Ellen Chernoff, Ph.D.

Image of Dr. Chernoff

Associate Professor

Department of Biology

School of Science

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

723 W. Michigan St.

Indianapolis, IN 46202-5132

Phone: (317) 274-0591

Fax: (317) 274-2846

E-mail: echernof@iupui.edu


The main projects in my laboratory involve spinal cord regeneration in the salamander Ambystoma mexicanum (the axolotl) because salamanders show extraordinary ability to regenerate organs as adults. Understanding this inherent regeneration capacity is one essential approach to fostering regeneration in mammals. We focus on the behavior of the ependymal cells, the latent stem cell population surrounding the central canal of the spinal cord that reconstructs the injured cord as well as the meningeal cells from connective tissues around the cord, that are necessary to CNS health in intact animals,yet form a permanent scar in mammals when breached.

We have two current projects. The first involves the role of meningeal invasion in producing an extracellular matrix environment that affects ependymal outgrowth. In mammals meningeal invasion produces a fibrotic scar. In the axolotl the invasive material is eventually removed, yet serves as the substrate for ependymal outgrowth. The second project examines the role of retinoids (vitamin A metabolites) in the interaction of the reactive meninges and ependymal cells. In the axolotl CNS, as in mammals, the arachnoid layer produces retinoids. In mammals these compounds are necessary to CNS health. In regenerating axolotl cord this expression is upregulated and is also propagated to the ependymal cells. Based on our observation in culture, this process may be necessary to reepithelialization of the reactive ependymal cell to reform the central canal of the regenerating cord and foster axonal regrowth.


    Blazer-Yost, B.L., A. J. Banga, A. Amos, E. Chernoff, X. Lai, C. Li, S. Mitra and F.A. Witzmann. (2011) Effect of carbon nanoparticles on barrier function of renal epithelial cells. Nanotoxicology 5: 354-371
    Santosh, N; Windsor, L; Mahmoudi, B; Li, BB; Zhang, W; Chernoff, E; Rao, N; Stocum, D; Song, F.(2011) . Matrix Metalloproteinase Expression During Blastema Formation in Regeneration-Competent versus Regeneration-Deficient Amphibian Limbs Developmental Dynamics 240: 1127-1141.
    Tiwari S, Hudson S, Gattone VH 2nd, Miller C, Chernoff EA, Belecky-Adams TL. (2013) Meckelin 3 is necessary for photoreceptor outer segment development in rat Meckel syndrome. PLoS ONE 8(3): e59306. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.005930
    Teri L. Belecky-Adams, Ellen C. Chernoff, Jonathan M. Wilson, and Subramanian Dharmarajan (2013) Reactive Muller Glia as Potential Retinal Progenitors. In: “Neural Stem Cells - New Perspectives", Chapter 4, book edited by Luca Bonfanti , ISBN 978-953-51-1069-9, 428 pages, Publisher: InTech pp. 74-117
    Sato K, HV Nguyen,DA Sarria, T Belecky-Adams and Chernoff EAG (2015) Musashi Expression and Regeneration Competence in Axolotl Spinal Cord. In press Developmental Dynamics