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Anne Ellis MD, MSc
 Anne Ellis
Position(s)
Professor
Contact Info
Watkins 1d, Allergy Unit, Kingston General Hospital
613-548-2336

Faculty Bio

Dr. Ellis research programs currently focuses on the development of biomarkers predictive of future atopy in umbilical cord blood as well as local and systemic mechanisms of allergic rhinitis. She is affiliated with AllerGen, a National Centres of Excellence in allergic diseases and is also involved in clinical trials utilizing the Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU) at Kingston General Hospital.

Research Interests

Cord Blood predictors of atopy

  • Molecular biomarkers or allergic risk in umbilical cord blood.

Allergic Rhinitis 

  • Systemic and Local Mechanisms of Inflammation.
  • Randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) of allergic rhinitis treatments, utilizing the internationally recognized Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU) (www.eeu.on.ca).
  • Factors affecting the "priming" response to allergen exposure.
  • Multicentre RCTs of allergic rhinitis therapies.

Anaphylaxis and adverse reactions 

  • Incidence and predictors of biphasic anaphylaxis.
  • Improving anaphylaxis management and education.

Training Opportunities:

The training environment in Dr. Ellis' lab is unique in Canada. As a Clinician-Scientist, she emphasizes heavily the importance of integrating basic science research with clinical experience. All trainees in her laboratory, regardless of their level of training, will have the opportunity to attend observerships in her outpatient Allergy & Immunology clinics, as well as the review of inpatient Allergy consults. This will allow trainees to gain an appreciation for the clinical impact that allergic diseases have on patients, and bring the relevance of their research in the laboratory to light. In addition, all trainees will have the opportunity to participate, in varying degrees, to the Allergy Clinical Trials program at KGH, the cornerstone of which is the internationally recognized Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU). Developed by Dr. James Day and Dr. Reginald Clark in the early 1980's, this specially designed room provides a reliable and reproducible clinical model of allergic rhinitis for the evaluation of a wide variety of anti-allergic therapies. The EEU (www.eeu.on.ca) was the first allergen challenge system of its kind in Canada, is the gold standard to which all others are compared; and provides a decisive component to the assessment of new anti-allergic therapies.

To gain more information about participating in Dr. Ellis' research program, call 613.548.2336 or email ellis.research@gmail.com

Details of Research Interests:

Allergic diseases, which include asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis, have reached epidemic proportions worldwide, and their incidence continues to increase. Allergic disorders now affect at least 30% of the Canadian population, and their impact extends to family members of affected children. As a consequence of these epidemiologic changes, allergic diseases are now the most common chronic disorders of children and adolescents. We are facing a crisis of epidemic proportions in the young (and otherwise healthy) members of Canadian society.

Dr. Ellis' research program aims to mitigate the impact of allergic diseases upon Canadians. As a result, it is a critical challenge to understand the development of allergic responses, their basis in immunity, and factors underlying their increasing prevalence. Dr. Ellis' over-arching research program "Slowing the Allergy Epidemic through Understanding and Prevention: A Dual-Themed Research Initiative in Atopy" will address these questions through two major research themes. Theme I, Cord Blood Predictors of Atopy, aims to identify reliable predictors of future atopic diseases in neonatal cord blood. Theme II, Systemic and Local Mechanisms of Allergic Rhinitis, will utilize the unique capability of the Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU) at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) to provide samples from patients with established allergic disease before, during, and after allergen exposure. Details of these research themes are outlined below.

Dr. Ellis has applied to become an Investigator in the AllerGen-NCE (Network of Centres of Excellence), a federally sponsored research network supporting the collaboration and partnering of allergy research across the country. AllerGen has recently been awarded matching funding from CIHR to begin recruiting newborns into the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study, a large scale multi-centre prospective general population birth cohort study which plans to follow 5,000 infants to at least 5 years of age evaluating factors that lead to the development of allergies and asthma. Dr. Ellis' lab contributes to the Immunology Platform of this pivotal research study.

Theme I: Cord Blood Predictors of Atopy:
Studies have demonstrated that the developing immune system in utero is capable of responding to allergens as early as 22 weeks gestation, and an emerging body of evidence suggests that maternal exposures during the in utero stage may be as -- or perhaps more -- important than neonatal exposure. This has led to increased research over the past decade in the area of early life immune events and their potential role in the development and maintenance of the atopic phenotype.

Umbilical cord blood (CB) provides a unique window into the physiology of both the maternal and fetal environment prior to the commencement of the neonatal environment. CB is routinely obtained from every hospital delivery, often in volumes that far exceed the requirement for the requisite laboratory analyses. Identification of biomarkers in cord blood (CB) that are predictive of allergy could allow for early intervention with appropriate treatment and/or avoidance strategies that may potentially slow, halt or avoid the allergic disease development.

The Ellis lab is collaborating with Dr. Judah Denburg's lab at McMaster University to expand upon his observations that eosinophil progenitors and their cell of origin, the pluripotent CD34+ cells are altered in number and function in infants of higher risk for atopy. Dr. Ellis has developed a surrogate molecular assay for these cells that has passed feasibility testing in random cord blood donors. What remains to be tested is if there are differences in these molecular biomarkers between infants of high atopic risk compared to low atopic risk infants, and more importantly, what the differences are at birth between those groups with documented atopic outcomes identified in the future.

Theme II: Systemic and Local Mechanisms of Allergic Rhinitis
In order to identify new potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of this extremely prevalent disorder, we must gain a better understanding of the underlying allergic inflammatory cascade.

Kingston General Hospital is home to the unique, internationally recognized research facility called the Environmental Exposure Unit or EEU, which allows for the exposure of large groups of participants to controlled levels of airborne allergens such as ragweed pollen. Over the past decade, the EEU has gained international acceptance for the clinical research conducted in Kingston with over 20 publications in top research journals (see publication list below). (www.eeu.on.ca)

A better understanding of the capabilities and advantages of the EEU over traditional allergy study settings has led to the call for exploration of new endpooints and development of innovative techniques so that we can further our understanding of allergic rhinitis and its treatment. Dr. Ellis' access to the EEU will allow for the collection of blood and nasal samples before, during and after allergen exposure, in addition to during treatment with various anti-allergic medications.

Selected Publications

Cord Blood Project

  1. Ellis AK, Crawford L, Denburg JA. Cord blood CD34+ hemopoietic progenitor eosinophilic lineage commitment assessed by Q-PCR. JACI 2009; [Abs] in press.
  2. Denburg JA, Fernandes R, Ellis AK, Cyr M, Crawford L, Kusel M, Holt K, Holt B, Kebadze T, Johnston SL, Sly P, Prescott S, Holt PG. Eosinophil progenitors at birth: intimations of future atopy and inflammation. Allergy Clin Immunol Int: J World Allergy Org, Supplement 2 (2007), pp 29-31.
  3. Ellis AK, Crawford L, Denburg JA. Molecular Markers of Eosinophilopoiesis: Multiplex Q-PCR Analysis of GATA-1, MBP and IL-5 Receptor mRNA Expression in Peripheral Blood. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007
  4. Crawford L, Ellis AK, Denburg JA. Kinetics of Cord Blood Eosinophil Lineage Biomarker mRNA: Co-expression of CysLTR1 with GATA-1. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007
  5. Ellis AK, Crawford L, Denburg JA. Molecular Markers of Eosinophilopoiesis: Multiplex Q-PCR Analysis of GATA-1, MBP and IL-5 Receptor mRNA Expression in Peripheral Blood. Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology 2006; 2(4): 140.
  6. Ellis AK, Crawford L, Denburg JA. Molecular Mechanisms of Eosinophilopoesis at Birth: Kinetics of Cord Blood GATA-1, MBP and IL-5 Receptor Expression. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2006; 117(2): S60.

Allergic Rhinitis Projects 

  1. Day JH, Ellis AK, Rafeiro E, Ratz JD, Briscoe MP. Experimental Models for the Evaluation of Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2006; 96(2): 263-278.
  2. Day JH, Briscoe MP, Rafeiro E, Ratz JD, Ellis AK, Frankish CW, Chapman D, deGuia EC, Kramer B, Warner C. Comparative efficacy of cetirizine and fexofenadine for seasonal allergic rhinitis, 5-12 hours post-dose, in the Environmental Exposure Unit. Allergy Asthma Proc 2005; 26(4): 275-82.
  3. Ellis AK, Ratz JD, Day A, Rafeiro E, Day JH. Factors affecting the allergic rhinitis response to ragweed allergen. Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology 2005; 1(3): 104-5.
  4. Ellis AK, Ratz JD, Heffer MJ, Day JH. The allergic rhinitis experience: A self-reported patient evaluation of symptomatology and medication use during ragweed season. Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology 2005; 1(3): 105
  5. Ellis AK, Rafeiro E, Ratz JD, Day JH. The Controlled Allergen Challenge Experience: Comparison of Allergic Upper Respiratory Symptoms in the Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU) and During Seasonal Exposure. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2005; 94(1): Abs 244.
  6. Ellis AK, Rafeiro E, Day JH. Quality of life indices may be predictive of placebo and medication response to treatment for allergic rhinitis. Ann Asthma Allergy Immunol 2001; 86(4): 393-6.
  7. Wilken JA, Kane RL, Ellis AK, Rafeiro E, Briscoe MP, Sullivan CL, Day JH. A comparison of the effect of diphenhydramine and desloratadine on vigilance and cognitive function during treatment of ragweed-induced allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2003; 91(4): 375-85.
  8. Day JH, Briscoe MP, Rafeiro E, Ellis AK, Petterson E, Akerlund A. Onset of action of intranasal budesonide (Rhinocort Aqua) in seasonal allergic rhinitis studied in a controlled exposure model. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2000 105(3): 489-94.
  9. Ellis AK, Day JH, Lundie MJ. Impact on Quality of Life in an Allergen Challenge Research Trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1999; 83: 33-39.
  10. Day JH, Briscoe MP, Welsh A, Smith JN, Clark AJ, Ellis AK, and Mason J. Onset of action, efficacy, and safety of a single dose of fexofenadine HCl for ragweed allergy using an environmental exposure unit. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1997; 79(6): 533-40.
  11. Day JH, Briscoe MP, Clark RH, Ellis AK, and Gervais P. Onset of action and efficacy of terfenadine, astemizole, cetirizine, and loratadine for the relief of symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1997; 79(2): 163-72.

Anaphylaxis

  1. Ellis AK, Day JH. Incidence and characteristics of biphasic anaphylaxis: a prospective evaluation of 103 patients. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2007; 98: 64-9.
  2. Ellis AK, Day JH. Management of anaphylaxis in a tertiary care emergency department. Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology 2006; 2(4): 138.
  3. Ellis AK, Day JH. Diagnosis and management of anaphylaxis. Can Med Assoc J 2003; 169(4): 307-12.
  4. Ellis AK, Day JH. Anaphylaxis treatment: the details. Can Med Assoc J 2003; 169: 1148-9.
  5. Ellis AK, Day, JH. Questions and answers about anaphylaxis. An information sheet for patients. Can Med Assoc J 2003; 169(4): 312.
  6. Ellis AK, Day JH. The role of epinephrine in the treatment of anaphylaxis. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 2003; 3(1): 11-4.
  7. Ellis AK, Day JH. Anaphylaxis: Diagnosis and Treatment. Allergy & Asthma 2000; 13(3): 22-35.
  8. Ellis AK, Day JH. Biphasic Anaphylaxis with Unusually Late Onset Second Phase: A Case Report. Can J Allergy Clin Immunol 1997; 2(3): 106-9.

Other Publications of Interest:

  1. Ellis AK, Keith PK. Non-allergic rhinitis with eosinophilia syndrome. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports. 2006 May; 6(3): 215-20.
  2. Ellis AK, Day JH. Clinical reactivity to insect stings. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2005; 5: 349-54.
  3. Day JH, Ellis AK, Rafeiro E. Levocetirizine: A new selective H1 receptor antagonist for use in allergic disorders. Drugs of Today 2004; 40(5): 415-21.
  4. Ellis AK, Day JH. Second and third generation antihistamines in the treatment of urticaria. Dermatologic Therapy 2000; 13(4): 327-36.
  5. Ellis AK, Day JH. Allergy to Insect Bites and Stings. Allergy 1996; 9(3): 18-22.

Textbook Chapter:

  1. Ellis AK, Day JH. Allergenic Microorganisms and Hypersensitivity. In: Flannigan BF and Miler JD, eds. Microorganism in Home and Indoor Work Environments, 2nd edition. Taylor and Francis, 2009, New York, in press.
  2. Ellis AK, Day JH. Insect Sting Allergy in Adults. In: Pawankar R, Holgate S, and Rosenwasser LJ, eds. Allergy Frontiers. From Epigenetics to Future Perspectives. Springer Japan KK, Tokyo, Japan 2009; in press.
  3. Ellis AK, Keith PK. Nonallergic Rhinitis with Eosinophilia Syndrome. In: Baraniuk J, Shusterman D. Nonallergic Rhinitis, Marcel Dekker Clinical Allergy and Immunology Series. Michael A. Kaliner, MD, Editor in Chief. Informa Healthcare USA, Inc 2007, New York: 87-100.
  4. Day JH, Ellis AK. Allergenic Microorganisms and Hypersensitivity. In: Flannigan BF, Sampson RA and Miller JD, eds. Microorganisms in Home and Indoor Work Environments. Taylor and Francis 2001, New York. 103