David G. Besselsen, DVM, PhD

Director, University Animal Care
Attending Veterinarian, University of Arizona

Internal Contact Information

UACC Organizational Unit: 
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Besselsen performs a variety of administrative, service, and research activities in his current position as Director of University Animal Care. He has 25 years of experience in laboratory animal medicine, and is  board-certified in Laboratory Animal Medicine and Veterinary Pathology. He has served as PI and Co-I on multiple NIH research and animal facility improvement grants. He participates in long term planning, design and operations oversight for our department. I have extensive experience in comparative pathology research support. His areas of research emphasis are pathologic assessment of animal models of human disease and diagnostic test development and characterization of rodent infectious disease.

Dr. Besselsen has long-standing collaborations with numerous investigators at the University of Arizona Cancer Center and has provided pathology support for their animal models since my arrival in 1995.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Biology
Member Status: 
Associate Research Member
University of Arizona
Office of Research and Discovery
Summary of Research Activity: 

David Besselsen, DVM, PhD, DACLAM, DACVP, Director of University Animal Care (UAC) and UA Attending Veterinarian, specializes in laboratory animal medicine and pathology. He is responsible for long term planning and operations oversight for UAC, with an emphasis on rodent population medicine, quality assurance, and facility design. His areas of research emphasis are pathologic assessment of animal models of human disease, and diagnostic test development and characterization of rodent infectious disease. Anatomic and clinical pathology support for research projects, including comprehensive and targeted pathologic phenotyping of genetically altered rodents, are provided on a collaborative or paid service basis.

Selected Publications: 

Dr. Besselsen's NCBI bibliography

  1. Watson JM, Marion SL, Rice PF, Bentley DL, Besselsen DG, Utzinger U, Hoyer PB, Barton JK. 2014. In vivo time-serial multi-modality optical imaging in mouse model of ovarian tumorigenesis. Cancer Biology and Therapy 15(1):42-60. UI: 24145178
  2. Wright LE, Lukefahr AL, Frye JB, Marion SL, Hoyer PB, Besselsen DG, Funk JL. 2011. 4-Vinylcyclohexene Diepoxide (VCD) Inhibits Mammary Epithelial Differentiation and Induces Fibroadenoma Tumor Formation in Female Sprague Dawley Rats. Journal of Reproductive Toxicology 32(1):26-32.
  3. Hahn T, Bradley-Dunlop D, Hurley LH, Von-Hoff D, Gately S, Disis ML, Penichet M, Jagadish B, Mash EA, Besselsen D, Cole B, and Akporiaye ET. 2011. The vitamin E analog, alpha-tocopheryloxyacetic acid enhances the anti-tumor activity of trastuzumab against HER2/neu-expressing breast cancer. BMC Cancer 11:471 (e-publication).
  4. Ignatenko NA, Gerner EW, Besselsen DG. 2011. Defining the role of polyamines in colon carcinogenesis using mouse models. Journal of Carcinogenesis 10:10.
  5. Flowers M, Schroeder JA, Borowsky AD, Besselsen DG, Thomson CA, Pandey R, Thompson PA. 2010. Pilot study on the effects of dietary conjugated linoleic acid on tumorigenesis and gene expression in PyMT transgenic mice. Carcinogenesis 31(9):1642-9.
  6. Thurston RD, Larmonier CB, Majewski pm, Ramalingam R, Midura-Kiela M, Laubitz D, Vandewalle A, Besselsen DG, Mühlbauer M, Jobin C, Kiela PR, Ghishan FK. 2010. Downregulation of aging-related Klotho gene in experimental colitis: the role of TNFα and IFN-γ. Gastroenterology 138(4):1384-94.
  7. Rausch MP, Hahn T, Ramanathapuram L, Bradley-Dunlop D, Mahadevan D, Mercado-Pimentel ME, Runyan RB, Besselsen DG, Zhang X, Cheung HK, Lee WC, Ling LE, Akporiaye ET. 2009. An Orally Active Small Molecule TGF-{beta} Receptor I Antagonist Inhibits the Growth of Metastatic Murine Breast Cancer. Anticancer Research 29(6):2099-109.
  8. Udovich JA, Besselsen DG, Gmitro AF. 2009. Assessment of Acridine Orange and SYTO 16 for in vivo imaging of the peritoneal tissues in mice. Journal of Microscopy 234(2):124-129.
  9. Lickteig AJ, Fisher CD, Augustine LM, Aleksunes LM, Besselsen DG, Slitt AL, Manautou JE, and Cherrington NJ. 2007. Efflux Transporter Expression and Acetaminophen Metabolite Excretion are Altered in Rodent Models of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Drug Metabolism and Disposition 35(10):1970-8.
  10. Hariri LP, Qiu Z, Tumlinson AR, Besselsen DG, Gerner EW, Ignatenko NA, Povazay B, Hermann B, Sattman H, McNally J, Unterhuber A, Drexler W, Barton JK. 2007. Serial endoscopy in azoxymethane treated mice using ultra-high resolution optical coherence tomography. Cancer Biology and Therapy 6(11):1753-62.
  11. Bernstein H, Holubec H, Bernstein C, Ignatenko NA, Gerner E, Dvorak K, Besselsen D, Blohm-Mangone KA, Padilla-Torres J, Dvorakova B, Garewal H, and Payne CM. 2007. Deoxycholate-induced colitis is markedly attenuated in Nos2 knock-out mice in association with modulation of gene expression profiles. Dig. Dis. Sci. 52(3):628-42.
  12. Hariri LP, Tumlinson AR, Wade NH, Besselsen DG, Utzinger U, Gerner EW, Barton JK. 2007. Ex vivo optical coherence tomography and laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy imaging of murine gastrointestinal tract. Comp. Med. 57(2):175-185.
  13. McNally JB, Kirkpatrick ND, Hariri LP, Tumlinson AR, Besselsen DG, Gerner EW, Utzinger U, Barton JK. 2006. Task Based Imaging of Colon Cancer in the Apc(Min/+) Mouse Model. Appl. Optics. 45(13):3049-62.
  14. Hahn T, Alvarez I, Kobie JJ, Ramanathapuram L, Dial S, Fulton A, Besselsen D, Walker E, Akporiaye ET. 2006. Short-term dietary administration of celecoxib enhances the efficacy of tumor lysate pulsed dendritic cell vaccines in treating murine breast cancer. Int. J. Cancer. 118(9): 2220-31.
  15. Hariri LP, Tumlinson AR, Besselsen DG, Utzinger U, Gerner EW, Barton JK. 2006. Endoscopic Optical Coherence Tomography and Laser Induced Flurorescence Spectroscopy in Murine Colon Cancer Model. Lasers Surg. Med. 38:305-313.
  16. Gerner EW, Ignatenko NA, Besselsen DG. 2003. Preclinical Models for Chemoprevention of Colon Cancer. Recent Results in Cancer Research 163: 58-71.

Professional Information

Professional Affiliations: 

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathology, 2004-present

Diplomate, American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, 1995-present
          ACLAM Examination Committee, 2009-2013
          ACLAM Examination Review Committee, 2014-present

Consultant, Jackson Laboratories, 2011-present