Omer received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry in 1999 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Molecular Endocrinology from Reading University in 2002.
Omer began her career as a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford University in 2003, where she investigated the biological function of Annexin-1, a mediator of glucocorticoid action in the pituitary and hypothalamus and postdoctoral research studies. Three years later she joined the University of California at San Francisco as a health professions education fellow. There Selma participated in a collaborative partnership project between UCSF and Muhimbli University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania.
Also she held the position of a basic science education coordinator at the same university from 2008 to 2011. She modelled peer-teaching strategies to improve student engagement in MUHAS’s large class sizes with limited resources. Since 2012, she has been a senior teaching fellow in Medical Education at the University of Southampton.
On August 12, 2007 Selma Omer married John Wallace Showalter. They have a child.