Michelle Whaley

Contact Information

michelle_whaley Michelle Whaley
Teaching Professor
226 Jordan Hall


Biological Sciences


Ph.D., University of Notre Dame

Research interests


Undergraduate Research

Molecular basis of vision


Indiana Professor of the Year 2014 , honored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Council for the Advancement and Support of Education

Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2009

College of Science/Kaneb Teaching Award, University of Notre Dame, 1998, 2002, 2006

Select publications

Xiaobang Hu, *James H. England, *Nicholas J. Ward, *Aaron Lani, *Jennifer Tung, Sheila M. Adams, Kathleen A. Barber, Michelle A. Whaley and Joseph E. O’Tousa*.  Patterned expression of two rhodopsins in the R7 photoreceptors of Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae. Journal of Comparative Neurology, March, 2009. Oct 1 2009, 516(4): 334-42

Xiaobang Hu, Michelle A. Whaley, *Michelle M. Stein, *Bronwen E. Mitchell, and Joseph E. O’Tousa.  Coexpression of spectrally distinct rhodopsins in Aedes aegypti R7 photoreceptors. Accepted PLoS ONE, Volume 6, Issue 8, August, 2011.
Xiaobang Hu, Matthew Leming, *Alexander Metoxen, Michelle A. Whaley, and Joseph E. O’Tousa.  Light-mediated control of rhodopsin movement in mosquito photoreceptors. Accepted, Journal of Neurosciences, June, 2012.


Michelle Whaley's teaching in the biology faculty has focused on developing critical thinking and research skills in students early in their careers.  She teaches three main research-based courses:  Introduction to Undergraduate Research, Molecular Genetics Laboratory (which is a semester long research project), and Cell Research which is a 2-credit independent study research course. I also direct the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in the Biology Department. She is the faculty coordinator of the Undergraduate Research program and the Honors Research program in Biology. She thoroughly enjoy working with students and seek to engage them as partners in their learning, and in research and other activities, to help them reach their full potential.  Her science outreach is with the Robinson Center where students come to ND during the summers and fall to carry out biology activities or research projects.

Her research is currently focused on the characterization of Aedes aegypti visual genes and how gene expression may affect mosquito behavior. Many undergraduates have participated in this research over the past 3 years.   Her previous work was in the visual system of Drosophila, and she still uses this system to study mosquito genes in transgenic flies.  Her PhD work characterized a gene involved in Drosophila visual system development that when mutant, causes adult retinal degeneration.

Whaley was honored as the 2014 Indiana Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE),