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Fellows Directory

Julie Forman-Kay

Julie Forman-Kay

Dr Julie Forman-Kay FRS


Elected: 2021





Julie Forman-Kay is internationally recognized for studies of intrinsically disordered proteins and protein regions (IDRs), which don't fold into ordered structures. IDRs make up about a third of human protein sequences, yet are poorly understood since many standard tools to study proteins have not been applicable to IDRs. Working closely with collaborators, Julie has bridged this gap by developing methodology to facilitate IDR structural and bioinformatic studies. Julie's experimental work has challenged the assumptions that protein function and protein interactions require stable folded structure, providing evidence for the biological roles of highly dynamic interactions involving IDRs.


Julie has more recently pioneered an understanding of how the physical process of IDR phase separation can regulate formation of cellular 'membrane-less' organelles that in turn control key biochemical reactions. Her work has provided insights into how phase separation regulates protein synthesis in the brain, a molecular correlate of learning and memory, and how disease-associated mutations in IDRs can drive pathology in neurological diseases and cancer. In 2016, she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Professional positions

Senior Scientist and Program Head, Molecular Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Biochemistry and molecular biology, Biophysics and structural biology, Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)
  • Health and human sciences
    • Molecular medicine


Intrinsically disordered proteins, biomolecular condensates

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