Gregory Kelly

Genetics & Development Dr. Gregory Kelly
Associate Scientist


Associate Scientist, Division of Genetics and Development, Children’s Health Research Institute
Professor, Department of Biology, Western University

How my research helps children

My work involves looking at how cells communicate in the early embryo. One question that has and continues to fascinate scientists is how plants and animals can start out as a single cell and grow into millions if not trillions of cells. In our case we are made up of about 70-75 trillion cells, many of which are doing fundamentally different things like growing hair, making saliva, or allowing you to hit a baseball. My job is to help unravel the mystery behind how we and other animals develop into adults. To get to an answer, I am trying to figure out why when one cell receives a signal it goes onto form cells with a specific function while its neighbors interpret other signals and give rise to cells with completely different roles.


Current Research Activities

We are currently working on identifying signals that instruct normal and cancer cells to change their shape and to move. These signals are part of an extensive network where some work together while others work in opposition. We have focused on a population of stem-like cells that mimic one of the earliest epithelial to mesenchymal transitions in the mammalian embryo and to date have placed several proteins in a pathway we believe is responsible for specifying cell fate towards extraembryonic endoderm. We also have evidence that these proteins play a role in the early development of the zebrafish and an investigation is underway to determine what would happen if these proteins were not expressed in these embryos. Ultimately, these same signals are likely to play a major role in cancer metastasis and for that reason we are actively pursuing these studies using different cell models.

Research Team

Dr. Kelly’s lab consists of three graduate students, and five undergraduate students.

Awards & Grants

Awards & Grants (past 5 years)

Funding in support of "Assessing the teratogenic effects of iron oxidizing bacterial biomass on zebrafish embryogenesis" – Awarded by Western Univeristy Academic Development Fund

Funding in support of "Fluorescence and absorbance detection of ROS – Awarded by Natural Science and Engineering Research of Canada (NSERC)

Funding in support of "Imaging and microscopy suite software and hardware upgrades" – Awarded by Natural Science and Engineering Research of Canada (NSERC)

The Edward G Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching – Awarded by The University of Western Ontario

Funding in support of “Cell signaling crosstalk in development” – Awarded by Natural Science and Engineering Research of Canada (NSERC)

Funding in support of “Luminescence and fluorescence detection of gene expression and reactive oxygen species” – Awarded by Natural Science and Engineering Research of Canada (NSERC)

Funding in support of "Request for Gradient PCR Thermocycler and -86C Ultra-low Temperature Freezer" – Awarded by Natural Science and Engineering Research of Canada (NSERC)

Funding in support of “High efficiency DNA transfer into mammalian and Nonmammalian cells” – Awarded by Natural Science and Engineering Research of Canada (NSERC)

Funding in support of “Regulation of signal transduction pathways at the cortical cytoskeletal-plasma membrane interface” – Awarded by Natural Science and Engineering Research of Canada (NSERC)

Recent Publications


Reactive oxygen species and Wnt signaling crosstalk patterns mouse extraembryonic endoderm
Wen JWH, Hwang JTK, Kelly GM
Cell Signal. 2012; 24:2337-2348

GATA6 and FOXA2 regulate Wnt6 expression during extraembryonic endoderm formation
Hwang JTK, Kelly GM
Stem Cells & Development. 2012; PMID: 22607194

Lectin-induced activation of plasma membrane NADPH oxidase in cholesterol-depleted human neutrophils
Gorudko IV, Mukhortava AV, Caraher B, Ren M, Cherenenkevich SN, Kelly GM, Timoshenko AV
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2011; 516:173-81

Rho kinase inhibition with Y-27632 reduces endoderm lineage specification during directed differentiation of P19 teratocarcinoma cells
Krawetz R, Taiani J, Greene A, Kelly GM, Rancourt DE
PLoS One. 2011; 6(11):e26484

Post-translational modification of CASK leads to its proteasome-dependent degradation
Sun Q, Kelly GM
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2010 Jan;42(1):90-7

Coordinate Galpha13 and Wnt6-beta-catenin signaling in F9 embryonal carcinoma cells is required for primitive endoderm differentiation
Krawetz R, Kelly GM
Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Aug;87(4):567-80

Altering PI3K-Akt signalling in zebrafish embryos affects PTEN phosphorylation and gastrulation Finkielsztein A, Kelly GM
Biol Cell. 2009 Aug 25; 101(11):661-78

Mouse G-protein gamma3 expression in the developing CNS and neural crest cell derivatives
Kelly GM, Saijoh Y, Finkielsztein A, Mangos S
Int J Dev Biol. 2008; 52(8):1143-50

Wnt6 induces the specification and epithelialization of F9 embryonal carcinoma cells to primitive endoderm
Krawetz R, Kelly GM
Cell Signal. 2008 Mar; 20(3):506-17

Moesin signalling induces F9 teratocarcinoma cells to differentiate into primitive extraembryonic endoderm
Krawetz R, Kelly GM
Cell Signal. 2008 Jan; 20(1):163-75

Additional publications



Phone: (519) 661-3121
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: gkelly [at] uwo [dot] ca

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