Ashley Bruce

Associate Professor
Cell & Systems Biology
Research Areas: 
Cell & Developmental Biology
Graduate Programs: 
Cell & Systems Biology, Developmental Biology
Office phone: 
Lab phone: 
RW 606A
RW 606/607

ashley [dot] bruce (at)utoronto [dot] ca


Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto
25 Harbord St.
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 3G5


The goal of my research program is to answer the question of how cell movements are coordinated during embryonic development. Transformation of a simple cleavage stage embryo into a complex adult relies upon an exquisite series of carefully orchestrated cell movements. In all animals, dramatic cellular rearrangements generate the multilayered body plan by a process termed gastrulation. Although modes of gastrulation vary widely in the animal kingdom, they all draw upon a set of relatively simple cell behaviors, different combinations of which generate the array of different gastrulation patterns observed in nature. By examining cell behaviors in the experimentally tractable zebrafish system, we will learn about general cellular properties and mechanisms of cell movements that are likely to be widely used throughout animal development. This knowledge should also be useful in understanding disease states resulting from abnormal cell movements, such as congenital birth defects.

Lepage, S., Tada, M., Bruce, A. (2014).   Zebrafish Dynamin is required for maintenance of enveloping layer integrity and the progression of epiboly. Developmental Biology. 385, 52-66.
Du, S., Draper, B.W., Mione, M., Moens, C.B., Bruce, A.E.E. (2012).  Differential regulation of epiboly initiation and progression by zebrafish Eomesodermin A. Developmental Biology. 362, 1213-1228.
Siddiqui, M., Sheikh, H., Tran, C., Bruce, A.E.E. (2010).  The tight junction protein Claudin E is required for zebrafish epiboly. Developmental Dynamics. 239, 715-722.
Lepage, S.E., Bruce, A.E.E. (2010).  Zebrafish Epiboly: Mechanics and Mechanisms . International Journal of Developmental Biology. 54, 1213-1228.
Carfagnini, A.G., Rodd, F.H., Jeffers, K.B., Bruce, A.E.E. (2009).  The effects of habitat complexity on aggression and fecundity in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 86, 403-409.
Dixon Fox, M., Bruce, A.E.E. (2009).  Short- and long-range functions of Goosecoid in zebrafish axis formation are independent of Chordin, Noggin1 and Follistatin-like1b. Development. 136, 1675-1685.
Lepage, S.E., Bruce, A.E.E. (2008).  Characterization and comparative expression of zebrafish calpain system genes during early development. Developmental Dynamics. 237, 819-829.
Bruce, A.E.E., Sampath, K. (2008).  Morphing Morphogenesis. Zebrafish. 5, 197-200.
Miao, M., Bruce, A.E.E., Bhanji, T., Keeley, F.W. (2007).  Differential expression of two tropoeslastin genes in zebrafish. Matrix Biology. 26, 115-124.
Walton, R.Z., Bruce, A.E.E., Olivey, H.E., Najib, K., Earley, J.U., Ho, R.K., Svensson, E.C. (2006).  Fog1 is required for cardiac looping in zebrafish. Developmental Biology. 298, 482-493.
Bruce, A.E.E., Howley, C., Fox Dixon, M., Ho, R.K. (2005).  The T-box gene, eomesodermin, and the homeobox-containing Mix/Bix gene, mtx2, regulate epiboly movements in the zebrafish. Developmental Dynamics. 233, 105-114.
Bruce, A.E.E., Howley, C., Zhou, Y., Vickers, S.L., Silver, L.M., King, M.L., Ho, R.K. (2003).  The maternally expressed zebrafish T-box gene, eomesodermin, regulates organizer formation. Development. 130, 5503-5517.