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Julie Brill

Title: Senior Scientist, Cell Biology
Designations: PhD
Phone: 416-813-1500
Email: julie.brill@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact Name: Josephine Lau
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 309005
Alternate Email: josephine.lau@sickkids.ca
REACH Profile: Julie Brill's REACH profile

Biography

Dr. Julie Brill is a Senior Scientist in the Cell Biology Program at The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, a Professor of Molecular Genetics, and a Member of the Institute of Medical Science and the Collaborative Developmental Biology program at University of Toronto. She is internationally recognized for her discovery of cellular regulation and roles of phosphatidylinositol phosphates during animal development. In addition, her lab has recently begun to elucidate mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation during spermatogenesis.

Dr. Brill graduated with Distinction in Biology from Swarthmore College. She received her PhD in Biology from M.I.T. She did postdoctoral training at Stanford University School of Medicine and University of Washington. She is an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Research

Phosphatidylinositol phosphates (PIPs) are membrane lipids with roles in cell growth, signaling and morphogenesis. Alterations in the levels of PIPs are associated with human developmental disorders and diseases such as cancers, yet little is known about the normal roles of PIPs during animal development.  

The Brill lab investigates the roles of PIPs using powerful molecular genetic approaches available in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. For example, they’ve recently uncovered novel roles for PIPs and PIP pathway enzymes in sperm development, secretory granule maturation and tissue integrity. Brill's current research seeks to determine how PIPs and PIP pathway enzymes control these processes and to identify upstream regulators and downstream targets of PIP signaling 

In a second area of research, they have recently begun to study mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation and roles of long noncoding RNAs in sperm development. Because PIPs and RNA regulation play crucial roles in all eukaryotes, the Brill Lab anticipates that their results will reveal conserved cellular mechanisms that are fundamental to human development and disease.  

Education

  • 1981–1985: BA with Distinction in Biology, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, USA 
  • 1986–1993: PhD in Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA 
  • 1993–2000: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford School of Medicine, Palo Alto, USA 
  • 1997–2000: Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, Zoology Department, University of Washington, Seattle, USA 

Experience

  • 1983: Summer Student, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA 
  • 1984: Summer Student, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA 
  • 1985–1986: Research Assistant, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA 
  • 1986–1993: Graduate Student, Biology Department and Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA 
  • 1993–2000: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, USA 
  • 1997–2000: Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, Zoology Department, University of Washington, Seattle, USA 
  • 2001–2008: Senior Scientist, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology Program, The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario 
  • 2001–2008: Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Ontario 
  • 2001–Present: Member, Collaborative Specialization in Developmental Biology, University of Toronto, Ontario 
  • 2003–Present: Member, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Ontario 
  • 2008–2011: Senior Scientist, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology Program, The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario 
  • 2008–2013: Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Ontario 
  • 2011–present: Senior Scientist, Cell Biology Program, The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario 
  • 2013–2018: Director, Collaborative Specialization in Developmental Biology, University of Toronto, Ontario 
  • 2013–Present: Full Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Ontario 

Awards

  • 2015: Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 
  • 2017: Recipient, Excellence in Undergraduate Laboratory Teaching in Life Sciences Award, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto 

Editorial Appointments

  • 2009–2011: Associate Editor, BMC Cell Biology 
  • 2010–Present: Editorial Board: Molecular Biology of the Cell 
  • 2010–2017: Editorial Board, Spermatogenesis 
  • 2011–2012: Co-editor, Spermatogenesis: Special issue devoted to Drosophila sperm development 
  • 2012–2014: Editorial Advisor, BMC Cell Biology 
  • 2012–2014: Associate Editor, G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 
  • 2019: Guest Editor, PLoS Genetics 

Leadership Roles

  • 2004–2007: Eastern Director, Genetics Society of Canada 
  • 2007: Chair, Organizing Committee, Canadian Drosophila Research Conference, and Member, Local Organizing Committee, Genetics Society of Canada Conference 
  • 2007–2010: Treasurer, Genetics Society of Canada 
  • 2011–2016: Member, Women in Cell Biology Committee, American Society for Cell Biology 
  • 2014: Primary Organizer, Workshop on Drosophila male fertility as a cell biological model, Annual Drosophila Research Conference 
  • 2017–2020: Associate Member, Women in Cell Biology Committee, American Society for Cell Biology 
  • 2018: Co-organizer, FASEB Scientific Research Conference on Phospholipid Signaling 
  • 2019: Co-organizer, Canadian Drosophila Research Conference

Publications

  1. Polevoy, G., Wei, H. C., Wong, R., Szentpetery, Z., Kim, Y. J., Goldbach, P., Steinbach, S. K., Balla, T. and Brill, J. A. (2009) Dual roles for the Drosophila PI 4-kinase four wheel drive in localizing Rab11 during cytokinesis. J Cell Biol. Dec 14;187(6):847-858. PMID: 19995935
  2. Fabian, L., Wei, H. C., Rollins, J., Noguchi, T., Polevoy, G., Blankenship, J. T., Bellamkonda, K., Gervais, L., Guichet, A., Fuller, M. T. and Brill, J. A. (2010) Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate directs spermatid cell polarity and exocyst localization in Drosophila. Mol Biol Cell. May 1;21(9):1546-1555. PMID: 20237161  
  3. Del Bel, L., Griffiths, N., Ma, C. I. J., Blagoveshchenskaya, A., Wilk, R., Wei, H.-C., Burgess, J., M., Price, J. V., Mayinger, P. and Brill, J. A. (2018) The phosphoinositide phosphatase Sac1 regulates cell shape and microtubule stability in the developing Drosophila eye. Development. May 31;145(11). pii: dev15171. PMID: 29752385 
  4. Gupta, A. and Brill, J. A. (2018) Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate regulates cilium transition zone maturation in Drosophila melanogaster. J Cell Sci. Aug 17;131(16): pii: jcs218297. PMID: 30054387 
  5. Ma, C. I. J., Yang, Y., Kim, T., Chen, C. H., Polevoy, G., Vissa, M., Burgess, J. and Brill, J. A. (2020) An early endosome-derived retrograde trafficking pathway promotes secretory granule maturation. J Cell Biol. Mar 2;219(3). pii: e201808017. PMID: 32045479 

See all of Julie Brill's publications on PubMed.

Operating Grants

CIHR Project Grant (Co-applicant with Dr. H. Krause): lncRNAs in the male reproductive tract 

CIHR Project Grant (Principal applicant): Uncovering mechanisms of PI4P-dependent transport during secretory granule biogenesis 

NSERC Discovery Grant (Principal applicant): Post-transcriptional regulation of sperm development 

Equipment Grants

NSERC Research Tools and Instruments Grant (Principal applicant): Advanced microscopy system for real-time imaging of cellular dynamics during animal development 

Relevant pages

Cell Biology

We aim to understand how cells function at the molecular level, and how these functions go awry in disease states.

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