Biosciences Graduate Program

Michael E. Dailey, BS, PhD


Associate Professor of Biology

Contact Information

Office: 369B BB
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-067

Web: More About Dr. Dailey - Related Websites and Resources


BS, Biology, Geneva College
PhD, Neural Science, Washington University

Post Doctorate, Physiology, Stanford University

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Biomedicine
Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

"Dynamics of Neurons and Glia in Developing Mammalian Brain Tissues Research in our laboratory addresses the nature, mechanisms and functional roles of dynamic changes in cell structure during mammalian central nervous system (CNS) development and following CNS tissue injury. Cellular dynamics are studied using multi-dimensional (4-D and 5-D) time-lapse fluorescent confocal imaging in live brain tissue slices. Synapse Formation Dynamic changes in synaptic structure are known to occur during normal brain development, and are also thought to underlay processes such as learning and memory. Our research seeks to better define the changes in neuronal structure leading to synapse formation, and to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating synaptic development. We are focusing on the formation and plasticity of the major postsynaptic specialization, the dendritic spine, by combining physiological and molecular perturbations with time-lapse imaging in hippocampal slices. Synaptic structures are being visualized in living neurons by gene transfection techniques that yield fluorescent GFP-fusion proteins. Time-lapse imaging of transfected cells is enabling direct observation of the formation and dynamics of synaptic structures, and this data is being used to construct a model of CNS synaptogenesis. Microglial Activation Microglia are resident brain cells that mediate responses to CNS tissue injury. Microglia become “activated” following brain tissue injury, and rapidly transform from a resting, ramified form to a highly mobile, macrophage-like form. This transformation appears to be essential for expression of the full repertoire of microglial functions. We seek to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of microglial activation, and to define the functional behavior of activated microglia in relation to dead and damaged neurons. Currently, we are using time-lapse imaging of microglia in brain slices to study the cytoarchitectural dynamics underlying activation. Dual-channel fluorescence imaging is utilized to study cell-cell interactions between activated microglia and neurons. A better understanding of the cellular and molecular bases of microglial activation may reveal avenues for regulating microglial function during neuropathological conditions in humans."

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48