Donato Romagnolo, MSc, PhD

Professor, School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness

Program Director, Mediterranean Diet and Health Study Abroad Program

Professor, Arizona Cancer Center


  • Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • B.S., The University of Padua, Padua, Italy



Dr. Romagnolo is Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Department of Cancer Biology at The University of Arizona. He is a member of the Arizona Cancer Center and the Toxicology Center, The BIO5 Institute for Collaborative Research, and the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center at The University of Arizona. He is currently a member of the Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences and the Cancer Biology Graduate Program. Dr. Romagnolo is the instructor for undergraduate Nutritional Biology (NSC 408) and graduate Metabolic Integration (NSC 602).

Dr. Romagnolo earned a MS and a PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a BS from The University of Padua, Padua. Italy. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Romagnolo is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Society for Nutrition, American Association of Cancer Research. He has published book chapters, monographs, and original research in cancer and nutrition scientific journals including Cancer Research, The Journal of Nutrition, Nutrition and Cancer, Breast Cancer Research, Molecular Carcinogenesis, Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, Neoplasia, and Experimental Biology and Medicine. Dr. Romagnolo has co-edited a book on Bioactive Compounds and Cancer. Dr. Romagnolo has been a member of scientific review panels and received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, The US Department Breast Cancer Research Program, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission. In his current position he promotes research that deals with the role of bioactive food components as epigenetic regulators of expression of genes involved in cancer and inflammation.


Nutrition and cancer; gene expression.

Selected Publications

  • Papoutsis AJ, Lamore SD, Wondrak GT, Selmin OI, Romagnolo DF. Resveratrol prevents epigenetic silencing of BRCA-1 by the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor in human breast cancer cells. J Nutr. 2010 Sep;140(9):1607-14.
  • Romagnolo DF, Papoutsis AJ, Selmin O. Nutritional targeting of cyclooxygenase-2 for colon cancer prevention. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2010 Jul 1;9(3):181-91.
  • Degner SC, Papoutsis AJ, Selmin O, Romagnolo DF. Targeting of aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated activation of cyclooxygenase-2 expression by the indole-3-carbinol metabolite 3,3'-diindolylmethane in breast cancer cells. J Nutr. 2009 Jan;139(1):26-32.
  • Scheckel KA, Degner SC, Romagnolo DF. Rosmarinic acid antagonizes activator protein-1-dependent activation of cyclooxygenase-2 expression in human cancer and nonmalignant cell lines. J Nutr. 2008 Nov;138(11):2098-105.
  • Hockings JK, Degner SC, Morgan SS, Kemp MQ, Romagnolo DF. Involvement of a specificity proteins-binding element in regulation of basal and estrogen-induced transcription activity of the BRCA1 gene. Breast Cancer Res. 2008;10(2):R29.
  • Degner SC, Kemp MQ, Hockings JK, Romagnolo DF. Cyclooxygenase-2 promoter activation by the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor in breast cancer mcf-7 cells: repressive effects of conjugated linoleic acid. Nutr Cancer 2007;59(2):248-57.
  • Liu W, Degner SC, Romagnolo DF. Trans-10, cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid inhibits prolactin-induced cytosolic NADP+ -dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase expression in bovine mammary epithelial cells. J Nutr. 2006 Nov;136(11):2743-7.
  • Kemp MQ, Liu W, Thorne PA, Kane MD, Selmin O, Romagnolo DF. Induction of the transferrin receptor gene by benzo[a]pyrene in breast cancer MCF-7 cells: potential as a biomarker of PAH exposure. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2006 Aug;47(7):518-26.
  • Liu W, Capuco AV, Romagnolo DF. Expression of cytosolic NADP+-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase in bovine mammary epithelium: Modulation by regulators of differentiation and metabolic effectors. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2006 May;231(5):599-610.
  • Hockings JK, Thorne PA, Kemp MQ, Morgan SS, Selmin O, Romagnolo DF. The ligand status of the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor modulates transcriptional activation of BRCA-1 promoter by estrogen. Cancer Res. 2006 Feb 15;66(4):2224-32.
  • Degner SC, Kemp MQ, Bowden GT, Romagnolo DF. Conjugated linoleic acid attenuates cyclooxygenase-2 transcriptional activity via an anti-AP-1 mechanism in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. J Nutr. 2006 Feb;136(2):421-7.
  • Jeffy BD, Hockings JK, Kemp MQ, Morgan SS, Hager JA, Beliakoff J, Whitesell LJ, Bowden GT, Romagnolo DF. An estrogen receptor-alpha/p300 complex activates the BRCA-1 promoter at an AP-1 site that binds Jun/Fos transcription factors: repressive effects of p53 on BRCA-1 transcription. Neoplasia. 2005 Sep;7(9):873-82.
  • Selmin O, Thorne PA, Blachere FM, Johnson PD, Romagnolo DF. Transcriptional activation of the membrane-bound progesterone receptor (mPR) by dioxin, in endocrine-responsive tissues. Mol Reprod Dev. 2005 Feb;70(2):166-74.
  • Kemp MQ, Jeffy BD, Romagnolo DF. Conjugated linoleic acid inhibits cell proliferation through a p53-dependent mechanism: effects on the expression of G1-restriction points in breast and colon cancer cells. J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3670-7.
  • Romagnolo DF, Chirnomas RB, Ku J, Jeffy BD, Payne CM, Holubec H, Ramsey L,Bernstein H, Bernstein C, Kunke K, Bhattacharyya A, Warneke J, Garewal H. Deoxycholate, an endogenous tumor promoter and DNA damaging agent, modulates BRCA-1 expression in apoptosis-sensitive epithelial cells: loss of BRCA-1 expression in colonic adenocarcinomas. Nutr Cancer. 2003;46(1):82-92.
  • Jeffy BD, Chirnomas RB, Romagnolo DF. Epigenetics of breast cancer: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as risk factors. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2002;39(2-3):235-44.
  • Jeffy BD, Chirnomas RB, Chen EJ, Gudas JM, Romagnolo DF. Activation of the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor pathway is not sufficient for transcriptional repression of BRCA-1: requirements for metabolism of benzo[a]pyrene to 7r,8t-dihydroxy-9t,10-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo[a]pyrene. Cancer Res. 2002 Jan 1;62(1):113-21.
  • Samuelson DJ, Powell MB, Lluria-Prevatt M, Romagnolo DF. Transcriptional activation of the gp91phox NADPH oxidase subunit by TPA in HL-60 cells. J Leukoc Biol. 2001 Jan;69(1):161-8.
  • Jeffy BD, Chen EJ, Gudas JM, Romagnolo DF. Disruption of cell cycle kinetics by benzo[a]pyrene: inverse expression patterns of BRCA-1 and p53 in MCF-7 cells arrested in S and G2. Neoplasia. 2000 Sep-Oct;2(5):460-70.


Bioactive Compounds and Cancer