Maggie Louie, PhD

Dr. Louie joined the department in 2005, became an Associate Professor in 2011, and is currently the Director of the Chemistry Program. She holds dual Bachelor’s degrees in Biochemistry (BS) and Nutritional Science (BA), a MS in Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UC Davis. In addition to her classroom teaching, Dr. Louie also has an active research program funded by the National Cancer Institute. Her lab is focused on understanding how hormone-refractory breast cancer develops, specifically looking at 1) the development of tamoxifen resistance and 2) the role of metalloestrogen and other endocrine disruptors in this process. Dr. Louie has taught General Chemistry I & II, BIO Research Methodology, Science Seminar, Graduate Research Methodology, Organic Chemistry I & II, Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biotechnology.

Maggie Louie 2016


Office:  Science Center #127
Lab:  Science Center #225

Academic Area


Educational Background

  • PhD Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of California, Davis, CA
  • MS Biochemistry, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
  • BS Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • BA Nutritional Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Teaching and Research Interests

My dissertation work was focused on understanding the role of the coactivator, ACTR in breast cancer proliferation. The desire to teach has always been a significant part of my motivation to pursue a higher education and a career in academia. My teaching interests and philosophy have been shaped through my experiences both as a student and as an instructor for several colleges and universities, including San Francisco State University, Dominican University and San Francisco City College.  My role in the teaching is to facilitate and empower my students to learn. Teaching is not only for the students, but also a learning experience for myself, for I enjoy and greatly benefit from it.  In 2005, I accepted a full-time tenure track position at Dominican University as an Assistant Professor because it offered me the opportunity to do the two things that I enjoy the most in my life (other than my family): to teach and to research.  I hope to use my research as a tool for training my students to think critically and also to develop scientific theories.

My current research is focused on understanding the development of hormone refractory breast cancer.  Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies that occur in women in the United States.  Breast cancer results from the abnormal proliferation of the cells in the mammary gland.  The normal growth of mammary gland epithelial cells is modulated by the circulating levels of estrogen, a hormone produced by the ovaries.  The activity of estrogen is mediated by the estrogen receptor (ER) and thus serves as a key prognostic marker in breast cancer development.  Breast cancer can exists as either estrogen responsive or estrogen non-responsive cancer.  Majority of breast cancer initially develops as hormone dependent-cancer in which growth and progression of the cancer is modulated by the action of estrogen.  Hormone responsive cancer is typically treated with hormone ablation therapy or endocrine therapy to block the ER. Although success has resulted from such treatments, the cancer often develops into a more aggressive, hormone independent phenotype.  The mechanism of how hormone independence develops is not clear and my current research is focused on understanding the mechanism of how hormone-refractory breast cancer develops.

Recent Funding

1. National Institutes of Health- Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research Chronic cadmium promotes breast cancer progression (PI: Louie and Ponce) 09/02/2011 to 07/31/2014 $107,155

2. National Institutes of Health-AREA Grant (R15) 2R15CA121983-02 Chronic cadmium promotes breast cancer progression (PI: Louie) 08/01/2010 to 12/31/2013 $350,000

3. W.J. Keck Foundation- Acquisition of a confocal microscope to enhance undergraduate research and education by expanding the imaging technology capabilities at Dominican University of California (PI: Ghosh, Co-PI: Louie) 3/01/2011 to 02/31/2014 $250,000


Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Wang J, Zou JX, Xue X, Cai D, Zhang Y, Duan Z, Xiang Q, Yang JC, Louie MC, Borowsky AD, Gao AC, Evans CP, Lam KS, Xu J, Kung HJ, Evans RM, Xu Y, Chen HW. ROR-γ drives androgen receptor expression and represents a therapeutic target in castration-resistant prostate cancer. Nature medicine. 2016; 22(5):488-96.

Ponce E, Louie MC, Sevigny MB. Acute and chronic cadmium exposure promotes E-cadherin degradation in MCF7 breast cancer cells. Molecular carcinogenesis. 2015; 54(10):1014-25.

Liu S, Louie MC, Rajagopalan V, Zhou G, Ponce E, Nguyen T, Green L. Synthesis and evaluation of the diarylthiourea analogs as novel anti-cancer agents. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters. 2015; 25(6):1301-5.

Lash DB, Barnett MJ, Parekh N, Shieh A, Louie MC, Tang TT. Perceived benefits and challenges of interprofessional education based on a multidisciplinary faculty member survey. American journal of pharmaceutical education. 2014; 78(10):180.

Ponce, E., *Aquino, N.B. and Louie, M.C. Chronic exposure to cadmium promotes breast cancer progression by stimulating the expression SDF-1.  PLoS ONE 2013 8(8): e72639

*Aquino, N.B., Sevigny, M.B., *Sabangan, J., Louie, M.C. The Role of Cadmium and Nickel in Estrogen Receptor Signaling and Breast Cancer: Metalloestrogens or Not? Journal of Environmental Science and Health: Environmental Carcinogenesis and Ecotoxicology Review 2012 30(3):189-224

Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) decreases the efficacy of certain COX-2 inhibitors. Sevigny, M.B., *Graham, K., *Ponce, E., Louie, M.C. and *Mitchell, K. Pharmacological Research 2012 65(4):445-50.

*Siewit, C.L., *Gengler, B., *Vegas, E., *Puckett, R., Louie, M.C., Cadmium promotes breast cancer cell proliferation by mediating the interaction between ER and c-jun. Molecular Endocrinology 2010 24(5):981-992

Louie, M.C., *McClellan, A., *Siewit, C.L., *Kawabata, L. Estrogen Receptor Regulates the Expression of E2F1 to Mediate Tamoxifen Resistance. Molecular Cancer Research 2010 8:343-352

Li, L., Louie M.C., Chen H.W., Zou, J. Proto-oncogene ACTR/AIB1 promotes breast cancer cell invasion by up-regulating specific MMP expression. Cancer Letters 2008 Mar 8;261(1):64-73

Louie M.C., Revenko, A., Yao, J., Zou, J., Chen H.W. Direct Control of Cell Cycle Gene Expression by Proto-Oncogene Product ACTR, and Its Autoregulation Underlies Its Transforming Activity MCB  2006. 26:3810-3823

Louie M.C., Zou J.X., Rabinovich, A., Chen H.W. ACTR/AIB1 functions as an E2F1 coactivator to promote breast cancer cell proliferation and anti-estrogen resistance. MCB 2004. 24:5157-5171

Louie M.C.,Yang Q.H., Ma A.H., Zou J.X., Kung H.K., Chen H.W. Androgen-induced recruitment of RNA polymerase II to a nuclear receptor-p160 coactivator complex. PNAS 2003. 100(5): 2226-223

Lee L.F., Louie M.C., Yang J., Desai S., Evans C.P., Chen H.W., Kung, H.J. Interleukin 8 confers androgen independent growth an d migration in LNCaP: Differential Effects of Tyrosine Kinases Src and FAK. Oncogene 2004. 1-9

Louie M.C., Kondor N., and DeWitt J.G. Gene expression in cadmium-tolerant Datura innoxia: detection and characterization of cDNAs induced in response to Cd2+ Plant Molecular Biology. Plant Molecular Biology 2003. 51(1): 81-89
* Undergraduate student authors

Selected Published Abstracts

1. Ponce, E., *Aquino, N.B., and Louie, M.C. Chronic Exposure to Cadmium Increases in the MetastaticPhenotype of Breast Cancer Cells [Abstract]. FASEB 2012. 26, Abstract #782.10

2. *Hathway, M.M. and Louie, M.C. Deregulation of E-Cadherin and MTA2 in Tamoxifen Resistant Breast Cancer Cells [Abstract]. FASEB 2012. 26, Abstract #928.11

3. *Sabangan, J.P, and Louie, M.C. Acute and Chronic Exposure of Nickel Promotes Breast Cancer Cell
Growth [Abstract]. FASEB 2012. 26, Abstract #595.1

4. Liu, S. and Louie, M.C. Novel Thiochromane Ring Modified SHetA2 Analogs as Potential Cancer Prevention Agents [Abstract]. American Association for Colleges of Pharmacy, July 2010

5. Chow, R.Y., Siewit, C.L., and Louie, M.C. Effects of vitamin D on tamoxifen resistant breast cancer cell growth [Abstract]. FASEB 2009. 23, Abstract #699.3

6. Vegas, E. and Louie, M.C. Understanding the effects of chronic cadmium exposure on breast cancer [Abstract]. FASEB 2009. 23, Abstract #699.5

7. Siewit, C.L., Chow, R.Y., Firanescu, F., Hansen, I. and Louie, M.C. Inhibition of Tamoxifen- Resistant Breast Cell Proliferation by Vitamin D3 [Abstract]. MCB 2008. 19 (suppl), Abstract M-L64

8. Chen, H.W., Louie, M.C., and Zou, J.X. Coactivator ACTR/AIB1, an important cell cycle regulator, transforms human breast epithelial cells independent of estrogen receptors [Abstract]. Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research 2005. 46, Abstract #5399

Recent Presentations

1. Cadmium as Estrogen Receptor Modulator 2011Endocrine Society Meeting. Boston, Massachusetts June 4-7, 2011.

2. The impact of chronic cadmium exposure on breast cancer progression. 6th Conference on Metal Toxicity and Carcinogenesis November 14-17, 2010. Sponsored by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and Health and the University of Kentucky