Contact Information


Dr. Selcer joined Duquesne University in 1992. He has a BS and MS from the University of Texas-Pan American, and a PhD from Texas Tech University. His research focuses on the role of steroid hormones in the pathology of hormone-dependent cancers, and he teaches courses on human physiology and endocrinology. Dr. Selcer also has an strong interest in birds and teaches a popular course on ornithology.


  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Texas Tech University Medical School
  • Ph.D. Biology, Texas Tech University, 1986
  • M.S. Biology, University of Texas-Pan American, 1982
  • B.S. Biology, University of Texas-Pan American, 1980

Research Interests

Role of estrogens and androgens in reproduction and cancer

Estrogens and androgens are sex steroid hormones produced by the adrenal glands and the gonads. These two hormones have important roles in normal reproductive processes; however, they are also implicated in certain abnormal processes, including hormone-dependent cancers. My laboratory is studying the function of androgens and estrogens in normal and pathological processes. One area of study is on chemical pollutants that mimic the action of estrogen, so called "environmental estrogens. We are particularly interested in developing bioassays for detection of these environmental estrogens, based on the presence of the biomarker vitellogenin in the blood of wild animals. Another area of study is the role of the enzyme steroid sulfatase in the growth of hormone-dependent cancer. We are developing steroid sulfatase inhibitors as potential agents for the treatment of breast and prostate carcinomas. We are also investigating the regulation of steroid sulfatase in breast, bone and ovarian tissues. A third area of emphasis is the role of androgens in reproduction of female nonmammalian vertebrates. Androgen levels of females may be as high as those in males for many species of reptiles and amphibians, suggesting that androgens may function in female reproduction. Model systems used in my laboratory include fish, frogs, turtles, rats, human placenta, and human breast and prostate cancer cell lines.


Profile Information

Myre, B.L., Guertin, J., Selcer, K., Valverde, R.A. 2016. Ovarian dynamics in free-ranging loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). Copeia 104 (4): 921-929. doi: 10.1643/CP-16-393.

Dias, N.J., Selcer, K.W. 2016. Steroid sulfatase in the human MG-63 preosteoblastic cell line:Antagonistic regulation by glucocorticoids and NFB. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 420: 85-96. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2015.11.029.

Jiang M, Klein M, Zanger UM, Mohammad MK, Cave MC, Gaikwad NW, Dias NJ, Selcer KW, Guo Y, He J, Zhang X, Shen Q, Qin W, Li J, Li S, Xie W. 2015. Inflammatory regulation of steroid sulfatase: A novel mechanism to control estrogen homeostasis and inflammation in chronic liver disease. J Hepatol. 2015 Jul 26. pii: S0168-8278(15)00513-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2015.07.022.

Jandegian, C.M., Deem. S.L., Bhandari, R.K., Holliday, C.M., Nicks, D., Rosenfeld, C.S., Selcer, K.W., Tillitt, D.E., vom Saal, F. S., Velez-Rivera, V., Yang, Y., Holliday, D. 2015. Developmental exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) alters sexual differentiation in painted turtles (Chrysemys picta). Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2015 May 15;216:77-85. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2015.04.003. Epub 2015 Apr 8.

Dias, N. and Selcer, K.W. 2014. Steroid sulfatase mediated growth of human MG-63 pre-osteoblastic cells. Steroids. 88: 77-82. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2014.07.001

Selcer, K.W., and J.D. Verbanic. 2014. Vitellogenin in the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens): Development of an immunoassay and evaluation of induction after immersion in xenobiotic estrogens. Chemosphere 112 (2014): 348-354.

Smelker, K., L. Smith, M. Arendt, J. Schwenter, D. Rostal, K. Selcer and R. Valverde. 2014, Plasma vitellogenin in free-ranging loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) of the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Marine Biology 2014.

Jiang, M. He, J., Kucera, H., Nilesh W., Gaikwad, B.Z., O'Doherty, R.M., Selcer, K.W., Xie, W. 2014. Hepatic overexpression of steroid sulfatase ameliorates mouse models of obesity and type 2 diabetes through sex-specific mechanisms. Journal of Biological Chemistry 289 (2014): 8086-8097.

Selcer, K.W., DiFrancesca, H. 2012. Characterization of steroid sulfatase in the MC3T3-E1 mouse preosteoblastic cell line. Steroids. 2012 May;77(6):696-702. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2012.02.024.

Valverde, R.A., Selcer, K.W., Rolier Lara L, Sibaja-Cordero J.A. 2008. Lack of xenoestrogen-induced vitellogenin in male olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Revísta Biologia Tropical 56:49-47.

Rainwater, T.R., K.W. Selcer, L.M. Nespoli, A.G. Finger, D.A. Ray, S.G. Platt, P.N. Smith, L.D. Densmore, T.A. Anderson, McMurry. S.T. 2007. Plasma vitellogenin in Morelet's crocodiles from contaminated habitats in northern Belize. Environmental Pollution 153: 101-109. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2007.07.018

Selcer, K.W., DiFrancesca, H., Chandra, A., Li, P.K. 2007. Immunohistochemical analysis of steroid sulfatase in human tissues. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 105:115-123; doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2006.12.105.

Selcer, K.W., Nespoli, L.M., Rainwater, T.R., Finger, A.G, Ray, D.A., Platt, S.G., Smith, P.M., Densmore, L.D., McMurry, S.T. 2006. Development of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for vitellogenin of Morelet's crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C, Toxicology and Pharmacology, 143: 50-58.

Selcer, K.W. 2006. Reptile Ecotoxicology: Studying the effects of contaminants on populations. Pgs. 267-298, In: Toxicology of Reptiles, Gardner, S., and Oberdoerster, E, Eds. CRC Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, 310 pp.

Selcer, K.W., Smith, S., Clemens, J.W., Palmer, B.D. 2005. Androgen receptor in the oviduct of the turtle, Trachemys scripta. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 141: 61-70.

Selcer, K.W., H. Kabler, J. Sarap, Z. Xiao, Li, P.K. 2002. Inhibition of steryl sulfatase activity in LNCaP human prostate cancer cells. Steroids 67: 821-826.

Selcer, K.W. Nagaraja, S., Foret, P., Wagner, D., Williams, L., Palmer, B.D. 2001. Vitellogenin as a biomarker for estrogenic chemicals: Development of antibodies and primers with broad species applications. In, PCBs: Recent Advances in the Environmental Toxicology and Health Effects, Robertson, R.L., and L.G. Hansen, eds, University of Kentucky Press, Lexington, pp 285-292.

Clemens, J.W., H.L., Kabler, J. L., Sarap, A.R. Beyers, P.K. Li, Selcer, K.W. 2000. Steroid sulfatase activity in the rat ovary, cultured granulosa cells, and a granulosa cell line. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 75: 245-252.

1. Derivatives of estra 1,3,5(10)triene-17-one, 3 amino compounds and their use.
Inventors: P.K. Li and K.W. Selcer
US Patent # 5,571,933, reissued as # 5,866,603
Filed 11/17/94, Issued 11/5/96, reissued 2/2/99

2. Steroid sulfatase inhibitors and methods for making and using the same.
Inventors: P.K. Li and K.W. Selcer
US Patent # 5,880,115
Filed 6/30/97, Issued 3/6/99

3. Compounds for the treatment of estrogen-dependent illnesses and methods for making and using the same.
Inventors: P.K. Li and K.W. Selcer
Filed 8/1/98
Approved 1/18/01, Application # 09/164/889
Continuation in part filed 3/24/2000, approved 9/11/2001
US Patent # 6,288,107 B1
  • BIOL 315/515: Human Physiology
  • BIOL 330: General Ecology
  • BIOL 401/501: Ornithology
  • BIOL 460/560: Endocrinology