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Welcome to the website of Dr. Brenda Gallie's research laboratory!

Our laboratory is interested in investigating fundamental mechanisms of cancer, specifically focused on, but not confined to, the childhood eye cancer, retinoblastoma (OMIM # 180200). Retinoblastoma is caused by mutations in both alleles (copies) of the RB1 gene within a cell in the developing eye. However, loss of these two alleles (termed M1 and M2 mutational events) is not sufficient for the cancer to develop: other changes, M3 to Mn, must also occur.

The various research projects in our lab revolve around characterizing these downstream changes, which may be shared between retinoblastoma and other cancers. We are investigating regions of the genome that are often lost or gained in retinoblastoma for potential oncogenes (gained in cancer) or tumor suppressors (lost in cancer), and we are examining the role of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in retinoblastoma. We are also seeking the cell type of origin of retinoblastoma amongst the many cells of the complex developing retina. Finally, we are examining the RB1 gene itself for novel regulatory regions and mutations, and seeking retina-specific binding partners of the pRB protein.

We use a variety of bioinformatic, biochemical, molecular biological and cell biological techniques, including quantitative multiplex PCR, RT-PCR, immunoblotting, immunohistochemistry, human cell culture and mouse genetics.
Our laboratory is part of the Division of Cancer Informatics in the Ontario Cancer Institute at Princess Margaret Hospital, part of the University Health Network. Our graduate students call the departments of Molecular & Medical Genetics and Medical Biophysics of the University of Toronto home. Dr. Gallie is also a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine. We are affiliated with the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network.

We invite you to explore our site to learn more about retinoblastoma and our research. For information for retinoblastoma patients and their families, please click here.