Dorette Z. Ellis, PhD
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Education & Experience:
I received a BS in Biology from Adelphi University, Garden City, NY and a PhD in Biology from University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. I completed postdoctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior to my current position, I was an Assistant Professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida.
Teaching Areas & Interests:
I have taught in professional and graduate education in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences and participated in the health science center interdisciplinary curriculum for 9 years. My teaching efforts in the doctor of pharmacy program have focused mainly on the physiological basis of disease. The interdisciplinary curriculum focuses on teaching students how to work together as a team in order to learn about the impact of resources and environment on health status. I have also assisted in developing class session active learning strategies. As an educator and scientist, I have mentored high school students, undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral associates.
Professional Activities & Awards:
I am a member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. My most recent regional, national and international research contributions include being an invited speaker at: The Cell Volume and Hydration Meeting in Tubingen, Germany in 2011, the Science Symposium at the North Caribbean University in Jamaica, W.I. in 2012 and as a Poster Session moderator for Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2012. Honors include the 50th Ann. Program for Scholars in Medicine, Harvard Medical School (2000-2001), The Minority Development Award, Massachusetts General Hospital (2003-2004), American Health Assistance Foundation/National Glaucoma Research (2005 -2007), Faculty Enhancement Opportunity Award, University of Florida (2009) and Basic Science Commentary on Journal article, IOVS 2010 Nov; 51(11): 5817-24 by Drs. Darryl Overby, Ross Ethier London, UK and Dan Stamer, Tucson, AZ, US in International Glaucoma Review, Vol. 12-4 2011 Paris, France, 2011.
One area of interest is the understanding how aqueous humor is regulated in normal and diseased states. Specifically, I study signal transduction and the regulation of ion transport (sodium and potassium) in physiological states and in glaucoma. High intraocular pressure is a risk factor for glaucoma. Intraocular pressure is regulated by the rate of secretion of aqueous humor in the ciliary processes and the rate of exit of aqueous humor through the trabecular meshwork and Schlemm’s canal. The role of the trabecular meshwork and Schlemm’s canal in intraocular pressure regulation is unknown. Therefore the goals of my laboratory are to determine how aqueous humor production and outflow via the trabecular meshwork and Schlemm’s canal are regulated. Additionally, we will identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which certain ocular hypotensives lower intraocular pressure. Identification of these target sites will allow for potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension. Another new area of interest is retinal ganglion cell survival in glaucoma. Specifically, the involvement of the sigma 1 receptor and its modulation of ion transport (calcium) in normal and glaucomatous states. Glaucoma is characterized as a disease involving the loss of retinal ganglion cells in the back of the eye that results in blindness. Therefore the elucidation of mechanism(s) involved in retinal ganglion cell survival is of great importance, as they may lead to potential targets for therapeutic strategies for the treatment of glaucoma.