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Justin Ramsey, Ph.D.



  • Assistant Professor, Plant Biology
  • Black Hills State University


  • Ph.D., Botany, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • B.S., Biology, Whitworth College, Spokane, WA

Current Research: Research in the Ramsey lab emphasizes evolutionary biology, with focus on polyploidy-whole genome duplication events-that as unscheduled mutations are associated with cancer + stillbirth but as controlled developmental processes mediate morphogenesis and physiological adaptation in a range of eukaryotes. Activities in 2015-2016 will investigate the phenotypic consequences of polyploidy in ivies (Hedera spp., Araliaceae), woody vines that are native to Eurasia but widely cultivated and invasive in North American forests. Ivies are lucrative specialty crops for the U.S. horticultural industry but are banned from some markets because of their propensity to form dense growth in the understory and cover trees in foliage. Field studies suggest that polyploidy encourages invasion of ivy plants and we are thus testing the effects of genome duplication on cell size and division rates; shape and architecture of shoots and leaves; and whole-plant water relations. These studies leverage experimental inductions of genome duplication on diploid plants ("neopolyploids") with comparison to wild polyploids from sites in Europe and North America, and integrate a variety of methods (plant propagation and greenhouse/garden grow-outs; microscopy and image analysis of intact and prepared tissues; flow cytometry and genotyping with molecular markers; and use of physiological instrumentation like porometers and pressure chambers).