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Claire Brown - Assistant Professor & Director, Imaging Facility


Department of Physiology
McGill University
Life Sciences Complex (Bellini),
Room 137A
3649 Promenade Sir William Osler
Montréal, Québec H3G 0B1

514-398-4400 ext 00795

Claire [dot] Brown [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Laboratory web site:



Research Area:  Molecular & Cell Biology

Research Description:

Cell Migration
Proper regulation of cell migration is crucial for many biological processes including organ development, tissue repair and the immune response. Defects in cell migration play a central role in developmental disorders, neuronal disorders, tumorigenesis, immune disorders and cancer metastasis. Fundamentally, cell migration is regulated though small adhesive structures across the cell that assemble and disassemble allowing the cell to translocate. My lab applies advanced light microscopy tools including image correlation microscopy in order to understand the molecular mechanisms that spatially and temporally regulate adhesions and control cell migration. An understanding of these fundamental mechanisms will lead to new insights into what causes migration related defects and disease. We are specifically interested in understanding cell migration defects that cause breast cancer cell invasion and metastasis.

Instrument Standardization and Quality Control

As the Director of the McGill University Life Sciences Complex Imaging Facility we are developing protocols and standards for testing the quality of light microscopes. We have developed protocols for measuring laser stability, microscope alignment, resolution, and objective lens quality. We are leading world wide studies on instrument quality and publishing detailed protocols enabling microscopists world-wide to validate and maintain their equipment. These tests are applied routinely to all of the microscopes within the facility ensuring researchers are working on top performing equipment.

Imaging Facility

The facility has 13 state-of-the art light microscopy platforms used by ~150 users from 60 laboratories across Montreal to conduct their microscopy based research. The facility has expertise in many areas including live cell imaging, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM), multi-photon microscopy, laser micro-dissection, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), image processing and analysis, spectral imaging and high content screening. We have also developed and run more than 30 workshops and courses, in collaboration with corporations in the field of light microscopy, including the inaugural Montreal Light Microscopy Course (MLMC) in 2010. We are busy planning MLMC 2012 for July 9-20, 2012.

Education:  B.Sc. Saint Mary's University, Ph.D., University of Western Ontario

Recent Publications:

Broussard, J. A., Lin, Rappaz, B., Webb, D. J., Brown, C. M. “Intra-molecular Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) Microscopy” Nat. Prot., In Press.

Broussard, J. A., Lin, W. H., Majumdar, D., Anderson, B., Eason, B., Brown, C. M. & Webb, D. J. “The endosomal adaptor protein APPL1 impairs the turnover of leading edge adhesions to regulate cell migration.” Mol Biol Cell 23, 1486-1499 (2012).

Lacoste, J., Vining, C., Zuo, D., Spurmanis, A., Brown, C.M. (2012) “Optimal Conditions for Live Cell Microscopy and Raster Image Correlation Spectroscopy (RICS)” Chapter in Annual Reviews in Fluorescence 2010, Editor Chris D. Geddes.

Lacoste, J., Young, K. and Brown, C. M. (In Press) “Live-cell Migration and Adhesion Turnover Assays”, Cell Imaging Techniques, Volume 2, Editor Dr. Douglas Taatjes. Humana Press.

Webb, D. J. and Brown, C. M. (In Press) “Epi-fluorescence Microscopy”, Cell Imaging Techniques, Volume 2, Editor Dr. Douglas Taatjes. Humana Press.

Aswani, K., Jinadasa, T., Brown, C. M., “Fluorescence microscopy Light Sources” Microscopy   Today, 20(4), (2012).

Cole, R.W., Jinadasa, T., Brown, C.M., (2011) "Measuring and Interpreting Point SpreadFunctions to Determine Confocal Microscope Resolution and Ensure Quality Control." Nat. Prot. 6, 1929-1941 (2011)

Wahba, A.S., et al. (2011) " Phenylpyrrolocytosine-modified siRNA: Unobtrusive base modification for monitoring activity and cellular trafficking", ACS Chemical Biology, Epub June 21, 2011.

Frigault, M. M., Lacoste, J., Swift, J.L., Brown, C. M. (2009) "Live-cell Microscopy: Tips and Tools." J. Cell Sci. 122, 753-67. 

Huot, M.E., C.M. Brown, N. Lamarche-Vane, and S. Richard. (2009) "An adaptor role for cytoplasmic Sam68 in modulating Src activity during cell polarization." Mol Cell Biol. 7:1933-43.

Brown, C. M., Dalal, R. B., Hebert, B., Digman, M. A., Horwitz, A. F., Gratton, E. (2008) “Raster Image Correlation Spectroscopy (RICS) Measuring Fast Protein Dynamics and Concentrations with a Commercial Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope” J. Microscopy, 229, 78-91.

Digman, M.A.*, Brown, C. M.*, Horwitz, A. F., Mantulin, W. W., and Gratton, E. (2008) “Paxillin Dynamics Measured During Adhesion Assembly and Disassembly by Correlation Spectroscopy.” Biophys. J., 94(7), 2819-2831. * Equal Contribution