Christopher Brandon

Dr. Christopher Inman Brandon, Jr.

Professor of Biological Sciences

School of Science and Tech
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Biography

Dr. Christopher Inman Brandon, Jr. arrived at Georgia Gwinnett College in August 2006 as one of ten charter faculty members to lay the foundations for the first four year college in Gwinnett County. Prior to arriving in Lawrenceville, he was an assistant professor of biology at East Georgia College in Swainsboro, Ga. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky with a major in animal science, equine emphasis and completed his graduate work from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia by earning a master’s and Ph.D. in the areas of reproductive physiology and molecular physiology, respectively. However, Brandon's passion is focused on the art of teaching and student learning.

Brandon’s personal teaching philosophy is centered on the teachings of the late Ernest Boyer of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning. Simply put, Boyer suggested that scholarship is comprised of four different components: the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application and the scholarship of teaching. It is these four components that collectively define the academic activities and university programs of a college or university. While each element is no better than the other with all four bearing equal weight, our recent understanding of scholarship has been too narrowly focused on basic research, with other functions such as teaching flowing from, rather than being on a par with, research. To that end, Brandon’s lifelong goal is to become an established and influential professor.

Education

  • Doctorate – molecular physiology – University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Master’s – reproductive physiology – University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Bachelor’s – animal science, equine emphasis – University of Kentucky, Department of Animal Science

Academic Interests

  • Molecular physiology
  • Reproductive physiology
  • Receptor pharmacology
  • Signal transduction mechanism
  • Inflammatory response mechanisms

Current Research Interest and Investigation

Covid-19 and Vitamin D3: Effect of Calcitriol on the immune Response

Active vitamin D3 (Vit D3), 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, or calcitriol, is best known for its role in calcium and phosphate metabolism, but it also exerts a number of other beneficial biological effects. For example, Vit D3 inhibits parathyroid hormone secretion, the adaptive immune response, and cell proliferation, while at the same time it stimulates insulin secretion, the innate immune response as well as cellular differentiation. The role of Vit D3 in immunoregulation has led to the concept of a dual function as both 1) an important steroid hormone for the regulation of calcium homeostasis, and 2) an essential organic compound that has been shown to play a critical role in the immune responses. To that end, in recent observational studies, deficiencies in Vit D3 have been associated with a higher susceptibility of immune-mediated disorders and inflammatory diseases, and Vit D3 deficiency has also emerged as potential risk factor for contraction of the SARS-CoV-2 – the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. In view of the current interest in Vit D3 as a potential factor in the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be investigating any correlation between Vit D3 and the immune response by pretreating RAW 246.7 cells – a murine macrophage cell line – with Vit D3, followed by stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce an immune response. The resultant immune response will specifically be evaluated by the assay of potentially three potent chemical inflammatory mediators – namely tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFa), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), and nitric oxide (NO), respectively. The overlying hypothesis is that pretreating RAW 246.7 cells with Vit D3, will ultimately result in a concentration-dependent inhibition in the expression of TNFa, IL-6, and NO, respectively as compared to RAW cells cultured in a Vit D3 deficient environment.

Keywords: Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2, vitamin D3, immune response, innate immunity, inflammatory disease, lipopolysaccharide, nitric oxide, tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-6.

Distinctions

  • Governor's Teaching Fellow, 2009

Professional Affiliations