Michael Dyer, Ph.D. is the director of the St. Jude Division of Developmental Biology and co-leader of the Developmental Biology and Solid Tumor Program at St. Jude. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, as well as an investigator with the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital-Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project.
A California native, Dr. Dyer joined the St. Jude faculty in 2002 and quickly emerged as a leader in the study of retinoblastoma. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2008 Cogan Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, a Career Development Award from Research to Prevent Blindness, as well as that organization’s Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award. Dyer was also selected as a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences and was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist. He received his doctoral degree in molecular and cellular biology from Harvard University and completed his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.
Some of Dr. Dyer’s notable work includes a 2007 study that showed brain cells — called neurons — could still divide. The finding countered a century-old scientific belief that differentiated, or mature, nerve cells could not multiply and make new cells. In 2012, Dyer and his colleagues demonstrated that an unexpected mechanism was responsible for the rapid growth of an eye tumor called retinoblastoma.