Ophthalmology And Visual Sciences

Michael G. Anderson, PhD


Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Contact Information

Office: 6-430 Bowen Science Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
Office Phone: 319-335-7839

Lab: 6-429 Bowen Science Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-7838

Email: michael-g-anderson@uiowa.edu
Web: More information


BA, Biology, Luther College, Decorah, IA
PhD, Physiology and Biophysics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Post Doctorate, Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Simon John, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Biosciences Graduate Program
Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics PhD
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Biomedicine
Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

Research in my laboratory is aimed at understanding fundamental physiological properties of the eye and the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying a variety of complex eye diseases. Of primary interest are the glaucomas, a leading cause of blindness that affects approximately 70 million people worldwide. Glaucoma typically involves three types of events: molecular insults compromising the anterior chamber, increased intraocular pressure, and neurodegenerative retinal ganglion cell loss. Not surprisingly, the biological relationships linking these events are complex. Our approach for studying these events is founded in functional mouse genetics and supplemented by a variety of molecular, cellular, immunological, and neurobiological techniques. The premise for this approach is that stringently performed genetic studies offer great potential for overcoming the natural biological complexity of glaucoma. Current projects in the lab emphasize glaucoma phenotypes occuring in the front of the eye, including the molecular genetics of pigmentary glaucoma, exfoliative glaucoma, and central corneal thickness. We are also interested in new mouse models of glaucoma and have been studying an early onset form of glaucoma in nee mice that is associated with abnormalities of the aqueous drainage structures. In the long term, these studies will contribute to an increased understanding of eye diseases such as glaucoma, and ultimately to improved human therapies.

Center, Program and Institute Affiliations

Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research

Selected Publications

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Harper M, Herlein J, Hedburg-Buenz A, Anderson M, Paljug W, Abrahamson E, Ikonomovic M.  Blast Injury Exacerbates Neuropathology and Impairs Visual Function in a Transgenic APPswe-PSENd19e Mouse Model of AD [abstract].  Journal of Neurotrama.  2014. 31(12):A11.

Gornjak T, Haraszti T, Garamus V, Buck A, Senkbeil T, Priebe M, Hedberg-Buenz A, Koehn D, Salditt T, Grunze M, Anderson M, Rosenhahn A.  Nano-scale morphology of melanosomes revealed by small-angle x-ray scattering.  PLoS One.  2014. 9(3):e90884.

Gorniak T, Haraszti T, Suhonen H, Yang Y, Hedberg-Buenz A, Koehn D, Heine R, Grunze M, Rosenhahn A, Anderson M.  Support and challenges to the melanosomal casing model based on nanoscale distribution of metals within iris melanosomes detected by X-ray fluorescence analysis.  Pigment Cell Melanoma Res.  2014. 

Fingert J, Burden J, Wang K, Kwon Y, Alward W, Anderson M.  Circumferential iris transillumination defects in exfoliation syndrome.  PURPOSE: We identified a pattern of concentric circular transillumination defects (TIDs) in a few patients with exfoliation syndrome (XFS) using an infrared detection system. This pattern of iris abnormality has also been observed in a mouse model of XFS. The objective of the current study is to determine whether concentric iris TIDs are specific to XFS and may have some diagnostic utility for identifying early cases of disease. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 68 volunteers from the University of Iowa Glaucoma Clinic with normal eyes (n=21) or diagnoses of either XFS (n=12), pigment dispersion syndrome (PDS) (n=8), or primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) (n=27) were enrolled in the study. The irides of these subjects were each examined by 4 ophthalmologists masked to their diagnosis, using infrared videography. The presence of concentric, circular TIDs on the videos was graded as none (grade 0), possible (grade 1), definite (grade 2), or prominent (grade 3) by 4 examiners. We searched for an association between the presence of concentric bands of transillumination and the diagnosis of XFS after removing the effect of different raters was evaluated using the Cochran-Mentel-Haenszel test. We performed the same analysis for PDS and for POAG. RESULTS: The presence of any concentric, circular iris TIDs (grades 1 to 3) was detected in a mean of 38% normal subjects, 35% POAG patients, 53% PDS patients, and 77% of XFS patients. When the frequency of concentric, circular iris transillumination (grades 1 to 3 pooled) was compared between each of the patient groups and normal controls, a significant difference was detected between XFS patients and controls (P=0.000019). No significant difference was detected between POAG and controls (P=0.64) or between PDS and controls (P=0.20). Furthermore, prominent concentric, circular iris transillumination (grade 3) was only observed in XFS. CONCLUSIONS: Detection of concentric, circular iris TIDs with an infrared system is easy, inexpensive, rapid, and relatively specific in XFS. Future larger studies will be needed to confirm the findings of this small pilot study. Furthermore, this examination technique has the potential to help physicians to make earlier diagnoses of XFS and to better plan for future surgeries to minimize risk of complication..  2013. 22(7):555-558.

Lu Y, Vitart V, Burdon K, Khor C, Bykhovskaya Y, Mirshahi A, Hewitt A, Koehn D, Hysi P, Ramdas W, Zeller T, Vithana E, Cornes B, Tay W, Tai E, Cheng C, Liu J, Foo J, Saw S, Thorleifsson G, Stefansson K, Dimasi D, Mills R, Mountain J, Ang W, Hoehn R, Verhoeven V, Grus F, Wolfs R, Castagne R, Lackner K, Springelkamp H, Yang J, Jonasson F, Leung D, Chen L, Tham C, Rudan I, Vatayuk Z, Hayward C, Gibson J, Cree A, Macleod A, Ennis S, Polasek O, Campbell H, Wilson J, Viswanathan A, Fleck B, Li X, Siscovick D, Taylor K, Rotter J, Yazar S, Ulmer M, Li J, Yaspan B, Ozel A, Richards J, Moroi S, Haines J, Kang J, Pasquale L, Allingham R, Ashley-Koch A, Consortium N, Mitchell P, Wang J, Wright A, Pennell C, Spector T, Young T, Klayer C, Martin N, Montgomery G, Anderson M, Aung T, Willoughby C, Wiggs J, Pang C, Thorsteinsdottir U, Lotery A, Hammond C, van Duijn C, Hauser M, Rabinowitz Y, Pfeiffer N, Mackey D, Craig J, Macgregor S, Wong T.  Genome-wide association analyses identify multiple loci associated with central corneal thickness and keratoconus.  Nat Genet.  2013. 45(2):155-163.

Anderson M.  NCBI MyBibliography. 

Anderson M.  Thomson Reuters ResearcherID on Web of Science: B-4580-2009. 

Date Last Modified: 06/07/2014 - 21:56:23