Michael Risner, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in the Department of Foundational Medical Studies

An image of Michael Risner

Dr. Risner joined Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) in September 2023 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Foundational Medical Studies. Dr. Risner received his Master of Arts degree at Western Kentucky University in Experimental Psychology in 2005. He attained a Doctoral degree in Vision Sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2010. From 2010 to 2015, Dr. Risner continued training as a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University, Department of Biological Sciences. Between 2015 to 2021, Dr. Risner was a professional scientist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt Eye Institute. Prior to joining OUWB, Dr. Risner held the position of Research Assistant Professor from 2021 to 2023 at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  

Contact information:

Office: 360 Dodge Hall
Lab: 369 Dodge Hall
Phone: (248) 370-4507
Email: [email protected]


In vivo models of glaucoma, ex vivo retinal ganglion cell and optic nerve physiology, retinal and optic nerve cytoarchitecture, human pluripotent stem cell derived models, in vitro models of axonopathy, intercellular signaling.


Postdoctoral training: Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University
Ph.D.: Department of Vision Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham
M.A.: Department of Psychology, Western Kentucky University

Research interests:

Dr. Risner’s laboratory research mission is to reduce disease burden in the aged population. Towards achieving this goal, Dr. Risner’s laboratory investigates cell intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms triggered during the progression of glaucomatous optic neuropathy (glaucoma), the world’s leading cause of irreversible vision loss.  Based on our findings, we identify and test cell-based therapies that protect, restore, or regenerative visual tissues lost to glaucoma.