Jessica Martinez, PhD

Assistant Research Professor, School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness


  • Ph.D., The University of Arizona
  • M.D., The University of Arizona
  • Undergraduate College - Hillsdale College


Dr. Martinez’s research has focused on the assessment of the disposition of the bioactive food component limonene, a potential breast cancer chemopreventive found in citrus peel oil. She has developed and published analytical assays to extract limonene and its major metabolite from adipose tissue and biofluids using specific chromatographic methods for quantitation. She has also been involved in early phase clinical trials in the prevention setting for breast cancer using agents such as resveratrol and green tea. Her research focus is moving into the area of metabolomics as a systemic approach to evaluate the effect of chemopreventive agents. Using metabolomics profiling with mass spectrometry-based techniques, she has investigated novel mechanisms and biomarkers of limonene activity after 4 weeks intervention in early stage breast cancer patients (PI: Sherry Chow).

She has also initiated projects in collaboration with Imperial College and Waters Corporation to characterize metabolite profiles in nipple aspirate fluid using multiple analytical platforms (nuclear magnetic resonance, gas chromatography mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry). Current research also includes utilizing plasma samples from a phase-III clinical trial (PI: Dr. Patricia Thompson) to characterize changes in oxylipin metabolites of the arachidonic acid pathway after administration of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and relate these changes to colorectal adenoma outcomes.

Future work will focus on applying metabolomics to characterize metabolite signatures in blood and urine pre and post an AI+sulindac intervention in order to understand the determinants of AI-associated pain as well as predicting benefit with sulindac. This work will take place in the context of an R01-funded clinical study of women with a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer on aromatase inhibitors (AI) (PIs Thompson and Stopeck). The study should help guide future research that will identify molecular targets of pain for the ultimate goal of improving AI adherence and reducing death from breast cancer. Future work will also focus on cancer prevention clinical trials in order to identify novel biomarkers of cancer risk or of response to interventions.


*Maiden name: Miller

  • *Miller JA, Pappan K, Wulff J, Want EJ, Siskos AP, Keun HC, Hu C, Thompson PA, Lance P, Lang JE, Chow HHS. Analysis of changes in the plasma metabolomic profiles of breast cancer patients after short-term limonene intervention. Cancer Prevention Research2015;8(1):86-93
  • Tredwell G, *Miller JA, Chow HH, Thompson PA, Keun H. “Metabolomic Characterization of Nipple Aspirate Fluid by HNMR spectroscopy and GC-MS" J Proteome Res. 2014; 13(2):883-9
  • *Miller JA, Lang JE, Ley M, Nagle RB, Hsu CH, Thompson PA, Cordova C, Waer A, Chow HH.“Human breast tissue bioavailability and bioactivity of limonene in women with early stage breast cancer.” Cancer Prevention Research 2013 (6); 577-84.
  • *Miller JA, Thompson PA, HakimIA, Lopez AM, Vining D, Fritz H, ChewWM, Hsu CH, Chow HH. "Expression of EGF, TGF-β1 and adiponectin in nipple aspirate fluid and plasma of pre and post-menopausal women.” Biomarker Research 2013 (1); 18.
  • *Miller JA, Thompson PA, HakimIA, Lopez AM, Thomson CA, ChewWM, Hsu CH, Chow HH. "Safety and feasibility of topical application of limonene as a massage oil to the breast.” Journal of Cancer Therapy 2012(3); 749-754.
  • *Miller JA, Thompson PA, Hakim IA, Chow HH, Thomson CA. d-Limonene: a bioactive food component from citrus and evidence for a potential role in breast cancer prevention and treatment. Oncology Reviews 2011; 66(5):31–42
  • *Miller JA, HakimIA, ChewWM, Thompson PA, ThomsonCA, Chow HH. Adipose tissue accumulation of d-limonene with the consumption of a lemonade preparation rich in d-limonene content. Nutrition and Cancer 2010; 62(6); 783-8.
  • Chow HH, Garland L, Hsu CH, Vining DR, Chew WM, *Miller JA, Perloff M, Crowell JA, Alberts D. Resveratrol modulates drug- and carcinogen-metabolizing enzymes in a healthy volunteer study. Cancer Prevention Research 2010; 3(9): 1168-75.
  • *Miller JA, Hakim IA, Thomson CA, Thompson PA, Chow HH. Determination of d-limonene in adipose tissue by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2008 Jul 1;870(1):68-73

Professional Affiliations

  • Member American Society for Preventive Oncology (ASPO)
  • Member American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Member American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS)
  • Member American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
  • Member American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • Member, America Society for Nutrition
  • Member, Beta Beta Beta biological honorary society
  • Member, Kappa Mu Epsilon national math honorary society
  • Member, Sigma Zeta national science honorary society
  • Member, Iota Sigma Pi national women’s chemistry honorary society
  • Member, American Chemical Society


  • Young Investigator Award from Mass Spectrometry Applications to the Clinical Lab, Europe Annual Meeting (2014)
  • Young Investigator Award from Mass Spectrometry Applications to the Clinical Lab, USA Annual Meeting (2014)
  • Women in Cancer Research Scholar Award for the American Association Cancer Research Annual Meeting (2013)
  • Phoenix Friends of the University of Arizona Cancer Center Postdoctoral Fellow Scholar Award (2013)
  • R25T Postdoctoral Fellowship, supported by The University of Arizona Cancer Center (2011-2013)
  • NCI Cancer Prevention Research Symposium (2010)
  • Nominee Graduate Teaching Assistant, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona (2009)
  • Graduate College Fellowship (2009)
  • Meritorious Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Arizona (2008)
  • LAUREATES (Laboratory for Advanced Undergraduate Research Education Adapted for Talented And Extraordinary Students) summer research stipend (2004)