Jessica A. Miller, PhD

Assistant Research Professor
The University of Arizona Cancer Center

Dr. Miller’s research has focused on the assessment of the disposition of the bioactive food component limonene, a potential breast cancer chemopreventive found in citrus peel oil. She has developed and published analytical assays to extract limonene and its major metabolite from adipose tissue and biofluids using specific chromatographic methods for quantitation. She has also been involved in early phase clinical trials in the prevention setting for breast cancer using agents such as resveratrol and green tea. Her research focus is moving into the area of metabolomics as a systemic approach to evaluate the effect of chemopreventive agents. Using metabolomics profiling with mass spectrometry-based techniques, she has investigated novel mechanisms and biomarkers of limonene activity after 4 weeks intervention in early stage breast cancer patients (PI: Sherry Chow).

She has also initiated projects in collaboration with Imperial College and Waters Corporation to characterize metabolite profiles in nipple aspirate fluid using multiple analytical platforms (nuclear magnetic resonance, gas chromatography mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry). Current research also includes utilizing plasma samples from a phase-III clinical trial (PI: Dr. Patricia Thompson) to characterize changes in oxylipin metabolites of the arachidonic acid pathway after administration of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and relate these changes to colorectal adenoma outcomes.

Future work will focus on applying metabolomics to characterize metabolite signatures in blood and urine pre and post an AI+sulindac intervention in order to understand the determinants of AI-associated pain as well as predicting benefit with sulindac. This work will take place in the context of an R01-funded clinical study of women with a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer on aromatase inhibitors (AI) (PIs Thompson and Stopeck). The study should help guide future research that will identify molecular targets of pain for the ultimate goal of improving AI adherence and reducing death from breast cancer. Future work will also focus on cancer prevention clinical trials in order to identify novel biomarkers of cancer risk or of response to interventions.