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SickKids

Brenda Gallie

Title: Ophthalmologist, Retinoblastoma Program, Division of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
Designations: MD, FRCSC, CM, OOnt
Email: brenda.gallie@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact Name: Kaitlyn Flegg
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 203287
Alternate Email: kaitlyn.flegg@sickkids.ca

Biography

Dr. Gallie is an ophthamologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, Paediatric Ocular Oncologist at Alberta Children’s Hospital, Professor at the University of Toronto, and Affiliated Scientist and Lead of Health Informatics Research in the University Health Network Techna Institute. Gallie completed a MD at Queen’s University, Residency at the University of Toronto and post-graduate research training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Gallie’s research has improved outcomes for children affected by retinoblastoma worldwide and revealed fundamental mechanisms underpinning the basic molecular genetics of cancers broadly. In 2014, Gallie was appointed to the Order of Canada in recognition of her pioneering research in retinoblastoma.

Research

Since 1976, Gallie has been researching all aspects of the rare children’s eye cancer retinoblastoma. Gallie’s research resulted in the discovery of fundamental principles of tumor suppressor genes and the regulation of activity of the retinoblastoma gene (RB) and protein. Gallie developed a highly sensitive and cost-effective methodology for identification of RB gene mutations that has demonstrated a beneficial impact on health care quality and economy. Gallie led the Canadian Retinoblastoma Strategy to develop the world’s first retinoblastoma clinical care guidelines.

Gallie currently leads a Phase I clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of a novel sustained release topotecan episcleral plaque (also referred to as a Chemoplaque).

To support quality clinical care for the 8,000 children newly diagnosed each year with retinoblastoma globally, Gallie and her Health Informatics Research Team at the Techna Institute, developed a point-of-care database, DEPICT HEALTH. Currently being deployed by the International Retinoblastoma Consortium, DEPICT HEALTH enhances communication with patients and across healthcare teams independent of geography, and supports quality care and research. Empowering unprecedented research on all children affected by retinoblastoma, DEPICT HEALTH will result in evidence-based standards of care, a learning health system and ultimately transform retinoblastoma into a “Zero Death” cancer.

Education and experience

  • 1965–1969: Doctor of Medicine, School of Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON
  • 1970–1971: Research Fellow, Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • 1971–1974: Residency Training, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • 1975–1976: Research Fellowship in Immunology & Cancer, Department of Ophthalmology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA
  • 1985–present: Retinoblastoma Program Head, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, SickKids, Toronto, ON
  • 1988–present: Professor, Departments of Departments of Medical Biophysics, Molecular Genetics, and Ophthalmology and Vision Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • 1999–present: Head of Health Informatics Research, Techna Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, ON

Achievements

  • 1983: Honor Award - American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • 1998: Distinguished Scientist - Medical Research Council of Canada
  • 1999: O Harold Warwick Prize - National Cancer Institute of Canada
  • 2006: Member of the Order of Ontario
  • 2008: The Ellsworth Lecture - International Society of Eye Genetics Disease and Retinoblastoma
  • 2009: 3rd Martin J. Steinbach Lectureship – University of Toronto, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
  • 2010: Bowman Lecture and Medal - Royal College of Ophthalmologists, United Kingdom
  • 2013: Life-time Achievement Award - Canadian Ophthalmological Society
  • 2015: Member of the Order of Canada
  • 2018: Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research - Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education
  • 2019: The First Murphree Lecture - International Society Ocular Oncology

Publications

  1. Corson T. W., Gallie B. L. One hit, two hits, three hits, more? Genomic changes in the development of retinoblastoma. Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2007 Apr 16;46(7):617-34.
  2. Dimaras H., Khetan V., Halliday W., Orlic M., Prigoda N. L., Piovesan B., Marrano P., Corson T. W., Eagle R. C., Jr., Squire J. A., Gallie B. L. Loss of RB1 induces non-proliferative retinoma: increasing genomic instability correlates with progression to retinoblastoma. Hum Mol Genet. 2008 May 15;17(10):1363-72.
  3. Rushlow DE, Mol BM, Kennett JY, Yee S, Pajovic S, Theriault BL, Prigoda-Lee NL, Spencer C, Dimaras H, Corson TW, Pang R, Massey C, Godbout R, Jiang Z, Zacksenhaus E, Paton K, Moll AC, Houdayer C, Raizis A, Halliday W, Lam WL, Boutros PC, Lohmann D, Dorsman JC, Gallie BL. Characterisation of retinoblastomas without RB1 mutations: genomic, gene expression, and clinical studies. The lancet oncology. 2013 Apr;14(4):327-34. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23498719. 
  4. Dimaras H, Corson TW, Cobrinik D, White A, Zhao J, Munier FL, Abramson DH, Shields CL, Chantada GL, Njuguna F, Gallie BL. Retinoblastoma. Nature Reviews Disease Primers. 2015:15021.
  5. Berry JL, Polski A, et al. The RB1 Story: Characterization and Cloning of the First Tumor Suppressor Gene. Genes (Basel). 2019;10(11). Epub 2019/11/07. doi: 10.3390/genes10110879. PubMed PMID: 31683923; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC6895859.

Funding

Dr. Gallie’s research is currently supported by external grants including:

  • Uplifting Athletes - $49,489 USD
  • After the Glow - $20,000 USD
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