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Kyle Selcer

Associate Professor
Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

241 Mellon Hall
Phone: 412.396.5967


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
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.


1. Selcer, K.W., and H.M. DiFrancesca.  2012. Characterization of steroid sulfatase in the MC3T3-E1 mouse pre-osteoblastic cell line. Steroids 77: 696-702.

2. Valverde, R.J, K.W. Selcer, L.R. Lara, and J. Sibaja. 2008. Lack of evidence of xenoestrogen-induced vitellogenin in male olive Ridley sea turtles.  In Press, Revista de Biologia Tropical, 2008.

3. 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 and S.T. McMurry. 2008. Plasma vitellogenin in Morelet’s crocodiles from contaminated habitats in northern Belize. Environ. Pollut. 153: 101-109.

4. Selcer, K.W.,  DiFrancesca, H., Chandra, A., and Li, P.K., 2007. Immunohistochemical analysis of steroid sulfatase in human tissues.  Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 105:115-123

5. Selcer, K.W., Nespoli,  L.M., Rainwater, T.R., Finger, A.G, Ray, D.A., Platt, S.G., Smith, P.M., Densmore, L.D., and 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. 

6. 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.

7. Selcer, K.W., Smith, S., Clemens, J.W., and 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.

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

9. Selcer, K.W. Nagaraja, S., Foret, P., Wagner, D., Williams, L., and 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.

10. Clemens, J. W., H.L., Kabler, J. L., Sarap, A.R. Beyers, P.K. Li, and K.W. Selcer. 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.

11. Kolli, A., G.H. Chu, M.E. Rhodes, K.W. Selcer, and P.K. Li. 1999. Development of (p-O-sulfamoyl)-N-alkanoyl-phenylalkyl amines as non-steroidal estrone sulfatase inhibitors. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 68: 31-40.

12. Chu, G.-H., A. Peters, K.W. Selcer, and P.K. Li. 1999. Synthesis and sulfatase inhibitory activities of (E)- and (Z)-4-hydroxytamoxifen sulfamate. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 9: 141-144.

13. McNabb, A., C. Schreck, , C. Tyler, P. Thomas, V. Kramer, J. Specker , M. Mayes and K.W. Selcer. 1999. Basic Physiology. In: Reproductive and Developmental Effects of Contaminants in Oviparous Vertebrates (R. Di Giulio and D. Tillitt, eds.). SETAC Press, Pensacola, FL.

14. Selcer, K.W. and J.W. Clemens. 1998. Androgen effects and receptors in subavian species. In:  Encyclopedia of Reproduction, Vol. 1 (E. Knobil and J.D. Neill, eds.). Academic Press, San Diego, pp. 207-213.

15. Li, P.K., G.H. Chu, A.M. Peters, and K.W. Selcer. 1998. Development of potent non-estrogenic estrone sulfatase inhibitors. Steroids 63: 425-432.

16/ Palmer, B.D., D.L. Pieto, L.K. Huth, and K.W. Selcer. 1998. Vitellogenin as a biomarker for xenobiotic estrogens in an amphibian model system. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry,  17: 30-36.

17. Selcer, K.W., P.K. Li, and P. Hegde. 1997. Inhibition of estrone sulfatase and breast cancer cell proliferation by nonsteroidal (p-O-sulfamoyl)-N-alkanoyl tyramines. Cancer Research, 57: 1-6.

18. Palmer, B.D., and K.W. Selcer. 1996. Vitellogenin as a biomarker for xenobiotic estrogens. In: Environmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment: Biomarkers and Risk Assessment (5th. Volume), ASTM STP 1306, David A. Bengtson and Diane S. Henshel, Eds., American Society for Testing and Materials, West Conshohocken, PA, p. 3-22.

19. Selcer, K.W., S. Jagannathan, and P.K. Li. 1996. Inhibition of placental estrone sulfatase activity and MCF-7 breast cancer cell proliferation by estrone-3-amino derivatives.  Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 59: 83-91.

20. Selcer, K. W. and P. K. Li.  1995.  Estrogenicity, antiestrogenicity, and estrone sulfatase inhibition of estrone-3-amine and estrone-3-thiol.  Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 52: 281-286.

21. Selcer, K. W.  and B. D. Palmer. 1995.  Estrogen downregulation of albumin and a 170 kDa protein in the turtle Trachemys scripta. General and Comparative Endocrinology  97: 340-352.


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
Pre-Med Program

Dr. Selcer is director for Duquesne's Pre-Medical Program

The Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program is designed for individuals who have completed a bachelor's degree and are interested in pursuing a career in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, podiatry, chiropractic or optometry. Our program emphasizes a humanistic approach and scientific excellence in the preparation, education and training of students. 

Undergraduates can enter Pre-Medical Professions, a university-wide program for those seeking a career in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatry or chiropractic medicine.