Marquis Walker, Ph.D.


Biological Sciences 2008

Area of Doctoral Study: Biological Sciences
Undergraduate Institute: Morgan State University

Research Advisor: Dr. Phyllis Robinson

Current Position: Assistant Professor, James Madison University

Description of Research

In Dr. Phyllis Robinson’s laboratory in the Biological Sciences Department, we are interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying light detection in vertebrates. Currently in our lab there are three areas of vision research being studied: Biochemical Mechanism of Photoreceptor Adaptation, Molecular Study of Adaptive Ecology of Vision, and Characterization of the Novel Non-visual Photopigment Melanopsin. My area of interest is in the characterization of melanopsin as a non-visual photoreceptor in the retinas of mammals. Melanopsin is a photopigment that is expressed in a subset of retinal ganglion cells. Research has indicated that melanopsin may be involved in the regulation of photic circadian responses in mammals. We are focused on characterizing the properties and function of melanopsin as a light activated photoreceptor.