Mike Dorrell Ph.D.

Professor of Biology
TriBeta Faculty Advisor

Dr. Mike Dorrell has been at PLNU since 2009. His expertise is in developmental and cell biology, although he teaches several courses, ranging from high school outreach programs and freshman cell biology and biochemistry to four upper division courses. His research interests include identifying novel methods of treating cancer that reduce the side effects associated with current treatment methods and studying the causes of, and potential treatments for, degenerative eye diseases. Students are actively involved in the cancer research, both within the summer research program and during the academic year. He also helped start a research institution in La Jolla (Lowy Medical Research Institute; 2013) dedicated to studying the eye disease, Macular Telangiectasia. He continues to guide that research on a part-time basis, in addition to his work at PLNU. Several positions have opened up for PLNU graduates through this collaboration.

A PK (preacher's kid) and MK (missionary kid), Dorrell moved all around the world during his youth, including living in Kenya and Uganda for three years. He is a die-hard soccer fan and loves to play intramurals with students each year.

Research Gate

Summer Research

PLNU Viewpoint: Faculty Spotlight: Mike Dorrell, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D., Biomedical Research, The Scripps Research Institute
  • B.A., Chemistry and Mathematics, Simpson College (IA)

Courses Taught

  • University Now
  • Cell Biology and Biochemistry – BIO 2010
  • Advanced Cell Biology – BIO 3050
  • Research Methodology – BIO 3052
  • Developmental Biology – BIO 4000
  • Senior Seminar – BIO 4097

Experience in Field

  • Adjunct Professor, The Scripps Research Institute, 2009 – current
  • Senior Staff Consultant for the Lowy Medical Research Institute, 2013 – current
  • During a one-year sabbatical, helped establish the Lowy Medical Research Institute for degenerative eye diseases, 2013
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, The Scripps Research Institute, 2005 – 2009
  • Adjunct Teacher, University of San Diego, 2006 – 2009
  • Consultant, EyeCyte, 2007 – 2011
  • Research Scientist, Angiosyn Inc., 2004 – 2005
  • Graduate school, The Scripps Research Institute, 1998 – 2003 (dissertation on angiogenesis and retinal development)

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Senior staff consultant for the Lowy Medical Research Institute (2013 – present). Continues to guide research, including genetic studies, research with induced pluripotent stem cells, and retinal basic science, identifying the cause of, and potential treatments for Macular Telangiectasia
  • Advisor, TriBeta (Biology Club at PLNU)
  • Advisor, Scuba Club (PLNU)
  • Reviewer for six different academic journals
  • Member, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
  • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Resource parent for foster children

Awards and Honors

  • 2016, Alumni Grant
  • 2010 and 2012, RASP Grant
  • California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Fellowship
  • Achievement Recognition for Collegiate Scientists (ARCS) Fellowship

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • (2015). Neurovascular Crosstalk Between Interneurons and Capillaries is Required for Vision. J Clin Invest. 125(6):2335-46
  • (2012). Ex Ovo Model for Directly Visualizing Chick Embryo Development. American Biology Teacher (ABT). 74(9): 628 – 634.
  • (2010). Astrocyte Hypoxic Response is Essential for Pathological but Not Developmental Angiogenesis of the Retina. 58(10):1177-85.
  • (2010). Rescuing Astrocytes Normalizes Revascularization and Prevents Vascular Pathology Associated with Oxygen Induced Retinopathy. 58(1):43-54.
  • (2015). Angiogenesis and Eye Disease. Annual Review of Vision Science. Volume 1. J.A. Movshon and B.A. Wandall (co-editors). Annual Reviews, Palo Alto, Calif. USA. Pages 155 – 184.
  • U.S. Provisional Patent, Serial No. 60/562,821, “Methods of Modulating Vascularization.”
  • U.S. Provisional Patent, Serial No. 60/577,156, “Compositions and Methods for Treatment of Neovascular Diseases.”
  • U.S. Provisional Patent, Serial No. 10/836,289. “Selective R-Cadherin Antagonists and Methods.”