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 Physiology Faculty

Buffy Ellsworth photo
Dr. Buffy Ellsworth
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Colorado State University
Department of Physiology
Life Science III, Room 2062
Phone: 618-453-1539
Office Hours: By Appointment


  • PHSL 501
  • Medical School Year One Curriculum (ERG)

Research Interests

Forkhead transcription factors have been implicated in tumor formation, chromatin remodeling and cell fate determination. We are interested in the role forkhead factors play in pituitary development and function. Using genetically engineered mice as a model system, we are studying how forkhead factors regulate gene expression, organ patterning and cell specification during embryonic development and pituitary function in the adult.

The experimental techniques used in our lab include: immunohistochemical analysis and in situ hybridization on embryonic pituitary from knockout mice, real time RT-PCR, transient transfection of immortalized cell lines and primary culture of mouse pituitary cells.

Selected Publications

Ellsworth BS. 2016 Pituitary Regeneration: It’ll Knock Your SOX Off! Endocrinology, 157:452.

Kapali J, Kabat BE, Schmidt KL, Stallings CE, Tippy M, Jung DO, Edwards BS, Nantie LB, Raetzman LT, Navratil AM, Ellsworth BS. 2016 Foxo1 is Required for Normal Somatotrope Differentiation.Endocrinology, en-2016.

Stallings CE, Kapali J, Ellsworth BS. 2016 Mouse Models of Gonadotrope Development. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci, 143:1.

Ellsworth BS, White BR, Burns AT, Cherrington BD, Otis AM, Clay CM 2003 c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation of AP-1 underlies homologous regulation of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor gene in T3-1 cells. Endocrinology 144:839-849.

Ellsworth BS, Escudero KW, Burns AT, Duval DL, Nelson SE, Clay CM 2003 The gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) receptor activating sequence (GRAS) is a composite regulatory element that interacts with multiple classes of transcription factors including Smads, AP-1 and a forkhead DNA binding protein. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 206:93-111.

Ellsworth BS, Egashira N, Haller J, Butts DL, Cocquet J, Clay CM, Osamura RY, Camper SA. 2006 FOXL2 in the Pituitary: Genetic, Molecular and Developmental Analysis. Molecular Endocrinology 20:2796-805.

Ellsworth BS, Butts DL, Camper SA. 2008 Mechanisms Underlying Pituitary Hypoplasia and Dorsalization of Pre-gonadotropes in Lhx3 Deficient Mice. Developmental Biology, 313:118-29.

Davis SW, Castinetti F, Carvalho LR, Ellsworth BS, Potok MA, Lyons RH, Brinkmeier ML, Raetzman LT, Carnici P, Mortensen AH, Hayashizaki Y, Arnhold IJP, Mendonca BB, Brue T, Camper SA. 2009 Molecular mechanisms of pituitary organogenesis: In search of novel regulatory genes. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 323:4.

Carvalho LR, Brinkmeier ML, Castinetti F, Ellsworth BS, Camper SA. 2010 Corepressors TLE1 and TLE3 Interact with HESX1 and PROP1. Molecular Endocrinology, 24:754.

Yang WH, Gutierrez N, Wang L, Ellsworth BS, Wang CM. 2010 Synergistic Activation of the Mc2r Promoter by FOXL2 and NR5A1 in Mice. Biology of Reproduction, 83:842.

Jung DO, Jasurda JS, Egashira N, Ellsworth BS. 2012 The Forkhead Transcription Factor, FOXP3, Is Required for Normal Pituitary Gonadotropin Expression in Mice. Biol Reprod, 86:144.

Gumbel JH, Patterson EM, Owusu SA, Kabat BE, Jung DO, Simmons J, Hopkins T, Ellsworth BS. 2012 The Forkhead Transcription Factor, Foxd1, is Necessary for Pituitary Luteinizing Hormone Expression in Mice. PLoS ONE, In Revision.

Majumdar S, Farris CL, Kabat BE, Jung DO, Ellsworth BS. 2012 Forkhead Box O1 is Increased in Embryonic Pituitary in the Absence of p27Kip1. PLoS ONE, Submitted.

Tran S, Zhou X, Lafleur C, Calderon MJ, Ellsworth BS, Kimmins S, Boehm U, Treier M, Boerboom D, Bernard DJ. 2013 Impaired Fertility and FSH Synthesis in Gonadotrope-Specific Foxl2 Knockout Mice. Molecular Endocrinology, 27:407.

Ellsworth BS. 2013 Obesity: A Somatotrope Perspective. Endocrinology, 154:1390.

Davis SW, Ellsworth BS, Perez Millan MI, Gergics P, Schade V, Foyouzi N, Brinkmeier ML, Mortensen AH, Camper SA. 2013 Pituitary gland development and disease: from stem cell to hormone production. Current Topics in Developmental Biology, 106:1-47.

Jasurda JS*, Jung DO, Froeter ED*, Schwarz DB*, Hopkins TD*, Farris CL, McGee S, Narayan P, Ellsworth BS. 2014 The Forkhead Transcription Factor, FOXP3: A Critical Role in Male Fertility. Biology of Reproduction, 90:4.

COVER: Histological stains demonstrating the drastic reduction in seminiferous tubule size, germ cell maturation and Leydig cell (brown) number in mice containing a loss of function mutation of the forkhead transcription factor, Foxp3. These mice exhibit hypogonadotropic hypogonadism due to loss of pituitary gonadotropin production.

Calderon MJ, Ploegman AG, Bailey B*, Jung DO, Navratil AM, Ellsworth BS. 2015 Loss of Foxm1 Results in Reduced Somatotrope Cell Number during Mouse Embryogenesis. PLoS ONE, 10:e0128942.