Ellen received her PhD in fetal physiology from the Department of Pediatrics, the University of Auckland in 2000. She then did a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA, focusing on the maternal HPA axis and its effects on the fetus. This was followed by the position of Research Fellow at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, where she studied treatment for fetal brain injury. She started part time editing in 2004 and became full time in 2010.
In her spare time, she enjoys outdoors activities, such as scuba diving, fishing, skiing, and taking walks with her dog.