Amy Merrill-Brugger, BS, PhD

Title(s)Associate Professor and Department Chair, Biomedical Sciences
SchoolHerman Ostrow School of Dentistry of Usc
AddressCSA 141
Health Sciences Campus
Los Angeles CA 90089-9062
Phone+1 323 442 1147
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0002-3660-1575 Additional info
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CABSDevelopmental Biology
    University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CAPhDDevelopmental Biology
    University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CApostdocDevelopmental Biology
    University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CApostdocHuman Genetics
    Collapse Awards and Honors
    The Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology2019Marylou Buyse Excellence in Craniofacial Research Award
    University of Southern California2022USC Mentoring Award for Faculty Mentoring Graduate Students

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    Dr. Amy Merrill received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2005 from the University of Southern California. During her doctoral studies she used mouse genetics to discover a novel role for cellular boundaries in the pathogenesis of craniosynostosis. From 2005-2007 she did a postdoctoral fellowship at University of California, San Francisco were she uncovered the unique potential of cranial neural crest cells to autonomously control the timing of bone formation in the developing face. Prior to joining the faculty in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at USC in 2010, she completed a fellowship in Medical Genetics at University of California, Los Angeles/Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Her studies in human genetics identified the first disease-causing mutations for Short-rib polydactyly syndrome and establish this lethal skeletal disorder as a ciliopathy. Currently Dr. Merrill's laboratory studies the disease mechanism for Bent Bone Dysplasia Syndrome.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Developmental regulation of tendon-bone connectivity in the jaw
    NIH R01DE029850Jun 8, 2021 - May 31, 2026
    Role: Co-Investigator
    Modular control of jaw tendon specification by the Nr5a2 orphan nuclear receptor
    NIH R21DE029656Mar 1, 2020 - Feb 28, 2022
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    NIH/NIDCR R01DE025222Jul 1, 2015 - Jun 30, 2020
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Collapse ORNG Applications 
    Collapse Faculty Mentoring

    Collapse Featured Content 
    Collapse Twitter

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help. to make corrections and additions.
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    Altmetrics Details PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Fibroblast growth factor 2. Differentiation. 2023 Oct 12. Nickle A, Ko S, Merrill AE. PMID: 37858405.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    2. The Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology 45th Annual Meeting. Am J Med Genet A. 2023 07; 191(7):1994-2002. Stottmann RW, Harris MP, Saint-Jeannet JP, Merrill AE, Clouthier DE. PMID: 37040531.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    3. MusMorph, a database of standardized mouse morphology data for morphometric meta-analyses. Sci Data. 2022 05 25; 9(1):230. Devine J, Vidal-García M, Liu W, Neves A, Lo Vercio LD, Green RM, Richbourg HA, Marchini M, Unger CM, Nickle AC, Radford B, Young NM, Gonzalez PN, Schuler RE, Bugacov A, Rolian C, Percival CJ, Williams T, Niswander L, Calof AL, Lander AD, Visel A, Jirik FR, Cheverud JM, Klein OD, Birnbaum RY, Merrill AE, Ackermann RR, Graf D, Hemberger M, Dean W, Forkert ND, Murray SA, Westerberg H, Marcucio RS, Hallgrímsson B. PMID: 35614082; PMCID: PMC9133120.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Animals
    4. The Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology 44th Annual Meeting. Am J Med Genet A. 2022 07; 188(7):2258-2266. Brugmann SA, Merrill AE, Saint-Jeannet JP, Stottmann RW, Clouthier DE. PMID: 35352468.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
    5. The developing mouse coronal suture at single-cell resolution. Nat Commun. 2021 08 10; 12(1):4797. Farmer DT, Mlcochova H, Zhou Y, Koelling N, Wang G, Ashley N, Bugacov H, Chen HJ, Parvez R, Tseng KC, Merrill AE, Maxson RE, Wilkie AOM, Crump JG, Twigg SRF. PMID: 34376651; PMCID: PMC8355337.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 35     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    6. Development and maintenance of tendons and ligaments. Development. 2021 04 15; 148(8). Bobzin L, Roberts RR, Chen HJ, Crump JG, Merrill AE. PMID: 33913478; PMCID: PMC8077520.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    7. FGF signaling patterns cell fate at the interface between tendon and bone. Development. 2019 08 02; 146(15). Roberts RR, Bobzin L, Teng CS, Pal D, Tuzon CT, Schweitzer R, Merrill AE. PMID: 31320326; PMCID: PMC6703712.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 20     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    8. Nuclear Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Signaling in Skeletal Development and Disease. Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2019 06; 17(3):138-146. Tuzon CT, Rigueur D, Merrill AE. PMID: 30982184; PMCID: PMC8221190.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 15     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    9. Nuclear FGFR2 regulates musculoskeletal integration within the developing limb. Dev Dyn. 2019 03; 248(3):233-246. Salva JE, Roberts RR, Stucky TS, Merrill AE. PMID: 30620790; PMCID: PMC6474847.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    10. A requirement for Fgfr2 in middle ear development. Genesis. 2019 01; 57(1):e23252. Rigueur D, Roberts RR, Bobzin L, Merrill AE. PMID: 30253032; PMCID: PMC6349551.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    11. tp53-dependent and independent signaling underlies the pathogenesis and possible prevention of Acrofacial Dysostosis-Cincinnati type. Hum Mol Genet. 2018 08 01; 27(15):2628-2643. Watt KEN, Neben CL, Hall S, Merrill AE, Trainor PA. PMID: 29750247; PMCID: PMC6927876.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 14     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    12. Prmt1 regulates craniofacial bone formation upstream of Msx1. Mech Dev. 2018 08; 152:13-20. Gou Y, Li J, Wu J, Gupta R, Cho I, Ho TV, Chai Y, Merrill A, Wang J, Xu J. PMID: 29727702.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    13. FGFR2 mutations in bent bone dysplasia syndrome activate nucleolar stress and perturb cell fate determination. Hum Mol Genet. 2017 09 01; 26(17):3253-3270. Neben CL, Tuzon CT, Mao X, Lay FD, Merrill AE. PMID: 28595297; PMCID: PMC5886181.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 10     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    14. Signaling networks in joint development. Dev Dyn. 2017 04; 246(4):262-274. Salva JE, Merrill AE. PMID: 27859991; PMCID: PMC5354978.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 11     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    15. Ribosome biogenesis is dynamically regulated during osteoblast differentiation. Gene. 2017 May 15; 612:29-35. Neben CL, Lay FD, Mao X, Tuzon CT, Merrill AE. PMID: 27847259; PMCID: PMC5382099.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 8     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    16. 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 07; 12(7):e1006187. Noack Watt KE, Achilleos A, Neben CL, Merrill AE, Trainor PA. PMID: 27448281; PMCID: PMC4957770.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 44     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    17. Modeling craniofacial and skeletal congenital birth defects to advance therapies. Hum Mol Genet. 2016 Oct 01; 25(R2):R86-R93. Neben CL, Roberts RR, Dipple KM, Merrill AE, Klein OD. PMID: 27346519; PMCID: PMC5036869.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    
    18. 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 10; 170(10):2652-61. 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. PMID: 27240702; PMCID: PMC5538138.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    19. TGFβ and BMP Dependent Cell Fate Changes Due to Loss of Filamin B Produces Disc Degeneration and Progressive Vertebral Fusions. PLoS Genet. 2016 Mar; 12(3):e1005936. Zieba J, Forlenza KN, Khatra JS, Sarukhanov A, Duran I, Rigueur D, Lyons KM, Cohn DH, Merrill AE, Krakow D. PMID: 27019229; PMCID: PMC4809497.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 34     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    20. Signaling Pathways in Craniofacial Development: Insights from Rare Skeletal Disorders. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2015; 115:493-542. Neben CL, Merrill AE. PMID: 26589936.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    21. Bent bone dysplasia syndrome reveals nucleolar activity for FGFR2 in ribosomal DNA transcription. Hum Mol Genet. 2014 Nov 01; 23(21):5659-71. Neben CL, Idoni B, Salva JE, Tuzon CT, Rice JC, Krakow D, Merrill AE. PMID: 24908667; PMCID: PMC4189901.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 24     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    22. Ribosome biogenesis in skeletal development and the pathogenesis of skeletal disorders. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Jun; 1842(6):769-78. Trainor PA, Merrill AE. PMID: 24252615; PMCID: PMC4020712.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 57     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    23. Bent bone dysplasia-FGFR2 type, a distinct skeletal disorder, has deficient canonical FGF signaling. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Mar 09; 90(3):550-7. 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. PMID: 22387015; PMCID: PMC3309195.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 37     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    24. Mutations in the gene encoding the RER protein FKBP65 cause autosomal-recessive osteogenesis imperfecta. Am J Hum Genet. 2010 Apr 09; 86(4):551-9. 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, Pyott S, Byers PH, Eyre DR, Baldridge D, Lee B, Merrill AE, Davis EC, Cohn DH, Akarsu N, Krakow D. PMID: 20362275; PMCID: PMC2850430.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 133     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    25. 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. Merrill AE, Merriman B, Farrington-Rock C, Camacho N, Sebald ET, Funari VA, Schibler MJ, Firestein MH, Cohn ZA, Priore MA, Thompson AK, Rimoin DL, Nelson SF, Cohn DH, Krakow D. PMID: 19361615; PMCID: PMC2667993.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 66     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    26. Mesenchyme-dependent BMP signaling directs the timing of mandibular osteogenesis. Development. 2008 Apr; 135(7):1223-34. Merrill AE, Eames BF, Weston SJ, Heath T, Schneider RA. PMID: 18287200; PMCID: PMC2844338.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 36     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    27. 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. Merrill AE, Bochukova EG, Brugger SM, Ishii M, Pilz DT, Wall SA, Lyons KM, Wilkie AO, Maxson RE. PMID: 16540516.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 98     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    28. 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. 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. PMID: 15459107.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 65     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    29. 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. Ishii M, Merrill AE, Chan YS, Gitelman I, Rice DP, Sucov HM, Maxson RE. PMID: 14597577.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 83     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    30. Msx2 is an immediate downstream effector of Pax3 in the development of the murine cardiac neural crest. Development. 2002 Jan; 129(2):527-38. Kwang SJ, Brugger SM, Lazik A, Merrill AE, Wu LY, Liu YH, Ishii M, Sangiorgi FO, Rauchman M, Sucov HM, Maas RL, Maxson RE. PMID: 11807043.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 38     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells