Michelle Ramsey

Michelle Ramsey

Department of Biology
Texas A&M University 

3258 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843 

Tel: 979.845.3614 

email:mramsey AT 

Curriculum Vitae (updated Feb 2013)

Michelle Ramsey


B.S., Biology, University of Dallas, May 2009.

I am interested in the genetic and environmental causes of photoreceptor morphology and the role that this morphology plays in behavior.

Prior to my work with photoreceptors, as an undergraduate, I was mentored by Kevin D. Raney and his graduate student Lauren P. Blair at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. We studied viral helicases, which are potential targets for anti-viral drugs. Through mutagenesis and various protein activity assays, we identified several amino acids which are important for one helicase's ability to unwind DNA.

As a graduate student, I worked for three years under the guidance of Brian D. Perkins at Texas A&M studying zebrafish photoreceptors as a model for photoreceptor development and disease.

The light-sensitive structure in each photoreceptor is a modified primary cilium, and this cilium can be localized via its basal body. We identified a pattern in how basal bodies are arranged in zebrafish cones, which was the first characterization of polarized planar positioning of basal bodies in vertebrate photoreceptors. Experiments to directly test the genetic mechanism behind this patterning are being continued in the Perkins lab at the Cleveland Clinic.

In 2012, I joined the Rosenthal lab. Continuing my previous research, I am now investigating environmental effects on photoreceptors in zebrafish. Specifically, I am investigating the effect of exposure to specific wavelengths of light on cilia positioning, photoreceptor morphology, and visually-mediated behavior. I am also interested in studying the retina as a potential model for hybrid breakdown. Towards this aim, I am investigating morphological changes in the swordtail retina in hybrids versus their parental species, X. birchmanni and X. malinche. I am interested in determining if morphological changes in the retina correlate with behavioral differences that have been observed by the Rosenthal lab.


  1. M. Ramsey and B. D. Perkins, 2012. Basal bodies exhibit polarized positioning in zebrafish cone photoreceptors. Journal of Comparative Neurology DOI: 10.1002/cne.23260