Nansi Jo Colley, PhD

Position title: Professor Emeritus, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, UW-Madison


Professor Emeritus
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, UW-Madison
Nansi Colley

BS 1975, Western Michigan University
PhD 1983, UC Santa Barbara
Postdoctoral Fellowship 1983-86, UCLA, Jules Stein Eye Institute
Postdoctoral Fellowship 1986-89, UC San Diego

Research Interests
Dr. Colley’s research focuses on using molecular genetic approaches for identifying novel loci involved in photoreceptor cell function and inherited retinal degeneration diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. Her laboratory addresses questions pertaining to signaling pathways in phototranduction and protein trafficking and targeting in photoreceptor cells. She utilizes Drosophila, the common fruit fly, to dissect the molecular genetic bases of photoreceptor function in health and disease. She is specifically focused on the mechanisms that underlie rhodopsin transport through the secretory pathway in the photoreceptor cells. Her work has uncovered mutations in Drosophila that correspond to similar mutations identified in inherited human retinal degeneration diseases. The work in her lab provides valuable information into the mechanisms for degenerative disease as well as insights for therapies and treatments.

Fruit fly vision develops very similarly to human vision and her lab is also focused on the evolution of visual systems. Her studies have utilized a combined molecular, genetic, biochemical, electrophysiological, and cell biological approach to unraveling signaling pathways in phototransduction. Calcium is essential for phototransduction in all organisms. She has characterized a novel sodium/calcium-potassium exchanger (NCKX) expressed in the Drosophila photoreceptor cells. Exchangers play a crucial role in modulating intracellular calcium in both human and Drosophila photoreceptor cells.

PubMed Listing of Publications