Ornella Selmin, PhD

Research Associate Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Research Associate Professor, The Arizona Cancer Center


  • Ph.D., University of Padua, Padua, Italy
  • B.S., University of Padua, Padua, Italy

Dr. Selmin is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and is a member of BIO5 Research Institute, Center for Toxicology, Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center, and Sarver Heart Center at The University of Arizona. Her research program has been funded by grants from the National Institute of Health, the US Department of Defense, and the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission. Dr. Selmin’s research program focuses on mechanisms of environmental carcinogenesis and toxicity. Specific research areas include mechanisms of regulation of expression of proinflammatory and tumor suppressor genes by environmental xenobiotics, mechanisms of epigenetic regulation in breast and colon cancer, and role of diet-nuclear receptor interactions in differentiation and development. Dr. Selmin has served as a scientific reviewer for the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, and The Arizona Biomedical Research Commission, and other national funding agencies.

Environmental and molecular toxicology, nutrition and cancer.


  • Makwana O, Ahles L, Lencinas A, Selmin OI, Runyan RB. Low-Dose Trichloroethylene Alters Cytochrome P450-2C Subfamily Expression in the Developing Chick Heart. Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2013 Mar;13(1):77-84.
  • Romagnolo DF and Selmin OI. Herbal supplements in the prevention and treatment of cancer. In Handbook of Nutrition and Food, Third Edition, Chapter 44, page 741-752.
  • Romagnolo DF, Selmin OI. Flavonoids and cancer prevention: a review of the evidence. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2012, Jul;31(3):206-38.
  • Papoutsis AJ, Borg JL, Selmin OI, Romagnolo DF. BRCA-1 promoter hypermethylation and silencing induced by the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor-ligand TCDD are prevented by resveratrol in MCF-7 Cells. J Nutr Biochem. 2012, 23(10):1324-32.
  • Palbykin B, Borg J, Caldwell PT, Rowles J, Papoutsis AJ, Romagnolo DF and Selmin OI. Trichloroethylene Induces Methylation of the Serca2 Promoter in H9c2 Cells and Embryonic Heart. Cardiovascular Toxicology 2011, 11: 204-14.
  • Papoutsis AJ, Lamore SD, Wondrak GT, Selmin OI, Romagnolo DF. Resveratrol prevents epigenetic silencing of BRCA-1 by the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor in human breast cancer cells. J Nutr. 2010, 140(9):1607-14.
  • Romagnolo DF, Degner SC, and Selmin O. Dietary Compounds that target the AhR and Cancer Risk. In: Bioactive Food Components and Cancer, Humana Press
  • Makwana O, King NMP, Ahles L, Selmin O, Granzier, HL, Runyan, RB. Exposure to low dose trichloroethylene alters heart rate, sheer stress gene expression and cardiac function in the developing chick heart. Cardiovascular Toxicology. 2010, 10(2):100-7.
  • Caldwell PT, Manziello A, Howard J, Palbykin B, Runyan R, and Selmin O. Gene expression profiling in the fetal cardiac tissue after folate and low dose trichloroethylene exposure.  Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2010, 88(2):111-27.
  • Romagnolo DF, Papoutsis AJ, Degner SC, and  Selmin O. Linoleic Acids and Cancer Cell Functions. In: Fatty Acids in Health Promotion and Disease Causation. 2009; 479-498. AOCS. Ed. Ronald Watson.
  • Degner S C, Papoutsis, AJ, Selmin O, and Romagnolo DF. Targeting of Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor-Mediated Activation of COX-2 Expression by 3,3’-Diindolylmethane in Breast Cancer Cells J. Nutr. 2009, 139:1-7.
  • Petrick JS, Blachere FM, Selmin O, and Lantz RC. Inorganic Arsenic as A Developmental  Toxicant: In Utero Exposure and Alterations in The Developing Lung. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 2009, 53(5):583-91
  • Selmin O, Thorne P, Caldwell P, Taylor M. Trichloroethylene and Trichloroacetic acid Affect Crucial Genes Regulating Calcium Signaling Pathways in Murine Embryonal Carcinoma Cells P19. Cardiovascular Toxicology. 2008, 104:135-43.
  • Caldwell PT, Thorne PA, Boitano S, Runyan RB, and Selmin O. Trichloroethylene Disrupts Serca2a and Cardiac Calcium Homeostasis in Rat Myocytes. Toxicol Sci. 2008, 104:135-43.
  • Romagnolo DF, Degner SC, Kemp MQ, Hockings JK, and Selmin O. Role of Dietary Xenobiotics-Gene Interactions in Carcinogenesis: Protective Effects of Nutritional Factors. Current Nutrition & Food Science. 2006, 2: 205-214. Review.
  • Hockings JK, Thorne PA, Kemp MQ, Morgan SS, Selmin O, Romagnolo DF. The ligand status of the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor modulates transcriptional activation of BRCA-1 promoter by estrogen. Cancer Res. 2006, 66(4):2224-32.
  • Kemp MQ, Liu W, Thorne PA, Kane MD, Selmin O, Romagnolo DF. Induction of the transferrin receptor gene by benzo[a]pyrene in breast cancer MCF-7 cells: Potential as a biomarker of PAH exposure. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2006, (7):518-26.
  • Selmin O, Thorne PA, Caldwell PT, Johnson PD, Runyan RB. Effects of Trichloroethylene and its Metabolite Trichloroacetic Acid on the Expression of Vimentin in The Rat H9c2 Cell Line. Cell Biology and Toxicology. 2005, 21:83-95.
  • Selmin O, Thorne PA, Blachere FM, Johnson PD,  Romagnolo DF. Transcriptional Activation of the Membrane Bound-Progesterone Receptor (mPR) by Dioxin, in Endocrine-Responsive Tissues. Molecul. Repr. and Develop. 2005, 70(2):166-174.
  • Collier JM, Cover CC, Selmin O, Johnson PD, Runyan RB. Trichloroethylene Effects on Gene Expression During Cardiac Development. Birth Defects Research (Part A). 2003, 67:488-495.
  • Jeffy BD, Schultz EU, Selmin O, Gudas J, Bowden GT, and Romagnolo D.  Inhibition of BRCA1 Expression by Benzo[A]Pyrene and its Diol-Epoxide in Breast and Ovarian Cells. Molecular Carcinogenesis. 1999, 26(2):100-118.
  • Millikan RC, Pittman,GS, Newman B, Tse CJ, Selmin O, Rockhill B, Savitz D, Moorman PG, and Bell D. Cigarette Smoking, N-Acetyltransferase 1 and 2, and Breast Cancer Risk. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 1998, 7:371-378.
  • Helzlsouer KJ, Selmin O, Strickland PT, Huang H-Y, Hoffman S, Alberg AJ, Watson M, Comstock GW, Bell DA. A Study of the Association Between Glutathione S-Transferase M1 (GSTM1), P1 (GSTP1), and T1 (GSTT1) Genetic Polymorphisms and the Development of Breast Cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 1998, 90(7): 512-517.
  • Lavigne JA, Helzlsouer KJ, Huang H-Y, Stickland PT, Bell DA, Selmin O, Watson MA, Hoffman S, Comstock GW, Yager JD. An Association Between the Allele Coding for a Low Activity Variant of Catechol-O-Methyltransferase and the Risk for Breast Cancer. Cancer Research. 1997, Dec 15; 57 (24), 5493-5497.
  • Rutherford CL, Selmin O, Peters-Weigel S.  Temporal Regulation of Dictyostelium Glycogen Phosphorylase Gene. Biochem. and Biophys. Acta. 1997, 1351 (1-2):11-125.
  • Selmin O, Lucier GW, Tritscher AM, Clark GC, Vanden-Heuvel JP, Sutter TR, Gastel JA, and Bell DA.  Isolation and Characterization of a Novel Gene up Regulated by TCDD in Rat Liver.  Carcinogenesis. 1996, 17 (12): 2609-2612.
  • Sucic JF, Selmin O, and Rutherford CL.  Regulation of Dictyostelium Glycogen Phosphorylase-2 Gene by cAMP. Developmental Genetics. 1993, 14: 313-322.
  • Rutherford CL, Perry RB, Sucic JF, Yin Y, Rogers PV, Luo S, and Selmin O.  Cloning, Structural Analysis, and Expression of the Glycogen Phosphorylase-2 gene in Dictyostelium. J. Biol. Chem. 1992, 267:2296-2302.
  • Selmin O, Volpin D, and Bressan G. 1991. Changes of Cellular Expression of mRNA for Tropoelastin in the Intraembrionic Arterial Vessels of Developing Chick Revealed by in situ Hybridization. Matrix. 1991, 11:347-358.
  • Pfaffle M, Barchert M, Detzmann R, von der Mark K, Fernandez MP, Selmin O, Yamada Y, Martin G, Ruggiero F, Garrone R. Anchorin CII, a Collagen-Binding Chondrocyte  Surface Protein of the Calpactin Family. Review.  Prog. Clin. Biol. Res. 1990, 349:147-157.
  • Pfaffle M, Ruggiero F, Hofman H, Fernandez MP, Selmin O, Yamada Y, Garrone R, and von der Mark K. Biosynthesis, Secretion, and Extracellular Localization of Anchorin-CII, A Collagen Binding Protein of the Calpactin Family. The EMBO J. 1988, 7(8): 2335-2342.
  • Rutherford CL, Naranan V, Brickey DA, Sucic JF, Rogers PV, Selmin O. Glycogen Phosphorylase in Dictyostelium Discoideum: Demonstration of two Developmentally Regulated Forms, Purification to Homogeneity, Immunochemical Analysis, cAMP Induction, in vitro Translation, Molecular Cloning. Developmental Genetics. 1988, Vol.9, n.4-5.
  • Fernandez MP, Selmin O, Martin GR, Yamada Y, Pfaffle M, Deutzmann R, Mollenhauer J, and von der Mark K. The Structure of Anchorin-CII, a Collagen Binding Protein Isolated from Chondrocyte Membrane. J. Biol. Chem. 1988, 263: 5921-5925.
  • Bortolussi M, Selmin O, and Colombatti A. A Solid-Phase Receptor Binding Assay for 125-I-hCG. J. Immunoassay. 1987, 8: 219-235.