Amy Merrill-Brugger

CSA 141, HSC 9062
Phone: (323)442-1147
Fax: (323)442-2981

Amy Merrill-Brugger, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Assistant Professor, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

  • University of California, Santa Barbara
    Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

  • University of Southern California
    Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

  • 2010 - present - Assistant Professor - Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2010 - present - Assistant Professor - Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2009 - 2010 - Post-Doctoral Fellow - Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2007 - 2009 - Post-Doctoral Fellow - Medical Genetics, Cedars Sinai Medical Center
  • 2005 - 2007 - Post-Doctoral Fellow - Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA
  • 1998 - 2005 - Doctoral Candidate - Department of Biochemistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
  • 1997 - 1998 - Research Assistant - Department of Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 1996 - 1997 - Student Researcher - Department of Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 2010 - Postdoctoral Trainee Research Award, American Society of Human Genetics
  • 2009-2010 - NIH K30 Translational Investigation Training Fellowship, UCLA
  • 2009 - Postdoctoral Trainee Research Award, American Society of Human Genetics
  • 2008 - Sports Spectacular Fellowship, Cedars-Sinai Sports Spectacular Endowment
  • 2007-2009 - Medical Genetics Fellowship, UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Intercampus Training Program
  • 2007 - Association for the Advancement of Science Sponsored Member, Science Magazine
  • 2006 - Postdoctoral Poster Winner, School of Dentistry Research Day, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2005-2007 - Postdoctoral Fellowship, NIDCR Comprehensive Oral Health Research Training Grant, UCSF
  • 2005-2007 - Society for Developmental Biology Member
  • 2004 - Invited guest student speaker, Mouse Molecular Genetics Meeting, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • 2000-2001 - American Heart Association Pre-doctoral Fellowship (Ref#001004Y)
  • 1997 - Distinction in the Major, Department of Molecular Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 1997 - Society of Technical Communication Writing Award
  • 1996-1997 - Honors Programs, Department of Molecular Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Distinguishing between Interacellular FGF Signaling in Osteoprogenitor Cells during Craniofacial Development - Grant ##5-FY12-166

  • Principal Investigator: Amy Merrill-Brugger, Ph.D.
  • Sponsor: March of Dimes Foundation (MOD)
  • Period: 02/01/2012-01/31/2014
  • Goal: The goal of this project is to determine how distinct routes of FGFR2 signaling differentially regulate osteoprogenitor cell proliferation and differentiation during craniofacial development.

Defining the distinction between cell surface and nuclear activities of FGFR2 signaling during skeletal development - Grant #USC Zumberge Award

  • Principal Investigator: Amy Merrill-Brugger, Ph.D.
  • Sponsor: James H. Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund
  • Period: 07/01/2011-06/30/2012
  • Goal: To employ the mutant FGFR2 to define a distinction between intracellular and extracellular-activated FGFR2 during skeletal development.

Defining the FGFR2 disorder Bent Bone Dysplasia Syndrome as a Ribosomopathy - Grant ##6-FY15-233

  • Principal Investigator: Amy Merrill-Brugger, Ph.D.
  • Sponsor: March of Dimes Foundation (MOD)
  • Period: 06/01/2015-05/31/2018
  • Goal: To uncover the disease mechanisms of Bent Bone Dysplasia syndrome.

The Role of FGFR2 in Protein Synthesis During Skeletal Development - Grant #5 R01 DE025222

  • Principal Investigator: Amy Merrill-Brugger, Ph.D.
  • Sponsor: National Institutes of Health
  • Period: 07/01/2015-06/30/2020
  • Goal: To advance our fundamental understanding of how Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 2 (FGFR2) regulates skeletal progenitor cell development by studying an unexpected role for the receptor in protein synthesis.
  1. Neben CL, Tuzon CT, Mao X, Lay FD, Merrill AE. (2017) FGFR2 Mutations in Bent Bone Dysplasia Syndrome Activate Nucleolar Stress and Perturb Cell Fate Determination. Hum Mol Genet. 2017 Jun 8. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddx209. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28595297.

  2. Salva JE, Merrill AE. (2017) Signaling networks in joint development. Dev Dyn. 2017 Apr;246(4):262-274. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24472. Epub 2016 Dec 29. Review. PubMed PMID: 27859991; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5354978.

  3. Neben CL, Lay FD, Mao X, Tuzon CT, Merrill AE. (2017) Ribosome biogenesis is dynamically regulated during osteoblast differentiation. Gene. 2017 May 15;612:29-35. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2016.11.010. Epub 2016 Nov 12. PubMed PMID: 27847259; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5382099.

  4. Neben CL, Roberts RR, Dipple KM, Merrill AE, Klein OD. (2016) Modeling craniofacial and skeletal congenital birth defects to advance therapies. Hum Mol Genet. 2016 Oct 1;25(R2):R86-R93. Review. PubMed PMID: 27346519; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5036869.

  5. Krakow D, Cohn DH, Wilcox WR, Noh GJ, Raffel LJ, Sarukhanov A, Ivanova MH, Danielpour M, Grange DK, Elliott AM, Bernstein JA, Rimoin DL, Merrill AE, Lachman RS. (2016) Clinical and radiographic delineation of Bent Bone Dysplasia-FGFR2 type or Bent Bone Dysplasia with Distinctive Clavicles and Angel-shaped Phalanges. Am J Med Genet A. 2016 Oct;170(10):2652-61. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.37772. PubMed PMID: 27240702.

  6. Noack Watt KE, Achilleos A, Neben CL, Merrill AE, Trainor PA. (2016) The Roles of RNA Polymerase I and III Subunits Polr1c and Polr1d in Craniofacial Development and in Zebrafish Models of Treacher Collins Syndrome. PLoS Genet. 2016 Jul 22;12(7):e1006187. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006187. PubMed PMID: 27448281; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4957770.

  7. Zieba J, Forlenza KN, Khatra JS, Sarukhanov A, Duran I, Rigueur D, Lyons KM, Cohn DH, Merrill AE, Krakow D. (2016) TGFβ and BMP Dependent Cell Fate Changes Due to Loss of Filamin B Produces Disc Degeneration and Progressive Vertebral Fusions. PLoS Genet. 2016 Mar 28;12(3):e1005936. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005936. eCollection 2016 Mar. PubMed PMID: 27019229; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4809497.

  8. Neben CL, Merrill AE. (2015) Signaling Pathways in Craniofacial Development: Insights from Rare Skeletal Disorders. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2015;115:493-542. doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2015.09.005. Review. PubMed PMID: 26589936.

  9. Neben CL, Idoni B, Salva JE, Tuzon CT, Rice JC, Krakow D, Merrill AE. (2014) Bent bone dysplasia syndrome reveals nucleolar activity for FGFR2 in ribosomal DNA transcription. Hum Mol Genet. 2014 Nov 1;23(21):5659-71. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddu282. Epub 2014 Jun 6. PubMed PMID: 24908667; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4189901.

  10. Trainor PA, Merrill AE. (2014) Ribosome biogenesis in skeletal development and the pathogenesis of skeletal disorders. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Jun;1842(6):769-78. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.11.010. Epub 2013 Nov 16. Review. PubMed PMID: 24252615; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4020712.

  11. Merrill AE, Sarukhanov A, Krejci P, Idoni B, Camacho N, Estrada KD, Lyons KM, Deixler H, Robinson H, Chitayat D, Curry CJ, Lachman RS, Wilcox WR, Krakow D. (2012) Bent Bone Dysplasia-FGFR2 type, a Distinct Skeletal Disorder, Has Deficient Canonical FGF Signaling. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Mar 9;90(3):550-557. Epub 2012 Mar 1. PubMed PMID: 22387015; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3309195.

  12. Alanay Y, Avaygan H, Camacho N, Utine GE, Boduroglu K, Aktas D, Alikasifoglu M, Tuncbilek E, Orhan D, Bakar FT, Zabel B, Superti-Furga A, Bruckner-Tuderman L, Curry CJ, Byers PH, Eyre DR, Baldridge D, Lee BH, Merrill AE, Cohn DH, Akarsu N, Krakow D. (2010) Mutations in the gene encoding the RER chaperone FKBP65 produce autosomal recessive osteogenesis imperfecta. Am J Hum Genet. 2010 Apr 9;86(4):551-9. Epub 2010 Apr 1. PubMed PMID: 20362275; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2850430.

  13. Merrill AE, Merriman B, Farrington-Rock C, Camacho N, Sebald ET, Funari VA, Shibler MJ, Firestein MH, Cohn ZA, Priore MA, Thompson AK, Rimioin DL, Nelson SF, Cohn DH, Krakow D. (2009) Ciliary abnormalities due to defects in the retrograde transport protein DYNC2H1 in short rib-polydactyly syndrome. Am J Hum Genet. 2009 Apr;84(4):542-9. PubMed PMID: 19361615; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2667993.

  14. Merrill AE, Eames BF, Weston SJ, Heath T, Schneider RA. (2008) Mesenchyme-dependent Bmp signaling directs the timing of mandibular osteogenesis. Development. 2008 Apr;135(7):1223-34. Epub 2008 Feb 20. PubMed PMID: 18287200; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2844338.

  15. Merrill AE, Bochukova EG, Brugger SM, Ishii M, Pilz DT, Wall SA, Lyons KM, Wilkie AO, Maxson RE Jr. (2006) Cell mixing at a neural crest-mesoderm boundary and deficient ephrin-Eph signaling in the pathogenesis of craniosynostosis. Hum Mol Genet. 2006 Apr 15;15(8):1319-28. Epub 2006 Mar 15. PubMed PMID: 16540516.

  16. Brugger SM, Merrill AE, Torres-Vazquez J, Wu N, Ting MC, Cho JY, Dobias SL, Yi SE, Lyons K, Bell JR, Arora K, Warrior R, Maxson R. (2004) A phylogenetically conserved cis-regulatory module in the Msx2 promoter is sufficient for BMP-dependent transcription in murine and Drosophila embryos. Development. 2004 Oct;131(20):5153-65.

  17. Ishii M, Merrill AE, Chan YS, Gitelman I, Rice DP, Sucov HM, Maxson RE Jr. (2003) Msx2 and Twist cooperatively control the development of the neural crest-derived skeletogenic mesenchyme of the murine skull vault. Development. 2003 Dec;130(24):6131-42.

  18. Maxson RE, Ishii M, Merrill AE. (2003) Msx genes in organogenesis and human disease. Advances in Developmental Biology and Biochemistry 13:43-68.

  19. Kwang SJ, Brugger SM, Lazik A, Merrill AE, Wu LY, Liu YH, Ishii M, Sangiorgi FO, Rauchman M, Sucov HM, Maas RL, Maxson RE Jr. (2002) Msx2 is an immediate downstream effector of Pax3 in the development of the murine cardiac neural crest. Development. 2002 Jan;129(2):527-38.