Petra Tsuji

Associate Professor


Contact Information

Smith Hall, Room No. 349


M.S., Biology
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe University

M.P.H., Health (Certificate in Nutrition)
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

M.S., Marine Biology
University of Charleston

Ph.D., Biomedicine/Molecular Biology
Medical University of South Carolina

Areas of Expertise

Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Cancer Prevention

Research Interests

My laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms of dietary compounds as preventive strategies against human diseases, especially cancer and inflammation. In particular, the micronutrient selenium and the proteins in which selenium is incorporated are a major focus in our lab. Additional interests include human gene polymorphisms that have been linked to variable cancer incidence and thus may be viable molecular targets for therapy or prevention. These genes, among others, may be responsible for the individual responses to dietary compounds. Other projects investigate the effects of diet on the composition of the intestinal microbiome of mammals. Current projects include the effects of selenium in inflammatory colitis, the role of the 15kDa selenoprotein in colon tumorigenesis, and the effects of dietary changes on the gut microbiome. Biological models utilized include, but are not limited to, in vitro (human and mouse cells, tissue samples) and in vivo (mouse) models.


Peters KM, Galinn SE, and Tsuji PA (2016). Selenium: Dietary sources, human nutritional requirements and intake across populations. In Selenium: Its molecular biology and role in human health. (4th Edition) Hatfield DL, Schweizer U, Tsuji PA, Gladyshev VN, Editors. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, New York, NY. (in press)

Galinn SE and Tsuji PA. Quercetin and kaempferol ameliorate inflammation through Nrf2 and other signaling pathways (2016). In Broccoli: Cultivation, Nutritional Properties and Effects on Health. Juurlink B, Editor. Nova Publishers, Hauppauge, NY.

Tsuji PA, Carlson BA, Anderson CB, Seifried HE, Hatfield DL, Howard MT* (2015). Dietary selenium levels affect selenoprotein expression and support the interferon-γ and IL-6 immune response pathways in mice. Nutrients 7(8), 6529-6549.

Tsuji PA, Carlson BA, Yoo M-H, Naranjo-Suarez S, Xu X, He Y, Asaki E, Seifried HE, Reinhold WC, Davis CD, Gladyshev VN, Hatfield DL (2015). The 15kDa selenoprotein and thioredoxin reductase 1 promote colon cancer by different pathways. PLoS One. 10(4):e0124487

Tsuji PA, Stephenson KK, Wade KL, Liu H and Fahey J (2013). Structure-activity analysis of flavonoids: direct and indirect antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory potencies and toxicities. Nutrition and Cancer: An International Journal, Volume 65, Issue 7.

Courses Taught

  • Spring: BIOL 201 Intro to Cell Biology and Genetics
  • Fall: BIOL 411 Cancer Biology, BIOL 655 Biology of Cancer