Erika Abel, Ph.D.

Erika Abel, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor of Biology in the Honors Program
High Res Photo

Clinical Professor of Biology in the Honors Program


  • Ph.D. Toxicology, University of Washington
  • B.S. in Biomedical Science, Texas A&M University (Summa cum Laude)


Dr. Erika Abel has been a professor at Baylor University since 2011. Prior to that, she was an NIH-supported postdoctoral fellow and then a research professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she studied genetic and environmental factors that contribute to skin and pancreatic cancer risk. She serves on multiple task forces and committees, including the Steering Committee for Women in Science and Engineering and the Prehealth Programs Committee for the College of Arts and Sciences. She has served as a faculty leader on multiple medical mission trips with Baylor Prehealth students. Dr. Abel teaches courses in molecular cell biology, biochemistry, genetics and biological research design. 

Academic Interests and Research

Best practices in molecular biological education

Course-based undergraduate research experiences in genetics

Food toxicology

Professional Awards/Activities/Grants and Fellowships

  • Dr. Richard Couey Award for Excellence presented by the Phi Kappa Chi Fraternity (2018)
  • Department of Biology Appreciate Award for service as Undergraduate Program Director in Biology (2018)
  • Baylor University Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement Mentor of the Year (2016)
  • Named Baylor Fellow for excellence in teaching by the Academy for Teaching and Learning (2015- 2016)
  • Named as a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, by the National Academy of Sciences (2013-2014)
  • Selected to participate in the Summer Faculty Institute offered by the Academy for Teaching and
  • Nominated for the Baylor chapter Phi Kappa Chi fraternity’s Richard Couey Award for Excellence; invited to attend the Light Your World banquet honoring Baylor faculty who significantly impact the lives of Baylor students (2012)
  • Selected as the National Institute for Environmental Health and Safety, Center for Research on
  • Environmental Disease’s Career Development Program Representative (2010)
  • Outstanding Postdoctoral Platform Presentation, Texas Genetics Society 32nd Annual Meeting (2005)
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (UT MDACC)/National Institutes of Health Research Training in Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis Postdoctoral Training Grant Fellow (2003- 2005)
  • Departmental Nominee for the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award at the University of Washington (2001)
  • National Institute of Aging-Genetic Approaches to Aging Training Grant Fellow (1999-2003)
  • Achievement Rewards for College Scientists-Sam and Althea Stroum Fellow (1998)

Professional Affiliations

  • Texas Genetics Society (2005-present)
  • President-Elect, Texas Genetics Society (2015-2016)
  • Local Arrangements Coordinator, Annual Meeting (2014)
  • Board Member (2006 and 2011-present)
  • Women in Science and Engineering, Baylor University (2014-present)
  • American Gastroenterological Association (2009-2011)
  • American Association for Cancer Research (2005-2011)
  • Society of Toxicology (2000-2011)
  • Pacific Northwest Association of Toxicology (1999-2003)

Baylor University Leadership and Service

  • Working Group Member, University Academic Capacity Committee, 2018
  • Prehealth Programs Committee, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Faculty Leader, BU Medical Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic, Multicultural Association of Prehealth Students. 2016, 2017, 2018
  • College of Arts and Sciences Revised Core Curriculum Implementation Team, College of Arts and Sciences. 2017-2018
  • Enrollment Council, College of Arts and Sciences. 2014-2018
  • Women in Science and Engineering, Steering Committee. 2018
  • Undergraduate Program Director, Department of Biology. 2013-2018
  • Curriculum Committee, College of Arts and Sciences. 2014-2017
  • College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Special Subcommittee on Assessment of Need for Additional Associate Dean for Research, College of Arts and Sciences. 2016
  • Symposium Organizer, Common Grounds in Tropical Disease Biology, Department of Biology and Baylor College of Medicine-National School of Tropical Medicine. 2016
  • Provost’s Task Force, Transfer Credit Policy Evaluation. 2015
  • Registrar’s Task Force on Undergraduate Course Repeat Policy. 2014
  • Paul L. Foster Success Center Public Relations Committee. 2014
  • University Academic Advising Council Subcommittee on Faculty Mentoring. 2013

Selected Research Articles

Gueldner, J, Sayes, C, Abel, E*, Bruce E. Emerging Association of the ALDH2*2 Polymorphism with Disease Susceptibility, Journal of Drug Metabolism and Toxicology, 7:2, 2016. *corresponding author

Usenko, CY, Abel, EL, Hopkins, A, Martinez, G, Tijerina, J, Kudela M, Norris, N, Joudeh, L, Bruce, EA. Evaluation of Common Use Brominated Flame Retardant (BFR) Toxicity Using a Zebrafish Embryo Model. Toxics, 43(3), 21, 2016.

Rosenberg M, Abel, E, Garver, W, Osgood, M. Taking the Hassle out of Hasselbalch, Course Source, 3:1-10, 2016.

Usenko, CY, Abel, EL, Kudela, M, Janise, A, Bruce, EA. Comparison of PBDE congeners as inducers of oxidative stress in zebrafish. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 34(5):1154-60, 2015.

Angel JM, Abel EL, Riggs PK, McClellan SA, DiGiovanni J. Fine mapping reveals that promotion susceptibility locus 1 (Psl1) is a compound locus with multiple genes that modify susceptibility to skin tumor development. G3 (Bethesda), Apr 3;4(6):1071-9, 2014.

Bozeman R, Abel EL, Macias E, Cheng T, Beltran L, Digiovanni J. A novel mechanism of skin tumor promotion involving interferon-gamma (IFNγ)/signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 (Stat1) signaling. Mol Carcinog. ePub, ahead of print, 2014.

Abel EL, Boulware S, Fields T, McIvor E, Powell KL, Digiovanni J, Vasquez KM, Macleod MC. Sulforaphane induces phase II detoxication enzymes in mouse skin and prevents mutagenesis induced by a mustard gas analog. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 266(3):439-442. 2012

Boulware S, Fields T, McIvor E, Powell KL, Abel EL, Vasquez KM, Macleod MC. 2,6 Dithiopurine, a nucleophilic scavenger, protects against mutagenesis in mouse skin treated in vivo with 2-(chloroethyl) ethyl sulfide, a mustard gas analog. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 263:203-209. 2012

Shen J, Abel EL, Riggs PK, Repass J, Hensley SC, Schroeder LJ, Temple A, Chau A, McClellan SA, Rho O, Kiguchi K, Ward MD, Semmes OJ, Person MD, Angel JM, Digiovanni J. Proteomic and pathway analyses reveal a network of inflammatory genes associated with differences in skin tumor promotion susceptibility in DBA/2 and C57BL/6 mice. Carcinogenesis. 33(11):2208-19. 2012.

Surh I, Rundhaug J, Pavone A, Mikulec C, Abel EL, Simper M, Fischer S. The EP1 receptor for prostaglandin E2 promotes the development and progression of malignant murine skin tumors. Molecular Carcinogenesis. 51(7):553-64, 2012.

Abel EL, Bubel JD, Simper MS, Powell L, McClellan SA, Andreeff M, MacLeod MC, DiGiovanni J. Protection against 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide (CEES)-induced cytotoxicity in human keratinocytes by an inducer of the glutathione detoxification pathway. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 255(2):176-83. 2011

Surh I, Rundhaug J, Pavone A, Mikulec C, Abel EL, Fischer S. Upregulation of the EP1 receptor for prostaglandin E2 promotes tumor progression. Molecular Carcinogenesis. 50(6): 458-60, 2011.

Blando J, Carbajal S, Abel EL, Beltran L, Conti C, Fischer SM, DiGiovanni J. Cooperation between Stat3 and Akt signaling leads to prostate tumor development in transgenic mice. Neoplasia. 13(3):254-65, 2011.

Abel EL, Angel JM, Riggs PK, Langfield L, Lo HH, Person MD, Awasthi YC, Wang LE, Strom SS, Wei Q, Digiovanni J. Evidence That Gsta4 Modifies Susceptibility to Skin Tumor Development in Mice and Humans. J Natl Cancer Inst 102(21):1663-1675. e-Pub 10/2010.

Yasgar A, Shultz J, Zhou W, Wang H, Huang F, Murphy N, Abel EL, DiGiovanni J, Inglese J, Simeonov A. A High-Throughput 1,536-Well Luminescence Assay for Glutathione S Transferase Activity. Assay Drug Dev Technol 8(2):200-11, 4/2010. PMCID: PMC2864799.

Abel EL, Angel JM, Kiguchi K, DiGiovanni J. Multi-stage chemical carcinogenesis in mouse skin: fundamentals and applications. Nat Protoc 4(9):1350-62, 2009. e-Pub 8/2009.

Chan KS, Sano S, Kataoka K, Abel E, Carbajal S, Beltran L, Clifford J, Peavey M, Shen J, Digiovanni J. Forced expression of a constitutively active form of Stat3 in mouse epidermis enhances malignant progression of skin tumors induced by two-stage carcinogenesis. Oncogene 27(8):1087-94, 2/2008. e-Pub 8/2007.

Riggs PK, Angel JM, Abel EL, DiGiovanni J. Differential gene expression in epidermis of mice sensitive and resistant to phorbol ester skin tumor promotion. Mol Carcinog 44(2):122-36, 10/2005.

Abel EL, Lyon RP, Bammler TK, Verlinde CL, Lau SS, Monks TJ, Eaton DL. Estradiol metabolites as isoform-specific inhibitors of human glutathione S-transferases. Chem Biol Interact 151(1):21-32, 12/2004.

Abel EL, Opp SM, Verlinde CL, Bammler TK, Eaton DL. Characterization of atrazine biotransformation by human and murine glutathione S-transferases. Toxicol Sci 80(2):230-8, 8/2004.

Abel EL, Bammler TK, Eaton DL. Biotransformation of methyl parathion by glutathione Stransferases. Toxicol Sci 79(2):224-32, 6/2004.

Selected Book Chapters

Abel EL, DiGiovanni J. Environmental carcinogenesis. In: The Molecular Basis of Cancer, Fourth Edition. Ed(s) JM Mendelsohn, P Howley, MA Israel, J Gray, CB Thompson. Elsevier

Abel EL, DiGiovanni J. Multistage Carcinogenesis. In: Current Cancer Research: Chemical Carcinogenesis. Ed TM Penning, Springer: New York, NY. 27-50, 2011.

Angel J, Abel E, DiGiovanni J. Genetic Determinants of Cancer Susceptibility. In: Comprehensive Toxicology. 14, 2nd. Ed(s) C McQueen. Elsevier, 371-400, 2010.

Abel EL, DiGiovanni J. Environmental carcinogenesis. In: The Molecular Basis of Cancer, Third Edition. Ed(s) JM Mendelsohn, P Howley, MA Israel, J Gray, CB Thompson. WB Saunders: Philadelphia, 2008. Saunders: Philadelphia, 2015

View Dr. Abel’s CV

Honors Program

Morrison Hall 203
One Bear Place #97122
Waco, TX 76798-7122

(254) 710-1119