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Regina M. Santella

Vice Dean, Faculty Affairs and Research
Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

Director, Columbia Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan
Co-leader Cancer Epidemiology Program and Director Biomarkers Shared Resource, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Regina Santella's research involves the use of biomarkers for the detection of human exposure to environmental and occupational carcinogens in molecular epidemiology studies to identify causative factors, susceptible populations, and preventive interventions. Her work has allowed the determination of exposure to carcinogens by the measurement of their binding to DNA with highly specific and sensitive immunoassays using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies that her laboratory has developed. These studies have demonstrated higher levels of DNA damage in those with environmental or occupational exposures and in subjects with breast, lung, and liver cancer compared to controls. The role of genetic susceptibility in cancer risk is also being investigated. Current studies seek to understand the role of environmental/lifestyle factors on epigenetic changes in DNA methylation and microRNA expression, how they impact cancer risk as well as whether epigenetic changes in can be used for early diagnosis of cancer.   View Faculty CV here (PDF).
Education & Training:

    PhD, 1976, City University of New York

    MS, 1971, University of Massachusetts

    BS, 1969, Brooklyn College


Mailman School Affiliations:

    University Affiliations:

    Additional Affiliations:

    • Member, American Association for Cancer Research
    • Member, Society of Toxicology
    • Member, American Chemical Society
    • Member, Environmental Mutagen Society
    • Member, Sigma Xi
    • Member, Harvey Society
    Selected Editorial Boards:
    • Environmental Health Perspectives
      Biological Markers of Aflatoxin Exposure
      Dr. Santella is working on a case-control study of hepatocellular cancer nested in a cancer screening cohort of 25,000 subjects in Taiwan. Biomarkers of exposure to environmental carcinogens, hepatitis virus infection, and epigenetic changes are being measured. In addition analysis of tumor DNA circulating blood for gene-specific methylation is being evaluated for early diagnosis.
      Countries: Taiwan

    Selected Publications:
    • Shen J, Wang S, Zhang YJ, Kappil M, Wu HC, Kibriya MG, Wang Q, Jasmine F, Ahsan H, Lee PH, Yu MW, Chen CJ, Santella RM Genome-wide DNA methylation profiles in hepatocellular carcinoma Hepatology 55 1799-1808 2012
    • Lumey LH, Terry MB, Delgado-Cruzata L, Liao Y, Wang Q, Susser E, McKeague I, Santella RM. Adult DNA methylation in relation to prenatal nutrition Int J Epidemiol. 41 116-123 2012
    • Cho YH, Shen J, Gammon MD, Zhang YJ, Wang Q, Gonzalez K, Xu X, Bradshaw PT, Teitelbaum SL, Garbowski G, Hibshoosh H, Neugut AI, Chen J, Santella RM. Prognostic significance of gene-specific promoter hypermethylation in breast cancer patients Breast Cancer Res Treat. 131 197-205 2012
    • Terry MB, Delgado-Cruzata L, Vin-Raviv N, Wu HC, and Santella RM. DNA methylation in white blood cells: Association with risk factors in epidemiologic studies Epigenetics 6 828-837 2011
    • Zipprich, J., Terry, M.B., Liao, Y., Agrawal, M., Gurvich, I., Senie, R., and Santella, R.M. Plasma protein carbonyls and breast cancer risk in sisters discordant for breast cancer from the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry Cancer Research 69 2966-2972 2009
    • Yazici, H., Terry, M.B., Cho, Y.H., Senie, R.T., Liao, Y., Andrulis, I., and Santella, R.M. Aberrant methylation of RASSF1A in plasma DNA prior to breast cancer diagnosis in the Breast Cancer Family Registry Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 19 2723-2725 2009
    • Zhang, Y-J., Wu, H-C., Shen, J., Ahsan, H., Tsai, W.Y., Yang, H.I., Wang, L.Y., Chen, S.Y., Chen, C.J. and Santella, R.M. Predicting hepatocellular carcinoma by detection of aberrant promoter methylation in serum DNA. Clinical Cancer Research 13 2378-2384 2007
    • Rossner, P., Gammon, M.D., Terry, M.B., Agrawal, M., Zhang, F.F., Teitelbaum, S.L., Eng, S.M., Gaudet, M.M., Neugut, A. I., and Santella, R.M. Relationship between urinary 15-F2t-isoprostane and 8-oxodeoxyguanosine levels and breast cancer risk Cancer Epi. Biomarkers & Prevention 15 639-44 2006
    • Faraglia B, Chen SY, Gammon MD, Zhang YJ, Teitelbaum S, Neugut AI, Ahsan H, Garbowski GC, Hibshoosh H, Lin D, Kadlubar FF, Santella Evaluation of 4-aminobiphenyl-DNA adducts in human breast cancer: the influence of tobacco smoke Carcinogenesis 24 719-725 2003
    • Kennedy, D.O., Agrawal, M., Shen, J., Terry, M.B., Zhang, F.F., Senie, R.T., Motykiewicz, G., and Santella, R.M. DNA repair capacity of lymphoblastoid cell lines from sisters discordant for breast cancer Journal of the National Cancer Institute 97 127-132 2005

    Contact Information


    630 West 168th St Room 16-410

    New York, NY 10032

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