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Dr Ryan MacDonald

I I study the development and function of Muller glia cells in the zebrafish retina using physiological, biophysical and genetic methods.
Dr Ryan MacDonald

Research Associate

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 333772

Research areas


Research Interests

Müller glia (MG) are the lone glial cell type born within the retina and will extend elaborate processes into the synaptic layers of the retina. MG are thought to play roles in modulating neural transmission, recycling of neurotransmitters, and provide physical structure for neurons. We have developed a method to completely block all MG from specifying in the embryonic zebrafish retina. As such, we are studying the developmental and functional consequences of this loss on retinal circuits. We address these questions using a combination of molecular, biophysical, physiological and behavioural assays.


Dr Kristian Franze (University of Cambridge)
Dr Leon Lagnado (University of Sussex)
Dr Rachel Wong (University of Washington)
Professor Stephan Neuhauss (University of Zurich)
Professor Michel Cayouette (University of Montreal).

Key Publications

RB MacDonald, OR Randlett, J Oswald, T Yoshimatsu, K Franze, WA Harris, (2015), Müller glial cells provide essential tensile strength to the developing retina, Journal of Cell Biology, 210(7): 1075-1083, §Cover article

H Boije, RB MacDonald, WA Harris, (2014), Reconciling competence and transcriptional hierarchies with stochasticity in retinal lineages, Curr. Opin. Neurobiol, 27C: 68-74

M Baumgardt*, D Karlsson*, BY Salmani, C Bivik, RB MacDonald, S Thor, (2014, The Temporal Gene Cascade Controls Daughter Cell Proliferation Mode Via G1 Cell Cycle Regulators, Developmental Cell, 30(2): 192-208

RB MacDonald*, J Pollack*, M Debiais-Thibaud, JC Talbot, M Ekker, (2013), A conserved gene regulatory network controls the differentiation of GABAergic interneurons in the zebrafish prethalamus, Developmental Biology, 1606(13): 297-302 *Denotes equal contribution

RB MacDonald*, OR Randlett*, T Yoshimitsu, AA Almeida, SC Suzuki, RO Wong, WA Harris, (2013), Cellular requirements for building a retinal neuropil, Cell Reports, 3(2): 282-290, *Denotes equal contribution. §Cover article

C Ulkvo, RB MacDonald, C Bivik, M Baumgardt, D Karlsson, S Thor, (2012), Control of neural lineage topology by a Notch-mediated switch in neural progenitor division mode, Development, 139(4): 678-89