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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Colin McKerlie, DVM, DVSC, MRCVS

Research Institute
Senior Associate Scientist
Translational Medicine

University of Toronto
Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology

Other Positions

Staff Scientist
Mount Sinai Hospital
Lunenfeld-Tanenbarm Research Institute

The Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics
Director, Research Partnerships

Phone: 416-813-7654 ext.309264
Email: colin.mckerlie@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact: Ms. Cristina Mate
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 ext.301533
Alternate Email: cristina.mate@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

The Centre For Phenogenomics

Brief Biography

Dr. 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 Research Institute 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 and licensed by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario.

Dr. McKerlie is also 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. He is also a staff scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, one of the world’s leading academic centres in biomedical research, particularly in functional genomics and mutant mouse and embryonic stem cell technologies to generate models of human disease.

Research Interests

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.

Research Activities

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 clinical and 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 project-specific and large-scale international mutagenesis programs and in our characterization and discovery efforts using mouse models of human disease. I also established a residency program in my laboratory and the Ontario Veterinary College for post-DVM candidates for training in comparative pathology with a focus on the spontaneous and induced pathology of the mouse. To learn more, visit the Clinical Phenotyping Services and Pathology Services pages on phenogenomics.ca.

Mouse model production and archiving: Activity in my molecular biology and biorepository lab is focused on research and development in the design and production of mutant mouse models, and germ cell cryopreservation for archiving and reanimation using in vitro fertilization. The goal of these efforts is; 1) to research, develop, and validate more efficient and reproducible techniques for production of predictive models (Transgenics, ES-cell chimeras, and Cas9 RNA-guided nuclease for mice and rats (aka CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing); and 2) optimize germ cell cryopreservation and mouse model distribution. We use these techniques to support our national repository and resource for the physical archive of cryopreserved sperm, 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. We also provide expertise and services as a CFI-designated National Research Facility and Genome Canada-designated Genomics Innovation Network node to provide bespoke mouse models to large-scale mouse phenogenomics projects and Canadian and international researchers. To learn more, visit the Model Production Services page on phenogenomics.ca. 

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

External Funding

  • Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • Genome Canada
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Ontario Genomics Institute
  • European Commission Horizon2020


Karp NA, et al., McKerlie C, et al., White JK. Prevalence of sexual dimorphism in mammalian phenotypic traits. Nat Commun. 2017 Jun 26;8:15475. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15475. PMID: 28650954.

Meehan TF, McKerlie C, et al., Smedley D. Disease model discovery from 3,328 gene knockouts by The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium. Nat Genet. 2017 Aug;49(8): 1231-1238. doi: 10.1038/ng.3901. Epub 2017 June 26. PMID: 8650483.

Dickinson ME, McKerlie C, et al., Murray SA. High-throughput discovery of novel developmental phenotypes. Nature. 2016 Sep 22;537(7621):508-514. doi: 10.1038/nature19356. Epub 2016 September 14. PMID: 27626380

Lloyd KCK, McKerlie C, Seong JK, Neff F. Comment on “One health, one literature: Weaving together veterinary and medical research”. Letter to Science Transl Med 7, 2015 December 9; 7(317): 317le3. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad4954.

Hrabě de Angelis M, McKerlie C, et al., Brown SDM. Analysis of gene function through broad-based phenotypic screens across a consortium of mouse clinics. Nat Genet. 2015 Sep;47(9):969-978. doi: 10.1038/ng.3360. Epub 2015 Jul 27. PMID: 26214591.

Adissu HA, Medhanie GA, Morikawa L, White JK, Newbigging S, McKerlie C. Right ventricular epicardial fibrosis in mice with sternal segment dislocation. Veterinary Pathology 52 (5): 967-976. September 2015.

Adissu HA, Estabel J, et al., Newbigging S, Jones N, Morikawa L, White JK, McKerlie C. Histopathology reveals correlative and unique phenotypes in a high throughput mouse phenotyping screen. Dis Model Mech 7 (5): 515-524. May 2014. doi: 10.1242/dmm.015263. Epub 2014 Mar 20.

Brown S, et al., McKerlie C, et al., Green E. Mouse already being charted gene by gene. Correspondence to Nature. Nature 508 (7496), 319. 17 April 2014.