About Sickkids
About SickKids

Brent Derry, PhD

Research Institute
Senior Scientist
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology

University of Toronto
Department of Molecular Genetics

Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 301829
Fax: 416-813-2212
e-mail: brent.derry@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

Derry Lab site

Brief Biography

Dr. Brent Derry received his B.Sc. from Carleton University, his M.Sc. from McMaster University, and his PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His PhD thesis research with Dr. Leslie Wilson focused on elucidating the molecular mechanism by which the anti-cancer drug taxol suppresses microtubule dynamics, and the role of beta-tubulin isotypes in taxol resistance. Derry carried out his postdoctoral training with Dr. Joel Rothman at the University of California where he identified and characterized the C. elegans p53 tumour suppressor gene.

In 2003 Derry joined the Research Institute as a scientist. His laboratory is focused on the application of genetics, functional genomics, and biochemical techniques to understand signaling pathways deregulated in paediatric diseases, such as cancer and cerebral cavernous malformations.

Research Interests

  • Using C. elegans to model human diseases
  • Mechanisms of programmed cell death (apoptosis)
  • Organ development
  • DNA repair
  • Cellular non-autonomy

Research Activities 

The broad goal of Derry's research is to understand how genes that are mutated in various diseases function in vivo. He uses the powerful genetics and functional genomics tools of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans to understand how tumour suppressors and oncogenes control cell survival, genome stability and organism development. He is particularly interested in how cells communicate with one another to sculpt organs and make life or death decisions when challenged with stresses, such as chemotherapy and radiation. Derry also has a robust research program that is focused on understanding the mechanistic basis of the human neurovascular disease cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM). He is collaborating with an international team of scientists and clinicians to discover drugs that can be used to prevent the onset of CCM in humans. 

Current projects in the lab:

  1. Regulation of DNA repair by the TP53 orthologue cep-1.
  2. Cell non-autonomous regulation of apoptosis.
  3. Role of insulin signaling on activity of oncogenic Ras.
  4. Role of cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) genes in apoptosis and organ development.
  5. Screens for small compounds that reverse the effects of mutations in CCM genes.

Current Lab Members:

  • Abigail Mateo - Graduate student
  • Eric Chapman - Graduate student
  • Matthew Eroglu  - Graduate student
  • Ben Lant - Post-doctoral fellow
  • Swati Pal - Post-doctoral fellow
  • Aishwarya Subramanian - Post-doctoral fellow
  • Bin Yu - Research technician

External Funding

  • Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Cancer (NSERC)
  • Angioma Alliance Canada


For a complete list of publications, please see PubMed
A list of featured publications can be found on the Derry Lab website.