Aimée K. Ryan

Aimee Ryan

Aimée K. Ryan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Human Genetics
Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre
Director, Developmental Biology Laboratory
Member, Division of Experimental Medicine
RI-MUHC, Room 415-2 Place Toulon, 4060 Ste. Catherine St. West
Montreal, Quebec, H3Z 2Z3

Tel: 514-412-4400 ext. 22853

aimee.ryan [at]

Biographical Sketch

Postdoctoral Training: University of California San Diego
PhD: Biochemistry, Queen's University
MSc: Biology (Human Genetics), Queen's University
BSc: Honours Genetics, University of Manitoba


Embryogenesis, organogenesis, asymmetric morphogenesis, claudin, tight junctions, Pitx2c, left-right patterning, neural tube closure, pituitary development

Research or Clinical Activities

My laboratory is investigating the molecular mechanisms that direct morphogenesis during early embryonic development.  Morphogenesis literally means “creation of shape”.  It is the process that drives the formation of organs and tissues and is required to generate the structurally complex 3-dimensional embryo. The forces that drive morphogenesis begin at the level of the cell and include changes in cell shape and adhesion, as well as changes in rates of proliferation and orientation of cell divisions. At the tissue level, groups of cells must undergo directed and coordinated movements that depend on the ability of cells to communicate with their neighbours. Throughout these movements, cells must remain oriented with respect to the anterior-posterior, dorsal-ventral and left-right axes of the embryo.

We are characterizing two major morphogenetic events during embryogenesis: development of the left-right axis and neural tube closure.  We have discovered that specific claudin family members regulate the direction of heart tube looping and neural tube closure.  Members of the claudin family regulate paracellular permeability, apical-basal cell polarity and cell adhesion, and link the tight junction to the actin cytoskeleton.  Contact us to find out more!

Selected Recent Publications

Collins, M.M., Baumholtz, A.I. and Ryan, A.K.  (2013) Claudin family members exhibit unique temporal and spatial expression boundaries in the chick embryo.  Tissue Barriers. 1(3): e24517

Collins, M.M., Baumholtz, A.I.  and Ryan, AK  (2012)  Claudin-5 expression in the vasculature of the developing chick embryo.  Gene Expression Patterns (in press; ePub available online 2 Feb 2012)

Coate TM, Raft S, Zhao X, Ryan AK, Crenshaw EB 3rd, Kelley MW. (2012) Otic mesenchyme cells regulate spiral ganglion axon fasciculation through a Pou3f4/EphA4 signaling pathway. Neuron. 73(1):49-63.

Haddad, N., Khairallah, H., Yu, M., Ryan, A.K. and Gupta, IR.  (2011) The tight junction protein Claudin-3 shows conserved expression in the nephric duct and ureteric bud and promotes tubulogenesis in vitro.  Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 301(5):F1057-65.

Gupta, I.R. and Ryan, A.K. (2010) Claudins: Unlocking the code to tight junction function during embryogenesis and in disease.  Clinical Genetics 77:314-325.

PubMed Publications – A. Ryan

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