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Ellen A. Rorke, PhD

Academic Title:

Adjunct Associate Professor

Primary Appointment:

Microbiology and Immunology



Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-4251

Phone (Secondary):

(410) 706-3505

Education and Training

BA: Richmond College, Staten Island, NY  1972

PhD:  University of Connecticut, Storrs CT 1978

Fellow:  University of Illinois, Urbana, IL Mentor: Dr. Benita S. Katzenellenbogen


Dr. Rorke’s research focuses on normal cell differentiation with particular attention on the stratifying epithelial that line the uterus, cervix and skin.  Since coming to Maryland, she has concentrated on Activator Protein-1 (AP-1) control of keratinocytes residing in the subrabasal layers of the epidermis. These cells have ceased proliferating and are undergoing a highly controlled differentiation program.  Using transgenic mouse models, she has identified an AP-1pathway that when blocked results in the development of the skin disorder ichthyosis. A disorder that is both disfiguring and debilitating. 

Research/Clinical Keywords

AP-1, keratinocyte, epidermis, keratoderma, ichthyosis

Highlighted Publications

Young CA, Rorke EA, Adhikary G, Xu W, Eckert RL. (2017) Loss of epidermal AP1 transcription factor function reduces filaggrin level, alters chemokine expression and produces an ichthyosis-related phenotype.  Cell Death Dis. Jun 1;8(6):e2840.

 Young CA, Eckert RL, Adhikary G, Crumrine D, Elias PM, Blumenberg M, Rorke EA. (2017)  Embryonic AP1 Transcription Factor Deficiency Causes a Collodion Baby-Like Phenotype.  J Invest Dermatol. May 16. pii: S0022-202X(17)31533-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2017.04.032. [Epub ahead of print]

 Rorke EA, Adhikary G, Young CA, Roop DR, Eckert RL. (2015)  Suppressing AP1 factor signaling in the suprabasal epidermis produces a keratoderma phenotype. J Invest Dermatol. 135:170-80

Rorke EA, Adhikary G, Young CA, Rice RH, Elias PM, Crumrine D, Meyer J, Blumenberg M, Eckert RL. (2015) Structural and biochemical changes underlying a keratoderma-like phenotype in mice lacking suprabasal AP1 transcription factor function. Cell Death Dis. Feb 19;6:e1647.

Han B, Rorke EA, Adhikary G, Chew YC, Xu W, Eckert RL. (2012)  Suppression of AP1 transcription factor function in keratinocyte suppresses differentiation.  PLoS One.;7(5):e36941. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036941. Epub 2012 May 23.

Additional Publication Citations

Saha K, Adhikary G, Kanade SR, Rorke EA, Eckert RL. (2014)  p38δ regulates p53 to control p21Cip1 expression in human epidermal keratinocytes. J Biol Chem. 289:11443-53.

Identification of a population of epidermal squamous cell carcinoma cells with enhanced potential for tumor formation. Adhikary G, Grun D, Kerr C, Balasubramanian S, Rorke EA, Vemuri M, Boucher S, Bickenbach JR, Hornyak T, Xu W, Fisher ML, Eckert RL. (2013)  PLoS One. Dec 20;8(12):e84324. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084324. eCollection.

Kalakonda S, Nallar SC, Jaber S, Keay SK, Rorke E, Munivenkatappa R, Lindner DJ, Fiskum GM, Kalvakolanu DV. (2013) Monoallelic loss of tumor suppressor GRIM-19 promotes tumorigenesis in mice.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Nov 5;110):E4213-22.

Eckert RL, Adhikary G, Balasubramanian S, Rorke EA, Vemuri MC, Boucher SE, Bickenbach JR, Kerr C. (2013) Biochemistry of epidermal stem cells.  Biochim Biophys Acta. 1830:2427-34

Eckert RL, Adhikary G, Young CA, Jans R, Crish JF, Xu W, Rorke EA. (2013)  AP1 transcription factors in epidermal differentiation and skin cancer.  J Skin Cancer.;2013:537028. doi: 10.1155/2013/537028. Epub 2013 May 23.

Rorke EA, Adhikary G, Jans R, Crish JF, Eckert RL. (2010)  AP1 factor inactivation in the suprabasal epidermis causes increased epidermal hyperproliferation and hyperkeratosis but reduced carcinogen-dependent tumor formation.  Oncogene 29:5873-82.

Chen YW, Wang JK, Chou FP, Chen CY, Rorke EA, Chen LM, Chai KX, Eckert RL, Johnson MD, Lin CY.(2010) Regulation of the matriptase-prostasin cell surface