Title: Faculty & research interests





Ellen A Lumpkin
Ellen A Lumpkin, PhD
Associate Professor
Associate Member

Department: Dermatology
Pathology and Cell Biology

RB 302B

Personal Website

Disease Models: Cancer, Sensory Disorders

Stem Cell Categories: Tissue progenitors

Model Organisms: Rodent

Themes: Skin

The overall goal of Dr. Lumpkin's research is to define mechanisms of cutaneous somatosensation, which initiates the senses of touch and pain. Her group focuses on Merkel cell-neurite complexes, which are touch receptors that mediate fine tactile acuity required for manual dexterity. Merkel cells, which are one of only four conserved cells types in the vertebrate epidermis, give rise to a highly aggressive form of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma. Dr. Lumpkin and colleagues have recently demonstrated that Merkel cells are derived from the epidermis rather than from neural tissue, as previously thought. Areas of investigation include 1) defining molecular pathways that promote Merkel-cell differentiation from multipotent epidermal progenitors and 2) identifying mechanisms that direct sensory innervation of Merkel cells.


Wellnitz, S. A., D. R. Lesniak, G. J. Gerling and E. A. Lumpkin.
The regularity of sustained firing reveals two populations of slowly adapting touch receptors in mouse hairy skin. J. Neurophysiol 103:3378-88. (2010)

Maricich, S. M., S. Wellnitz, A. M. Nelson, D. R. Lesniak, G. J. Gerling, E. A. Lumpkin* and H. Zoghbi*
Merkel cells are essential for light touch responses in mice. Science 324:1580-82. (2009)

Morrison, K. M., G. Miesegaes, E. A. Lumpkin and S. M. Maricich.
Mammalian Merkel cells are descended from the epidermal lineage. Devel. Biol. 336:76-83. (2009)

Lumpkin, E. A. and M. J. Caterina
Mechanisms of sensory transduction in the skin. Nature 445:858-65. (2007)

Haeberle, H., M. Fujiwara, J. Chuang, M. M. Medina, M. V. Panditrao, S. Bechstedt, J. Howard and E. A. Lumpkin.
Molecular profiling reveals synaptic release machinery in Merkel cells. PNAS 101:14503-8. (2004)

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