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Ryan Petrie, PhD

Ryan Petrie, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Office: PISB 419
Phone: 215.895.1476
Lab Location: PISB 401.m1
Lab Phone: 215.895.2626
Additional Sites: The Petrie Lab


  • BS, University of Victoria
  • MS, University of Calgary (Adviser: Julie Deans)
  • PhD, McGill University (Adviser: Nathalie Lamarche-Vane)
  • Research Fellow, National Institutes of Health (Adviser: Ken Yamada)

Research Interests:

Even when we are standing still, the cells in our bodies are going places. It is now clear that an individual cell can change how it moves in response to the material surrounding it. My lab is interested in understanding how the structure of the three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrix dictates the molecular and physical mechanisms driving cell motility. For example, we recently discovered human fibroblasts moving through a cross-linked 3D matrix pull their nucleus forward like a piston to increase intracellular pressure and drive protrusion of the leading edge.

Using a variety of biochemical, biophysical, and live cell imaging approaches, the Petrie lab aims to understand how intracellular pressure is controlled by actomyosin contractility in migrating cells in response to matrix structure. Further, we will seek to establish if the intracellular pressure generation machinery in metastatic cells is abnormal compared to primary fibroblasts and test the hypothesis that defective pressure regulation promotes cancer cell invasion into 3D extracellular matrix.


Ryan Petrie, PhD, received a BS in biochemistry from the University of Victoria in 1997, a MS in immune cell signaling from the University of Calgary in 2002, and a PhD in cell biology from McGill University in 2008. He recently completed a research fellowship with the Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Biology in the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research on the NIH campus. During his postdoctoral fellowship, Petrie used a combination of live cell imaging and intracellular pressure measurements in single cells to discover a new pressure-based mechanism of cell movement. He will continue to refine his nuclear-piston model of pressure-driven cell migration as an assistant professor in the Department of Biology.

Selected Publications:

  • Petrie, RJ and Yamada, KM. 2015 Fibroblasts lead the way: a unified view of three-dimensional cell motility. Trends Cell Biol. 25: 666-674.
  • Petrie, RJ, Koo, H, and Yamada, KM. 2014. Generation of compartmentalized pressure by a nuclear piston governs cell motility in a 3D matrix. Science 345:1062-1065.
  • Petrie, RJ and Koo, H. 2014. Direct measurement of intracellular pressure. Curr. Prot. Cell Biol. 63, 12.9.1.
  • Petrie, RJ and Yamada, KM. 2012. At the leading edge of 3D cell migration. J. Cell Sci. 125:5917-5926.
  • Petrie, RJ, Gavara, N, Chadwick, RS, and Yamada, KM. 2012. Nonpolarized signaling reveals two distinct modes of 3D cell migration. J. Cell Biol. 197:439-455.
  • Petrie, RJ, Doyle, AD, and Yamada, KM. 2009. Random versus directionally persistent migration. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 10:538-549.
  • Picard, M, Petrie, RJ, Antoine-Bertrand, J, Saint-Cyr-Proulx, E, Villemure, JF, and Lamarche-Vane, N. 2009. Spatial and temporal activation of the small GTPases RhoA and Rac1 by the netrin-1 receptor UNC5a during neurite outgrowth. Cell. Signal. 21:1961-1973.
  • Petrie, RJ, Zhao, B, Bedford, F, and Lamarche-Vane, N. 2009. Compartmentalized DCC signalling is distinct from DCC localized to lipid rafts. Biol. Cell 101:77-90.
  • Petrie, RJ and Deans, JP. 2002. Colocalization of the B cell receptor and CD20 followed by activation-dependent dissociation in distinct lipid rafts. J. Immunol. 169: 2886-2891.
  • Petrie, RJ, Schnetkamp, PPM, Patel, KD, Awasthi-Kalia, M, and Deans, JP. 2000. Rapid translocation of the B cell receptor and SHIP to lipid rafts: Evidence towards a role in calcium regulation. J. Immunol. 165: 1220-1227