Michael A. Dyer, Ph.D.

Michael A. Dyer, Ph.D.

Associate Member
Department of Developmental Neurobiology
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Affiliated Professor
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
DTRC Room D2025C
332 N. Lauderdale
Memphis, TN 38105
Tel: (901) 495-2257
Fax: (901) 495-3143
Email: Michael A. Dyer


  • Ph.D. Institution: Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts


St. Jude Faculty - Michael A. Dyer

Research Interests

My laboratory studies the regulation of growth during neural development and disease. Cell division must be carefully regulated during brain development to ensure that the resulting tissue is the appropriate size and contains the correct proportion of each specialized cell type. If the precise balance of cell types were altered in the brain, then the different neurons and glia would not be able to work together to process information. Many of the genes that control growth during development are also involved in regulating cell division following brain injury or in certain degenerative processes. In addition, these genes are often mutated in cancer cells. Therefore, by studying the regulation of growth during development, we can learn about the cause and progression of a variety of diseases in the central nervous system. This may ultimately lead to the design of better treatments for neural injury, degeneration and cancer.

The retina is a specialized region of the central nervous system that receives and processes visual information. Like the rest of the central nervous system, injury, degeneration and cancer involve changes in the growth properties of retinal cells. We use a wide range of experimental approaches to study how cell division is controlled during retinal development and disease. Methods currently being used in the lab include genetically engineered mice, replication incompetent retroviral vectors suitable for in vivo studies, explant culture systems, microarray hybridization, and to extended our observations to human retinopathies we use normal and diseased human tissue and monkey samples. Experimental approaches that are under development include retinal physiology (ERG), electron microscopy, cell sorting, in vivo mouse models of retinoblastoma, and computational modeling of proliferation during development.

Representative Publications

  • Dyer MA, Qadeer ZA, Valle-Garcia D, Bernstein E. ATRX and DAXX: Mechanisms and Mutations. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2017 Jan 6. pii: a026567. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a026567. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28062559.
  • Dyer MA. Biomedicine: An eye on retinal recovery. Nature. 2016 Dec 15;540(7633):350-351. doi: 10.1038/nature20487. PubMed PMID: 27919071.
  • Hiler DJ, Barabas ME, Griffiths LM, Dyer MA. Reprogramming of mouse retinal neurons and standardized quantification of their differentiation in 3D retinal cultures. Nat Protoc. 2016 Oct;11(10):1955-1976. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2016.109. PubMed PMID: 27658012.
  • Dyer MA. Lessons from Retinoblastoma: Implications for Cancer, Development, Evolution, and Regenerative Medicine. Trends Mol Med. 2016 Oct;22(10):863-876. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2016.07.010. Review. PubMed PMID: 27567287; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5048577.
  • Dyer MA. Stem Cells Expand Insights into Human Brain Evolution. Cell Stem Cell. 2016 Apr 7;18(4):425-6. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2016.03.017. PubMed PMID: 27058930.
  • Valle-García D, Qadeer ZA, McHugh DS, Ghiraldini FG, Chowdhury AH, Hasson D, Dyer MA, Recillas-Targa F, Bernstein E. ATRX binds to atypical chromatin domains at the 3' exons of zinc finger genes to preserve H3K9me3 enrichment. Epigenetics. 2016 Jun 2;11(6):398-414. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2016.1169351. PubMed PMID: 27029610; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4939920.

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