH, Alemi L and Johnston MV. Cognitive impairment in Coffin-Lowry syndrome correlates with reduced RSK 2 activation. Neurology 56:207-214, 2001.

Tao Wang, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dr. Wang received his medical doctorate from Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Sciences in Guangzhou, China in 1984. He went on to complete a PhD in Human Genetics at Johns Hopkins in 1995. After a residency in pediatrics at Tufts University Medical School’s Floating Hospital for Children, Dr. Wang accepted a fellowship in Clinical Genetics at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Wang has received awards from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Passano Foundation, the Johns Hopkins University, the March of Dimes Foundation, and NICHD. His research focuses on the molecular basis and mechanism of X-linked mental retardation and human cognitive development. Currently, Dr. Wang serves as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Want T, Zhang L, Obie C, Mousses S, Trent j, Valle D (2002) Identification of genes responsible for X-linked mental retardation using a human X chromosome-specific cDNA microarray. Am J Hum Genet. (submitted).

Want T, Steel G, Valle D (2001) Oral lysine supplementation reduces plasma ornithine in a mouse model of gyrate atrophy of the choroid and retina (GA). AM j Hum Genet 69:201.

Wang T, Milam AH, Steel G, Valle D (2000) Correction of of ornithine accumulation prevents retinal degeneration in a mouse model of gyrate atrophy of the choroid and retina. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 97(3): 1224-9.

Wang T, Milam AH, Steel G, Valle D (1996) Mouse model of gyrate atrophy of choroid and retina: evidence for early retinal pigment epithelium damage and progressive retinal degeneration. J Clin Invest 97: 2753.

Wang T, Lawler AM, Steel G, Milam AH, Valle D (1995) Mice lacking ornithine-d-aminotransferase have paradoxical neonatal hypoornithinemia and retinal degeneration. Nature Genet 11: 185.

Affiliate Faculty
GCB Personnel