Professor of Developmental Biology
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO, USA
Helen McNeill earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Ramapo College of New Jersey, followed by a doctorate in molecular and cellular physiology from Stanford University and a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford in fruit fly genetics. She then led the Developmental Patterning Laboratory at London Research Institute, a part of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund of the United Kingdom. She was a senior investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, part of the Sinai Health System in Toronto from 2005- 2018, and was a Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto. She directed the Collaborative Program in Developmental Biology from 2007-2013. Recognitions for her research include the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award and the Lloyd S.D. Fogler, QC, Award of Excellence for cancer biology research. In 2016, she was awarded a Canada Tier 1 Research Chair, and was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2017. She joined the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 2018 as a Professor of Developmental Biology, and was the first university researcher named to the BJC Investigators Program. In 2019, Professor McNeill was named the inaugural Shapiro Professor. Her work focuses on understanding the processes that govern how cells make contact and work together to form the broader architecture of whole tissues, both during development and adulthood. Her research—spanning studies of fruit flies, mice, and human genetic data—has relevance for understanding birth defects, cancer, and diseases of specific organs, such as the kidney and lung.