Bruce Reed

Bruce Reed
Associate Professor
Location: B1 293A
Phone: 519-888-4567 x48085


Bruce Reed carries out research in developmental and cell biology and is an expert on the model genetic organism Drosophila.

Drosophila Genetics / Cell Biology / Developmental Biology

I) Programmed Cell Death
Our lab uses the model genetic organism, Drosophila, to study fundamental questions relating to cell and developmental biology. In particular, we are interested in the regulation of programmed cell death (PCD). The extra-embryonic tissue known as the amnioserosa, which dies following the completion of dorsal closure, is an excellent system for studying PCD and is also ideal for live-imaging. Using the amnioserosa as a model system we study the following processes: 1) caspase activation; 2) autophagy; 3) contact dependent inhibition of PCD; 4) EGFR/Ras/MAPK dependent survival signaling. We are presently interested in how caspase activation and autophagy undergo cross-activation during the programmed death of the amnioserosa. During the process of dorsal closure the amnioserosa is internalized and undergoes programmed cell death.

II) The function of hindsight (homolog of RREB1)
Our lab also studies the regulation and function of the gene hindsight (hnt). hnt encodes the Drosophila homolog of the human Ras Responsive Element Binding Protein-1 (RREB1), a zinc finger protein and putative transcription factor. hnt loss-of-function mutants undergo premature amnioserosa death, and consequently fail in the morphogenetic processes of germ band retraction and dorsal closure. hnt is expressed in numerous tissues throughout development, including the amnioserosa, neurons of the developing peripheral nervous system, the embryonic and larval tracheal system, the larval and adult midgut, the pupal sensory organ precursors, and the ovarian follicular epithelium. In some cellular contexts the hnt gene is a target of the Notch signalling pathway, but can also modulate the cellular response to EGFR signalling. Our most recent projects concern the role of hnt in the specification of the adult intestinal stem cells from the undifferentiated pool of adult midgut precursor cells as well as the role of hnt in promoting intestinal stem cell-to-enterocyte differentiation.

Research Interests

  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Live-Imaging Microscopy
  • Programmed Cell Death
  • Stem Cell Biology & Cellular Differentiation
  • Physiology, Cell and Developmental Biology


  • 1992 Ph.D. Genetics, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1988 B.Sc. Molecular Biology & Genetics, University of Guelph, Canada


  • 1994 Foundation for Advanced Cancer Studies Life Sciences Research Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship
  • 1988 University of Guelph Beckman Prize in Molecular Biology & Genetics
  • 1988 Commonwealth Scholarship


Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology


  • BIOL 303 - Introductory Developmental Biology and Embryology
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2023
  • BIOL 308 - Principles of Molecular Biology
    • Taught in 2022
  • BIOL 484 - Advanced Eukaryotic Genetics
    • Taught in 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Ng WA, Ma A, Chen M, Reed BH. 2020. A Method for Rapid Selection of Randomly Induced Mutations in a Gene of Interest Using CRISPR/Cas9 Mediated Activation of Gene Expression. G3 (Bethesda) 10: 1893-1901.
  • Kim M, Du OY, Whitney RJ, Wilk R, Hu J, Krause HM, Kavaler J, Reed BH. 2020. A Functional Analysis of the Drosophila Gene hindsight: Evidence for Positive Regulation of EGFR Signaling. G3 (Bethesda) 10:117-127.
  • Reed, B. and N. Harden (2017). "Studying Nonproliferative Roles for Egfr Signaling in Tissue Morphogenesis Using Dorsal Closure of the Drosophila Embryo." Methods Mol Biol 1652: 229-256. PMID: 28791646 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7219-7_16
  • Baechler BL, McKnight C, Pruchnicki PC, Biro NA, Reed BH. (2016). Hindsight/RREB-1 functions in both the specification and differentiation of stem cells in the adult midgut of Drosophila. Biology Open 5 :1-10.
  • Ming L, Wilk R, Reed BH, Lipshitz HD. (2013). Drosophila Hindsight and mammalian RREB-1 are evolutionarily conserved DNA-binding transcriptional attenuators. Differentiation 86:159-170.
  • Shen, W., Chen, X., Cormier, O., Cheng, D. C.-P., Reed, B., and Harden, N. (2013). Modulation of Morphogenesis by Egfr during Dorsal Closure in Drosophila. PLoS ONE 8, e60180
  • Cormier O., Mohseni, N., Voytyuk, I., Reed, B.H. (2012). Autophagy can promote but is not required for epithelial cell extrusion in the amnioserosa of the Drosophila embryo. Autophagy 8: 2, 252-264.
  • Please see Bruce Reed's Google Scholar profile for a current list of his peer-reviewed articles: