Amy Brower, PhD
Adjunct Instructor, Doctor of Physical Therapy* program
Department: Department of Physical Therapy
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Medical Genetics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2002.
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Biology and Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1986.
Amy Brower teaches selected material in genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics instruction in various courses, including, but not limited to, Human Embryology and Normal Lifespan Development.
Dr. Brower received a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Biological Sciences and Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Genetics from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).
Dr. Brower has taught in undergraduate, graduate, professional and post-professional settings in several areas of human biomedical science.
Several courses and efforts during Dr. Brower’s undergraduate and graduate work included a focus on neurological principles in humans. Key coursework during Dr. Brower’s undergraduate studies included advanced courses focused on the function of the human neurological system through the study of human physiology, the structure of the human brain, and the functional utilization of the central nervous system during cognitive and learning processes (e.g. memory, problem solving, language development, verbal communication, decision making). During Dr. Brower’s graduate program she continued to study neurology and to utilize neurological principles in my research and clinical activities. Graduate coursework included the classical topics of neuroembryology, neurohistology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology and neuropathology.
Dr. Brower’s graduate research focused on specific reading disability (RD), which was first described in 1896 as developmental “word blindness” and is commonly known as dyslexia. RD is a neurodevelopmental syndrome and the study of RD has improved our understanding of the relationship between brain development and cognitive function. The goal was to understand the genetic etiology of RD and Dr. Brower’s work began with an evaluation of the neuroanatomical structures involved in the normal development of reading ability and the neuroanatomical abnormalities reported in RD patients. Laboratory studies included the isolation and cloning of genes expressed in brain regions that process written language and the dissection and molecular characterization of selected brain structures.
Dr. Brower provided evaluation and care of patients seen in a Neurosensory Genetics Clinic as part of a multi-disciplinary team during a two-year clinical rotation. Her clinical duties provided the opportunity to utilize principles of neuroanatomy and neuroscience as they apply to the pathogenesis of genetic syndromes, and as they impact the treatment and management options in the care of individuals with genetic disorders. Dr. Brower believes that the integration of the concepts of neuroanatomy and neuropathology into the clinical practice of physical therapy has the potential to improve the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with disorders of movement and function.
Genetics and Genomic Focus
Dr. Brower’s graduate work focused on understanding the principles of human genetics through didactic coursework and included clinical training in the delivery of medical genetics services. Key coursework during Dr. Brower’s graduate work included the Short Course in Genetics taught by leading researchers and clinicians annually in Bar Harbor, Maine. Dr. Brower was a member of the Human Genome Project effort as a scientist on the Department of Energy’s project at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Brower’s has a background in medical genetics, genomics and bioinformatics, and led the discovery and development of novel technologies to assess genetic and genomic variation to diagnosis disease and guide therapy selection. Dr. Brower currently works on several projects at the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics including serving as a Genomic Scientist for the National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child and Human Development’s Newborn Screening Translational Research Network. Dr. Brower is a former member of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (ACHDNC) and a member of the Follow-up and Treatment Subcommittee and the Follow-Up and Treatment Subcommittee. Dr. Brower created and delivered a genomics course for clinicians at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to improve the translation of genomic technologies to patient care.