Pioneering Rehabilitation

Elena Ivanova, Ph.D.

Instructor, Laboratory for Cellular Vision and Plasticity

Instructor in Neuroscience
Weill Cornell Medicine


(914) 368-3168

Research Focus

We are interested in understanding retinal physiology and plasticity in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases. Knowledge of functional and structural changes will potentially allow for development of effective therapies for treatment and prevention of vision loss.


1998: M.S. in Biology, summa cum laude, Yaroslavl State University, Yaroslavl, Russia

2003: Ph.D. in Zoology (neuroscience), summa cum laude, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

2003 - 2005 Max-Planck Postdoc Fellowship, Dept. of Neuroanatomy, Max-Planck Inst. for Brain Research, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

2006 - 2006 Postdoc Fellow, Dept. of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

2007 - 2009 Research Associate, Dept. of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

2009 –2012 Research Scientist, Dept. of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI


1. HCN channels are expressed differentially in retinal bipolar cells and concentrated at synaptic terminals. Muller F., Scholten A., Ivanova E., Haverkamp S., Kremmer E., Kaupp U.B. Eur J Neurosci. 2003 May;17(10):2084-96

2. Characterization of the glycinergic input to bipolar cells of the mouse retina. Ivanova E., Wassle H. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Jan; 23(2):350-64

3. Retinal bipolar cell types differ in their inventory of ion channels. Ivanova E., Mueller F. Vis Neurosci. 2006Mar-Apr; 23(2):143-54

4. Glycine Receptors of A-type Ganglion Cells of the Mouse Retina. Majumdar S., Heinze L., Haverkamp S., Ivanova E., Wässle H. Vis Neurosci. 2007 May; 29: 1-17

5. Evaluation of the adeno-associated virus mediated long-term expression of channelrhodopsin-2 in the mouse retina. Ivanova E, Pan ZH. Mol Vis. 2009 Aug 21;15:1680-9

6. Ectopic expression of Multiple Microbial Rhodopsins Restores ON and OFF Light Responses in Retinas with Photoreceptor Degeneration. Zhang Y., Ivanova E., Bi A., Pan Z.H. J Neurosci. 2009 July 29(29):9186 –9196

7. Glycinergic transmission in the Mammalian retina. Wässle H, Heinze L, Ivanova E, Majumdar S, Weiss J, Harvey RJ, Haverkamp S. Front Mol Neurosci. 2009;2:6. Epub 2009 Jul 9

8. Characterization of green fluorescent protein-expressing retinal cone bipolar cells in a 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 2a transgenic mouse line. Lu Q, Ivanova E, Pan ZH. Neuroscience. 2009 Oct 6;163(2):662-8. Epub 2009 Jul 7

9. Characterization of transgenic mouse lines expressing Cre recombinase in the retina. Ivanova E, Hwang GS, Pan ZH. Neuroscience. 2010 Jan 13;165(1):233-43. Epub 2009 Oct 23

10. Evaluation of AAV-mediated expression of Chop2-GFP in the marmoset retina. Ivanova E, Hwang GS, Pan ZH, Troilo D. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Oct;51(10):5288-96. Epub 2010 May 19

11. Retinal channelrhodopsin-2-mediated activity in vivo evaluated with manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. Ivanova E, Roberts R, Bissig D, Pan ZH, Berkowitz BA. Mol Vis. 2010 Jun 9;16:1059-67

12. Action potential generation at an axon initial segment-like process in the axonless retinal AII amacrine cell. Wu C, Ivanova E, Cui J, Lu Q, Pan ZH.J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 12;31(41):14654-9

Current Project

Structural changes in synaptic receptors of ganglion cells in rodent models of retinal diseases. The photoreceptor degenerated mouse (rd10) is a model of recessive retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited degenerative eye disease in humans. In the retina of rd10 mice, photosensitive cells slowly die, causing progressive vision loss leading to blindness. Pathological changes in the entire retina can be monitored in the ganglion cells. Ganglion cells are the output neurons of the retina, and conduct retinal signals in the form of spikes to the higher brain regions. Elevated levels of spontaneous excitatory activity and firing in rd10 retinal ganglion cells indicate changes in excitatory transmitter release and/or modification of synaptic structures and contacts. Excitotoxicity in the central nervous system, including the retina, involves the activation of glutamate receptors in particular NMDA receptors.The concentration of glutamate, the major neurotransmitter for retinal ganglion cells, may reach toxic levels. However, it remains unclear whether the small but significant increase of glutamate is toxic to ganglion cells or whether this is a compensatory mechanism in the process of maintaining normal visual function. In the current proposal we are evaluating structural changes in synaptic receptors of ganglion cells underlying this abnormal activity.


2009-2010 Midwest Eye-Banks: “Evaluation of Virus Mediated Expression of Channelrhodopsin-2 in the Marmoset Retina.” Role: PI