Michael Lee, PhD

Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Michael Lee

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-625-8472

Lab Address:
4-241 WMBB

Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Co-Director and ITN Scholar, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease, Institute for Translational Neuroscience (ITN)

Professor, Department of Pharmacology


Research Summary/Interests

Mechanisms of human neurodegenerative diseases

My group is using transgenic mouse models to study the mechanisms of human neurodegenerative diseases, particularly AD and PD. There are three broad areas of active interest.

  1. Understanding the pathogenesis/progression of PD using alpha-synuclein and LRRK2 transgenic mouse models.
  2. Mechanisms of amyloid-dependent neurodegeneration using transgenic mouse models of AD.
  3. Pathologic interactions between genetic and environmental factors. 

While most cases of AD and PD are “sporadic”, the key assumption is that genetic lesions that cause classic forms of the relevant neurodegenerative diseases will cause neural abnormalities that are common between the genetic and sporadic forms of the disease. When used in conjunction with careful analysis of human subjects, invertebrate models, and cell culture models, we will be able to define mechanisms that are directly relevant to the pathogenesis and identify possible targets for therapeutic intervention. The models generated are also essential for cross-platform screening and validation of novel therapeutic approaches. My group has identified several robust biochemical, pathological and behavioral outcome measures in transgenic mouse models of AD and PD. These measures will be essential for in vivo preclinical evaluation of therapeutics. 


Shyne, M, Van Stavern, GP, Nolan, KW, Lee, MS & McClelland, C 2019, 'Optic Nerve Head Drusen: The Relationship Between Intraocular Pressure and Optic Nerve Structure and Function: Response' Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 143-144. https://doi.org/10.1097/WNO.0000000000000738

Wang, Y, Ryu, CL, Mokhtarzadeh, A, Lee, MS, Harrison, AR & McClelland, C 2019, 'Optic Nerve Sheath Fenestration for Treatment of Retrolaminar Silicone Oil Migration' Ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. e31-e34. https://doi.org/10.1097/IOP.0000000000001300

Stevens, SM, McClelland, C, Chen, JJ & Lee, MS 2019, 'Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension in a Mother and Pre-pubertal Twins' Neuro-Ophthalmology, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 49-52. https://doi.org/10.1080/01658107.2018.1480047

Kilgore, KP, Lee, MS, Leavitt, JA, Frank, RD, McClelland, C & Chen, JJ 2019, 'A Population-Based, Case-Control Evaluation of the Association Between Hormonal Contraceptives and Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension' American journal of ophthalmology, vol. 197, pp. 74-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2018.09.014

Kassem, A, Karanjia, R, McClelland, C, Sadun, A & Lee, MS 2019, 'Unilateral cone-rod dysfunction and retinal thinning in a child carrying the 14484 mutation of Leber hereditary optic neuropathy' Journal of AAPOS. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaapos.2018.09.005

AREDS2 Research Group 2018, 'Progression of Geographic Atrophy in Age-related Macular Degeneration: AREDS2 Report Number 16' Ophthalmology, vol. 125, no. 12, pp. 1913-1928. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.05.028

Chen, JJ, Flanagan, EP, Jitprapaikulsan, J, López-Chiriboga, ASS, Fryer, JP, Leavitt, JA, Weinshenker, BG, McKeon, A, Tillema, JM, Lennon, VA, Tobin, WO, Keegan, BM, Lucchinetti, CF, Kantarci, OH, McClelland, C, Lee, MS, Bennett, JL, Pelak, VS, Chen, Y, VanStavern, G, Adesina, OOO, Eggenberger, ER, Acierno, MD, Wingerchuk, DM, Brazis, PW, Sagen, J & Pittock, SJ 2018, 'Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein Antibody–Positive Optic Neuritis: Clinical Characteristics, Radiologic Clues, and Outcome' American journal of ophthalmology, vol. 195, pp. 8-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2018.07.020

Stevens, SM, McClelland, C, Trusheim, JE & Lee, MS 2018, 'Carboplatin-associated Cranial Neuropathy' Neuro-Ophthalmology, vol. 42, no. 5, pp. 302-305. https://doi.org/10.1080/01658107.2017.1419367

Halbach, C, McClelland, C, Chen, J, Li, S & Lee, MS 2018, 'Use of noninvasive imaging in giant cell arteritis' Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 260-264. https://doi.org/10.22608/APO.2018133

SCORE2 Investigator Group 2018, 'Comparison of monthly vs treat-and-extend regimens for individuals with macular edema who respond well to anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medications: Secondary outcomes from the SCORE2 randomized clinical trial' JAMA Ophthalmology, vol. 136, no. 4, pp. 337-345. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.6843