Michael A. Dyer, PhD

Michael A. Dyer, Ph.D.

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 D2038D
262 Danny Thomas Place, MS 324
Memphis, TN 38105-3678
Tel: (901) 595-2257
Fax: (901) 595-7641
Email: Michael A. Dyer



  • PhD 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

  • Nguyen R, Houston J, Chan WK, Finkelstein D, Dyer MA. The role of interleukin-2, all-trans retinoic acid, and natural killer cells: surveillance mechanisms in anti-GD2 antibody therapy in neuroblastoma. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2018 Jan 11. doi: 10.1007/s00262-017-2108-6. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29327110.
  • Stewart E, Federico SM, Chen X, Shelat AA, Bradley C, Gordon B, Karlstrom A, Twarog NR, Clay MR, Bahrami A, Freeman BB 3rd, Xu B, Zhou X, Wu J, Honnell V, Ocarz M, Blankenship K, Dapper J, Mardis ER, Wilson RK, Downing J, Zhang J, Easton J, Pappo A, Dyer MA. Orthotopic patient-derived xenografts of paediatric solid tumours. Nature. 2017 Sep 7;549(7670):96-100. doi: 10.1038/nature23647. Epub 2017 Aug 30. PubMed PMID: 28854174; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5659286.
  • Aldiri I, Xu B, Wang L, Chen X, Hiler D, Griffiths L, Valentine M, Shirinifard A, Thiagarajan S, Sablauer A, Barabas ME, Zhang J, Johnson D, Frase S, Zhou X, Easton J, Zhang J, Mardis ER, Wilson RK, Downing JR, Dyer MA; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital—Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project. The Dynamic Epigenetic Landscape of the Retina During Development, Reprogramming, and Tumorigenesis. Neuron. 2017 May 3;94(3):550-568.e10. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.04.022. PubMed PMID: 28472656; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5508517.
  • Bharatham N, Finch KE, Min J, Mayasundari A, Dyer MA, Guy RK, Bashford D. Performance of a docking/molecular dynamics protocol for virtual screening of nutlin-class inhibitors of Mdmx. J Mol Graph Model. 2017 Jun;74:54-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jmgm.2017.02.014. Epub 2017 Feb 24. PubMed PMID: 28351017; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5508530.
  • Dyer MA, Qadeer ZA, Valle-Garcia D, Bernstein E. ATRX and DAXX: Mechanisms and Mutations. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2017 Mar 1;7(3). pii: a026567. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a026567. Review. PubMed PMID: 28062559.
  • Dyer MA. Biomedicine: An eye on retinal recovery. Nature. 2016 Dec 15;540(7633):350-351. doi: 10.1038/nature20487. Epub 2016 Nov 30. PubMed PMID: 27919071.

View more references (pubmed link)