Ribelayga Christophe Pierre
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Science

McGovern Medical School
The University of Texas Health Science Center
Houston, USA, Fax: 713.500.0682
Phone: 713.500.5673
Email: Christophe.P.Ribelayga@uth.tmc.edu


Institution and Location DEGREE Year Field of Study
University of Metz, Metz, France Associate D. 06/1991 Biology
University Henri Poincare, Nancy, France B.S. 06/1993 Animal Biology
University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France M.S. 06/1995 Neuroscience
University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France Ph.D. 06/2000 Neuroscience
University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL Postdoctoral Fellowship 12/2003 Neurobiology


Christophe P. Ribelayga, Ph.D., received his degree in Neuroscience from the University Louis Pasteur (France) in 2000 and followed with postdoctoral training at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA). He was a faculty member in the Department of Neuroscience at The Ohio State University in Columbus (USA) from 2005 to 2009 and moved to his current position in the Ruiz Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at The University of Texas in Houston (USA) in 2009. He has also joined the faculty at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston in 2009. Dr. Ribelayga’s laboratory studies the function of circadian clocks in the retina, and in particular the role of circadian clocks as adaptive processes to the predictable changes in ambient light intensity. He was an early proponent of studying circadian clocks in the retina, as retinal clocks represent an important physiological mechanism regulating day and night vision. His more recent work has focused on the circadian clock regulation of photoreceptor electrical coupling and its role in the activity of the rod and cone pathways. He has co-authored several widely cited reviews of the biology and physiological impact of circadian clocks in the vertebrate retina.

Research Interest

  • Ophthalmology & Visual Science: basic visual processing, retinal circuitry
  • Neuroscience: sensory neuroscience, visual neuroscience, circadian biology
  • Anatomy: retinal circuitry, gap junctions, photoreceptors
  • Physiology: signaling pathways in the retina, adaptation, electrophysiology, biophysics, electrical coupling, computational modeling
  • Synaptic plasticity: light/dark adaptive mechanisms and circadian organization of retinal function, plasticity of electrical synapses
  • Aging processes in the nervous system: aging-dependent decline in retinal function
  • Mouse genetics: cell-type-specific circadian-clock-deficient mouse models

Scientific Activities

Positions and Honors
1995-1998 Predoctoral Scholarship from the French Department of Education and Research, Head of the list
1995-1998 Teaching Fellowship from University Louis Pasteur, France, Head of the list
1998-1999 Teaching and Research Fellowship from the French Department of Education and Research, University Louis Pasteur
1999 Servier Prize from Servier Laboratories, Marseille, France
1999 Travel Award from the Foundation Simone and CinodelDuca, Paris, France, moving expenses Paris, France - Birmingham, AL
2000 Ph.D. awarded Summa Cum Laude (Highest Honors with Congratulations of the Jury), University Louis Pasteur, France
2000 The 2000 ADRERUS Prize, awarded to the best Ph.D. thesis of the year in the field of Neuroscience, Strasbourg, France
2000 The Melatonin Club Prize, The Melatonin Club Reception Best Poster Presentation, New Orleans, LA
2008 Featured Article of the week in Neuron (59(5):790-801); also highlighted in Faculty of 1000 Biology
2010 Recognition for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Vision Research, Emory University, Atlanta, GA (ceremony on 09/03/2010)
2012, 2015 Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award, The University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX
2013, 2014 Certificate of Appreciation, for outstanding performance and lasting contribution to problem-based learning (PBL), The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
2016 Ron Konopka Memorial Junior Faculty Award from the Texas Society for Circadian Biology and Medicine(ceremony on 04/02/2016 at Texas A&M University, Austin, TX)
2016 Certificate of Appreciation for Serving as a Faculty Mentor, and on various committees that serve McGovern Medical School’s Summer Research Program, University of Texas McGovern Medical School, Houston, TX (ceremony on 10/24/2016)


  1. Ribelayga, C.P., and O’Brien, J.: Circadian and light-adaptive control of electrical synaptic plasticity in the vertebrate retina. In: Jing J. (ed) Network Functions and Plasticity: Perspectives from Studying Electrical Coupling in Microcircuits, Elsevier, Cambridge (UK), invited review, under review, 2016.
  2. Jin, N., and Ribelayga, C.P.: Daily plasticity of electrical coupling between rod photoreceptors in the mammalian retina, J. Neurosci. 36(1):178-184, 2016.
  3. Zhang, Z., Li, H., Liu, X., O’Brien, J., and Ribelayga, C.P.: Circadian clock control of Connexin36 phosphorylation in retinal photoreceptors of the CBA/CaJ mouse strain. Vis. Neurosci. 32:E009, 2015.
  4. Jin, N., Chuang, A.Z., Masson, P.J., and Ribelayga, C.: Rod electrical coupling is controlled by a circadian clock and dopamine in mouse retina. J. Physiol. (London) 593(7):1597-1631, 2015.
  5. Jin, N., Chuang, A.Z., Masson, P.J., and Ribelayga, C.: Response to letter to the Editor regarding paper by Jin et al. J. Physiol. (London) 593(13):2977-2978, 2015.
  6. Mao, C.-A., Li, H., Zhang, Z., Kiyama, T., Panda, S., Hattar, S., Ribelayga, C., Mills, S.L., and Wang, S.W.: Tbr2 is essential for the formation and maintenance of Opn4/melanopsin-expressing intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. J. Neurosci. 34(39):13083-13095, 2014.
  7. Li, H., Zhang, Z., Blackburn, M.R., Wang, S.W., Ribelayga, C., and O’Brien, J.: Adenosine and dopamine receptors co-regulate photoreceptor coupling via gap junction phosphorylation in mouse retina. J. Neurosci. 33(7):3135-3150, 2013.
  8. Liu, X., Zhang, Z., and Ribelayga, C.: Heterogeneous expression of the core circadian clock proteins among neuronal cell types in mouse retina. PLoS One 7(11):e50602, 2012.
  9. Choi, H.-J., Ribelayga, C., and Mangel, S.C.: Cut-loading: a useful tool for examining the extent of gap junctional tracer coupling between retinal neurons. J. Vis. Exp. 59:e3180, 2012.
  10. Ribelayga, C., and Mangel, S.C.: Identification of a circadian clock-controlled pathway in the mammalian retina. PLoS One 5(6):e11020, 2010.
  11. Ribelayga, C.: Vertebrate vision: TRP channels in the spotlight. Curr. Biol. 20(6):R278-R280, 2010.
  12. Mangel, S.C., and Ribelayga, C.: Comparative eye: The circadian clock in the retina regulates rod and cone pathways. In: Dartt DA, Besharse JC, Dana R (eds) Encyclopedia of the Eye, Elsevier, Oxford (UK), Vol. 1, pp 283-289, 2010.
  13. Ribelayga, C., Cao, Y., and Mangel, S.C.: The circadian clock in the retina regulates rod-cone coupling. Neuron 59(5):790-801, 2008 (Featured Article of the week; highlighted in Faculty of 1000 Biology).
  14. Ribelayga, C., and Mangel, S.C.: Gap junctional coupling between fish rod horizontal cells: Modulation by light and dopamine but not the retinal circadian clock. Vis. Neurosci. 24(3):333-344, 2007.
  15. Garidou-Boof, M.L., Sicard, B., Bothorel, B., Simonneaux, V., Garidou, M.L., Ribelayga, C., and Pevet, P.: Mechanisms underlying seasonal regulation of melatonin synthesis in rodents. In: Pandi-Perumal SR, Cardinali DP (eds) Melatonin. Biological Basis of its Function in Health and Disease, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown (TX, USA), pp 1-11, 2005.
  16. Pitrosky, B., Ribelayga, C., Simonneaux, V., Pévet, P., and Vivien-Roels, B.: Environmental control and adrenergic regulation of pineal activity in the diurnal tropical rodent, Arvicantis ansorgei. J. Pineal Res. 38(3):189-197, 2005.
  17. Ribelayga, C., and Mangel, S.C.: A circadian clock and light/dark adaptation differentially regulate adenosine in the mammalian retina. J. Neurosci. 25(1):215-222, 2005.
  18. Ribelayga, C., Wang, Y., and Mangel, S.C.: A circadian clock in the fish retina regulates dopamine release via activation of melatonin receptors. J. Physiol. (London) 554(Pt 2):467-482, 2004.
  19. Ribelayga, C., and Mangel, S.C.: Absence of circadian clock regulation of horizontal cell gap junctional coupling reveals two dopamine systems in the goldfish retina. J. Comp. Neurol. 467(2):243-253, 2003.
  20. Simonneaux, V., and Ribelayga, C.: Generation of the melatonin endocrine message in mammals: A review of the complex regulation of melatonin synthesis by norepinephrine, peptides, and other pineal transmitters. Pharmacol. Rev. 55(2):325-395, 2003.
  21. Simonneaux, V., Ribelayga, C., and Revel, F.: Hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase, a season-coding enzyme for melatonin synthesis in the pineal gland of rodents. Biol. Rhythm Res. 33(4):401-416, 2002.
  22. Garidou, M.L., Ribelayga, C., Pévet, P., and Simonneaux, V.: Syrian hamster and rat display developmental differences in the regulation of pineal arylalkylamines N-acetyltransferase. J. Neuroendocrinol. 14(11):861-868, 2002.
  23. Ribelayga, C., Wang, Y., and Mangel, S.C.: Dopamine mediates circadian clock regulation of rod and cone input to fish horizontal cells. J. Physiol. (London) 544(Pt 3):801-816, 2002.
  24. Zhang, D.Q., Ribelayga, C., Mangel, S.C., and McMahon, D.G.: Suppression by zinc of AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic transmission in the retina. J. Neurophysiol. 88(3):1245-1251, 2002.
  25. Simonneaux, V., and Ribelayga, C.: Neuropeptide Y, an important modulator of the noradrenergic input of the mammalian pineal gland. In: Haldar C, Singaravel M, Maitra SK (eds) Treatise on Pineal Gland and Melatonin. Science Publishers, Inc., Enfield (NH, USA), Plymouth (UK), pp 371-393, 2002.
  26. Ribelayga, C., Pévet, P., and Simonneaux, V.: HIOMT drives the photoperiodic changes in the amplitude of the melatonin peak of the siberian hamster. Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. 278(5):R1339-R1345, 2000.
  27. Ribelayga, C., Garidou, M.L., Malan, A., Gauer, F., Calgari, C., Pévet, P., and Simonneaux, V.: Photoperiodic control of the rat pineal arylalkylamine-N-acetyltransferase and hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase gene expression and its consequence on melatonin synthesis. J. Biol. Rhythms 14(2):105-115, 1999.
  28. Ribelayga, C., Gauer, F., Calgari, C., Pévet, P., and Simonneaux, V.: Photoneural regulation of rat pineal hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT) messenger ribonucleic acid expression: an analysis of its complex relationship with HIOMT activity. Endocrinology 140(3):1375-1384, 1999.
  29. Ribelayga, C., Gauer, F., Pévet, P., and Simonneaux, V.: Ontogenesis of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase gene expression and activity in the rat pineal gland. Brain Res. Dev. Brain Res. 110(2):235-239, 1998.
  30. Ribelayga, C., Pévet, P., and Simonneaux, V.: Possible involvement of neuropeptide Y in the seasonal control of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase in the pineal gland of the European hamster (Cricetus cricetus). Brain Res. 801(1-2):137-142, 1998.
  31. Ribelayga, C., Pévet, P., and Simonneaux, V.: Adrenergic and peptidergic regulations of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase activity in rat pineal gland. Brain Res. 777(1-2):247-250, 1997.
  32. Simonneaux, V., Ribelayga, C., Miguez, J.M., and Pévet, P.: Physiological role of neuropeptides in the mammalian pineal gland. In: Tang PL, Pang SF, Reiter RJ (eds) Melatonin: A Universal Photoperiodic Signal with Diverse Actions. Frontiers for Hormone Research, vol. 21. Karger, Basel (CH), pp 24-29, 1997.
  33. Simonneaux, V., Ribelayga, C., and Miguez, J.M.: Peptidergic modulation of rat pineal synthetic and secretory activities: example of VIP and NPY. In: Webb SM, Puig-Domingo M, Møller M, Pévet P (eds) Pineal Update 1997: From Molecular Biology to Clinical Medicine. P.J.D. Publications Ltd, Westbury, New-York (NY, USA), pp 149-159, 1997.

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