Ian M. Dickerson, Ph.D.

Ian M. Dickerson, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 603
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 273-1040

Professional Bio


Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, 1980 BA Biology
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 1985 PhD Molecular Biology
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 1989 Post Doc Neuroscience


1989-1997: Assistant Professor, University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Biophysics
1997-2003: Assoc. Professor, University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Biophysics
1990-2003: Faculty Member, Neuroscience Program, University of Miami School of Medicine
1991-2003: Secondary Appointment, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Miami School of Medicine
2000-2003: Member, University of Miami School of Medicine Cancer Center, Tumor Cell Biology Program
2003-present: Associate Professor, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
2003-present: Secondary Appointment, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology


1987-1989 NIH NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
1994-1995 Stanley Glaser Research Award, University of Miami School of Medicine
1996 UM Dean's Award for Excellence in Research and Creativity; Outstanding Graduate Mentor

Research Bio


Signal Transduction at Neuropeptide Receptors:

Our laboratory studies the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). Originally discovered as an alternatively-spliced variant of the calcitonin mRNA, CGRP is one of the most potent vasodilators known. As a vasodilator, CGRP has both peripheral and central effects. One of the most notable effects of CGRP is its causative effect of migraine on the cerebral vasculature, and stable synthetic antagonists have been recently developed and are in Stage III clinical trials for migraine treatment. CGRP also suppresses immune function, is involved in pain perception, and has further central role in the development of tolerance to opiates.
Recently, we have discovered that CGRP is a potent stimulator of glioma and metastatic breast cancer tumor cell growth. In collaboration with Dr. Edward Brown (Biomedical Engineering) we have observed remarkable increases in tumor cell growth rates in response to CGRP incubation. These data suggest that the CGRP receptor system represents an important new target for these types of cancer for which therapy is currently limited.
The CGRP receptor is unique for G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) in that it requires three proteins for function: calcitonin-like receptor (CLR), a stereotypical GPCR with 7 hydrophobic transmembrane domains; receptor activity modifying protein (RAMP1), a single transmembrane accessory protein that targets CLR to the cell surface and confers pharmacologic specificity, and CGRP receptor component protein (RCP) which couples the CLR/RAMP1 complex to the cellular signaling pathway.
Our laboratory is investigating the mechanism of RCP action by: (1) determining the molecular/ biochemical requirements for RCP function, (2) determining the proteins that interact with RCP in a functional receptor complex using proteomic strategies, (3) determining the role of RCP and CGRP in vivo, using targeted homologous recombination to generate transgenic RCP knockout mice.
In addition, we are applying the biochemical reagents made in the first three areas of interest to directly test the role of the CGRP receptor in glioma and breast cancer proliferation, with the long-term goal of identifying novel protein interactions required for CGRP receptor function as targets for future anti-cancer drug development.


Ma W, Chabot JG, Powell KJ, Jhamandas K, Dickerson IM, Quirion R. (2003) "Localization and modulation of calcitonin gene-related peptide-receptor component protein-immunoreactive cells in the rat central and peripheral nervous systems." Neuroscience. 120(3):677-94.
Lai, Y.C., Shaftel, S.S,, Miller, J.N., Tallents, R.H., Pinkert, C.A., Olschowka, J.A., Dickerson, I.M., Puzas, J. E., O'Banion, M. K., Kyrkanides, S. (2006). "Intraarticular induction of interleukin-1beta expression in the adult mouse, with resultant temporomandibular joint pathologic changes, dysfunction, and pain" Arthritis Rheum. 54:1184-1197.
Zhang, Z., Dickerson, I.M., Russo, A.F. (2006) "CGRP Receptor Activation by RAMP1 Gene Transfer to Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells" Endocrinol. 147(4):1932-40.
Tolun, A.A., Dickerson, I.M., Malhotra, A. (2006). "Overexpression and purification of human calcitonin gene-related peptide-receptor component protein in Escherichia coli". Protein Expr Purif. 52:167-174.
Glaser, S., Ueno, Y., DeMorrow, S., Chiasson, V., Katki, K., Venter, J., Francis, H., Dickerson, I.M., DiPette, D., Supowit, S., Alpini, G. (2007) "Knockout of Alpha Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Prevents Cholangiocyte Proliferation Induced by Extrahepatic Bile Duct Obstruction" Lab. Invest;87(9):914-26.
Morara S, Wang LP, Filippov V, Dickerson IM, Grohovaz F, Provini L, Kettenmann H. (2008). "Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) triggers Ca2+ responses in cultured astrocytes and in Bergmann glial cells from cerebellar slices" Eur J Neurosci. 28:2213-20.

Awards & Honors (National)

NIH NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship Award 1987 - 1989

Awards & Honors (Local)

Dean's Award for Excellence in Research and Creativity; Outstanding Graduate Mentor | University of Miami 1996
Stanley Glaser Research Award | University of Miami 1994
David Ross Graduate Research Fellowship | Purdue University 1983 - 1985

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 40 available »

2016 Apr 5
Golshadi M, Wright LK, Dickerson IM, Schrlau MG. "High-Efficiency Gene Transfection of Cells through Carbon Nanotube Arrays." Small. 2016 Apr 5; Epub 2016 Apr 05.
2014 Aug
Bullock CM, Wookey P, Bennett A, Mobasheri A, Dickerson I, Kelly S. "Peripheral calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor activation and mechanical sensitization of the joint in rat models of osteoarthritis pain." Arthritis & rheumatology. 2014 Aug; 66(8):2188-200.
2014 Jun 15
Sardi C, Zambusi L, Finardi A, Ruffini F, Tolun AA, Dickerson IM, Righi M, Zacchetti D, Grohovaz F, Provini L, Furlan R, Morara S. "Involvement of calcitonin gene-related peptide and receptor component protein in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis." Journal of neuroimmunology. 2014 Jun 15; 271(1-2):18-29. Epub 2014 Mar 19.
Shapovalov Y, Zettel M, Spielman SC, Amico-Ruvio SA, Kelly EA, Sipe GO, Dickerson IM, Majewska AK, Brown EB. "Fluoxetine modulates breast cancer metastasis to the brain in a murine model." BMC cancer. 2014 14:598. Epub 2014 Aug 16.
Bawa Z, Routledge SJ, Jamshad M, Clare M, Sarkar D, Dickerson I, Ganzlin M, Poyner DR, Bill RM. "Functional recombinant protein is present in the pre-induction phases of Pichia pastoris cultures when grown in bioreactors, but not shake-flasks." Microbial cell factories. 2014 13(1):127. Epub 2014 Sep 04.

Current Appointments

Associate Professor - Department of Neuroscience (SMD) - Primary
Associate Professor - Department of Pharmacology and Physiology (SMD)


PhD | Molecular Biology | Purdue University1985
BA | Biology | Humboldt State Univ1980

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience 1989