Douglas Ramsay , DMD, PhD, MSD

Professor and Chair, Oral Health Sciences
Professor, Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, Adjunct Professor, Psychology


Dr. Douglas Ramsay received a B.A. in psychology from Franklin & Marshall College in 1979 and a D.M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. He came to the UW in 1983 as a senior fellow and in 1985 entered the UW’s NIH-funded Dentist-Scientist Training Program, which supported his doctoral studies in psychology (PhD, 1988) and specialty training in orthodontics (MSD, 1990). He joined the UW faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1990 and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 2001. Ramsay served as Chair of the Department of Dental Public Health Sciences from 2003-2011. In 2011, the Departments of Oral Biology and Dental Public Health Sciences were merged to form the Department of Oral Health Sciences and Ramsay currently serves as the Chair of this department. Ramsay is a professor of Oral Health Sciences, Orthodontics, and Pediatric Dentistry. He also has an adjunct appointment in the department of Psychology. Since 1991, Dr. Ramsay’s research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to numerous research grants, he was the recipient of a Research Career Development Award from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Dr. Ramsay is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and has been Director of the UW’s Regional Clinical Dental Research Center since 2007.

Academic and Clinical Activities

Dr. Ramsay teaches and supervises students at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral levels. Each year he directs a didactic seminar for the graduate students in Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics and provides guest lectures in other courses. As a board-certified orthodontist, he teaches and supervises patient care in the graduate orthodontics clinic throughout the year.

Research Interests

Dr. Ramsay’s research interests are broad and he has a record of conducting both basic and clinical research. A primary research interest of his is in the area of behavioral pharmacology with a focus on the mechanisms underlying the development of drug tolerance. His scientific interests include: mechanisms of drug tolerance, behavioral pharmacology, patient compliance, learning and memory, regulatory behavior, tooth circulation, addictive disorders, pain (mechanisms and psychophysics).


  1. Kaiyala, K.J., Chan, B., and Ramsay, D.S. Robust thermoregulatory overcompensation, rather than tolerance, develops with serial administrations of 70% nitrous oxide to rats. Journal of Thermal Biology, in press. [PMID: pending]
  2. Thurman, M.M., King, G.J., Ramsay, D.S., Wheeler, T.T., and Phillips, C. The effect of an anterior biteplate on dental and skeletal Class II correction using headgears: A cephalometric study. Orthodontics and Craniofacial Research in press. [PMID: pending]
  3. Ramsay, D.S., Seaman, J., Kaiyala, K.J. Nitrous oxide causes a regulated hypothermia: Rats select a cooler ambient temperature while becoming hypothermic. Physiology and Behavior, 103, 79-85, 2011. [PMID: 21184766]
  4. Kaiyala, K.J. and Ramsay, D.S. Direct animal calorimetry, the underused gold standard for quantifying the fire of life. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 158, 252-264, 2011. [PMID: 20427023]
  5. Baldwin, D.K., King, G., Ramsay, D.S., Huang, G., and Bollen, A-M. Activation time and material stiffness of sequential removable orthodontic appliances. Part 3: Premolar extraction patients. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 133, 837-45, 2008.
  6. Kaiyala, K.J., Butt, S., and Ramsay, D.S. Systems-level adaptations explain chronic tolerance development to nitrous oxide hypothermia in young and mature rats. Psychopharmacology, 191, 233-42, 2007.
  7. Kaiyala, K.J., Butt, S., and Ramsay, D.S. Direct evidence of systems-level modulation of initial drug (in)sensitivity. Psychopharmacology, 191, 243-51, 2007.
  8. Coldwell, S.E., Wilhelm, F.H., Milgrom, P., Prall, C.W., Getz, T., Spadafora, A., Chiu, I-Y., Leroux, B.G., and Ramsay, D.S. Combining Alprazolam with Systematic Desensitization Therapy for Dental Injection Phobia. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 21, 871-87, 2007.
  9. Woods, S.C. and Ramsay, D.S. Homeostasis: from Curt Richter to the Present. Appetite, 49, 388-398, 2007.
  10. Orsini, M.G., Huang, G.J., Kiyak, H.A., Ramsay, D.S., Bollen, A-M., Anderson, N.K., and Giddon, D.B. Methods to evaluate profile preferences for the A-P position of the mandible. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 130, 283-291, 2006.
  11. Ramsay, D.S., Leroux, B.G., Rothen, M., Prall, C.W., Fiset, L.O., and Woods, S.C. Nitrous oxide analgesia in humans: Acute and chronic tolerance. Pain, 114, 19-28, 2005.52.
  12. Kaiyala, K.J. and Ramsay, D.S. Assessment of heat production, heat loss, and core temperature during nitrous oxide exposure: A new paradigm for studying drug effects and opponent responses. American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology, 288, 692-701, 2005.
  13. Ramsay, D.S., Kaiyala, K.J., Leroux, B.G., and Woods, S.C. Individual differences in initial sensitivity and acute tolerance predict patterns of chronic drug tolerance to nitrous-oxide-induced hypothermia in rats. Psychopharmacology, 181, 48-59, 2005.
  14. Kaiyala, K.J., Thiele, T.E., Watson, C.H., and Ramsay, D.S. Nitrous oxide-induced c-fos expression in the rat brain. Brain Research, 967, 73-80, 2003.
  15. Ramsay, D.S., Watson, C.H., Leroux, B.G., Prall, C.W., and Kaiyala, K.J. Conditioned place aversion and self-administration of nitrous oxide in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 74, 623-633, 2003.
  16. Ashmore, J.L., Kurland, B.F., King, G.J., Wheeler, T.T., Ghafari, J., and Ramsay, D.S. A three-dimensional analysis of molar movement during headgear treatment. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 121, 18-30, 2002.
  17. Justus, T., Chang, B.L., Bloomquist, D., and Ramsay, D.S. Human gingival and pulpal blood flow during healing after Le Fort I osteotomy. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 59, 2-7, 2001.
  18. Lyons, E.K. and Ramsay, D.S. A self-regulation model of patient compliance in orthodontics: Implications for the design of a headgear monitor. Seminars in Orthodontics, 6, 224-230, 2000.
  19. Woods, S.C. and Ramsay, D.S. Pavlovian influences over drug and food intake. Behavioural Brain Research, 110, 175-182, 2000.
  20. Ramsay, D.S. and Woods, S.C. Biological consequences of a drug administration: Implications for acute and chronic tolerance. Psychological Review, 104, 170-193, 1997.
  21. Ramsay, D.S., Soma, M., and Sarason, I.G. Enhancing patient adherence: The role of technology and its application to orthodontics. In: J.A. McNamara, Jr. and C.A. Trotman (Eds.), Creating the Compliant Patient. Volume 33, Craniofacial Growth Series, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, pp. 141-165, 1997.
  22. Ramsay, D.S., Seeley, R.J., Bolles, R.C., and Woods, S.C. Ingestive homeostasis: The primacy of learning. In: E.D. Capaldi (Ed.), Why We Eat What We Eat: The Psychology of Eating. Published by the American Psychological Association, 11-27, 1996.
  23. Ramsay, D.S., Brown, A.C., and Woods, S.C. Acute tolerance to nitrous oxide in humans. Pain, 51, 367-373, 1992.