Facebook Pixel Code
About Sickkids
About SickKids

Colin McKerlie, DVM, DVSC, MRCVS

Research Institute
Senior Associate Scientist
Translational Medicine

University of Toronto
Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology

Other Positions
The Centre for Phenogenomics
Director, Research Partnerships

Staff Scientist
Mount Sinai Hospital
Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute

Phone: 647-837-5840
Fax: 647-837-5834
Email: colin.mckerlie@phenogenomics.ca
Alternate Contact: Ms. Joanne Roberti
Alternate Phone: 647-837-5822 ext.2922

For more information, visit:

Canadian Mouse Mutant Repository

Centre For Modeling Human Disease

Brief Biography

Dr. Colin McKerlie is a veterinary pathologist and phenogenomic scientist. He came to SickKids in June 2002 from the Research Institute at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where he was Director of the Department of Comparative Research. He is currently a Senior Associate Scientist in the Translational Medicine program at SickKids and a Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology at the University of Toronto.

He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 1991, and his Doctorate of Veterinary Science (DVSc) in comparative pathology from the University of Guelph in 1997. Dr. McKerlie is a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

In addition to his appointment at SickKids, Dr. McKerlie is the Director of Research Partnerships at The Centre for Phenogenomics, a research-enabling centre that is among the largest genetics centres in the world dedicated to the development and study of mouse models of human disease. Dr. McKerlie is also a staff scientist at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, one of the world’s leading academic centres in biomedical research, particularly in functional genomics and transgenic mouse and embryonic stem cell technologies to generate animal models of human disease.

Research Interests

  • Pathology phenotype of mouse models of human disease (Phenotyping for gene, target, & drug effect)
  • Cryobiology and in vitro fertilization of mice (Cryopreservation & IVF)

Research Activities

My research group is working on two project areas that are all linked by a common goal to discover and understand the function of genes that cause disease in children and adults.

1. Pathology phenogenomics for mouse models of human disease

Mutations, which cause damage to genes, are important causes of disease. The high degree of similarity between the genes of humans and mice, the similar biology of these two species, and the ease with which the mouse genome can be experimentally manipulated, make the mouse an ideal model organism to study the genetics and biology of human disease. My lab at SickKids focuses on the development and application of morphology-based and slide-based techniques to characterize the function of a variety of novel genes and genetic pathways. We are applying these tools in targeted and random mutagenesis programs and in our characterization and discovery efforts using mouse models of human disease.

2. Cryopreservation and in vitro fertilization for the mouse

Genome Canada supports a project in my lab that is also focused on research and development in mouse-based cryopreservation and in vitro fertilization. This effort is necessary to research, discover, and develop robust and efficient techniques for germ cell cryopreservation. We use these techniques to support our national repository and resource for the physical archive of cryopreserved ES cells, spermatozoa, ova, embryos, and tissue DNA generated by Canada’s mouse genome effort, along with the fixed and processed tissue archive required to complement the frozen resource.

Future Research Interests

I am also interested in the challenges and potential for innovative approaches to phenogenomic informatics in discovery, integration, dissemination and visualization of phenotype and genotype data.

External Funding

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • Genome Canada
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Ontario Genomics Institute


Schofield PN, Dubus P, Klein L, Moore M, McKerlie C, Ward JM, Sundberg JP. Pathology of the laboratory mouse: An international workshop on challenges for high throughput phenotyping. Toxicol Pathol 39 (3): 559-62. April 2011.

Yildiz C, Law N, Ottaviani P, Jarvi K, McKerlie C. Comparison of sperm quality and DNA integrity in mouse sperm exposed to various cooling velocities and osmotic stress. Theriogenol 74 (8): 1420-2430. November 2010.

Schofield PN, et al., McKerlie C, et al. (CASIMIR Meeting Rome Participants). Opinion - Post-publication sharing of data and tools.  Nature 461 (7260): 171-173. 10 September 2009.

Liu L, Nutter LMJ, Law N, McKerlie C. Sperm freezing and in vitro fertilization in three sub-strains of C57BL/6 mice. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci 48 (1): 39-43. January 2009.

Schofield PN, Brown SDM, Sundberg JP, Warren M, Dubus P, Ellender M, Fiette L, Rozell B, Quintanilla-Martinez L, Raspa M, Song J-Y, van der Valk M, Arends M, McKerlie C. Letter to the Editor PRIME importance of pathology expertise. Nat Biotechnol 27 (1): 24-25. January 2009.

Yildiz C, Fleming C, Ottaviani P, McKerlie C. Fresh and frozen-thawed sperm quality, nuclear DNA integrity, in vitro fertility, and embryo development to live-born offspring of N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mice. Cryobiol 57 (2): 156-162. October 2008.

Liu L, Wood G, Morikawa L, Ayearst R, Fleming C, McKerlie C. Restoration of fertility by orthotopic transplantation of frozen adult mouse ovaries. Human Repro 23(1): 122-128. January 2008.

Chen N-J, Mirtsos C, Suh D, Lu Y-C, Lin W-J, McKerlie C, Lee T, Baribault H, Tian H, Yeh W-C. C5L2 is critical for the biological activities of the anaphylatoxins C5a and C3a. Nature 446 (71322): 203-207. March 2007.

McKerlie C. Cause and effect considerations in pathology diagnosis and pathology phenotyping of genetically engineered mice. ILAR J (Nat Acad Sci) 47 (2): 155-161. March 2006.

Wood G, Fleming C, Flenniken A, Kassam N, Morikawa L, Porter R, Rossant J, McKerlie C. Two mouse mutations mapped to chromosome 11 with differing morphologies, but similar progressive inflammatory alopecia. Exp Derm 14 (5): 373-379. May 2005.