Joseph P.

Research Scientist
Phone: 443-923-2670
Kennedy Krieger Institute

707 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States


Dr. Joseph Bressler is a research scientist at Kennedy Krieger Institute. He is also an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.


Dr. Bressler received his bachelor's of science degree in biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1973 and his doctoral degree in physiology from Rutgers University in 1978. His post-doctoral training at UCLA was in neurosciences, where he studied the involvement of glial cells in response to toxic agents. After his post-doctoral training, Dr. Bressler continued his studies on glial cells at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. Dr. Bressler has been a research scientist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute since 1988.


The influence of the environment on neurodevelopment has been known for centuries, but the identification of specific toxicants in the environment and the mechanism in which they interfere with neurodevelopment is poorly understood. To better understand interactions between toxicants and the neurodevelopment, our laboratory has taken two approaches. First, we have been identifying transporters that mediate the uptake of toxicants through the intestine and into the brain. Second, we are examining the effect of toxicants on the regulation of apoptosis. In the developing brain, apoptosis is a natural process for removing neurons that fail to make synaptic connections. Our results suggest that very low concentrations of methyl mercury and other heavy metals interfere with apoptosis. In preventing neuronal death, neural pathways might fail to form and neurodevelopment would suffer.

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Research Publications

Coulter JB, O'Driscoll CM, Bressler JP (2013). Hydroquinone increases 5-hydroxymethylcytosine formation through ten eleven translocation 1 (TET1) 5-methylcytosine dioxygenase. J Biol Chem. 288(40), 28792-800.

O'Driscoll CM, Coulter JB, Bressler JP (2013). Induction of a trophoblast-like phenotype by hydralazine in the p19 embryonic carcinoma cell line. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1833(3), 460-7.

O'Driscoll C, Kaufmann WE, Bressler J (2013). Relationship between Mecp2 and NFκb signaling during neural differentiation of P19 cells. Brain Res. 1490, 35-42.

Bressler JP, Gillin PK, O'Driscoll C, Kiihl S, Solomon M, Zimmerman AW (2012). Maternal antibody reactivity to lymphocytes of offspring with autism. Pediatr Neurol. 47(5), 337-40.