Mary Sevigny, PhD

Mary Sevigny obtained a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology, with emphasis in Microbiology, from U.C. Berkeley in 1992. She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from U.C. Davis in 1998. In 2000 she accepted a research position as a postdoctoral fellow at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco. She was an adjunct instructor at Napa Valley College for three semesters (2004- 2005) and joined the faculty at Dominican in Fall 2006. She is currently the Director of the Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) Master’s Program in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Dominican University of California. Dr. Sevigny also teaches Medical Microbiology, Advanced Microbiology, Molecular Diagnostics Lab, and Research Methodology. Much of her research interests have involved studying enzymes and glycosylation and their role in the development of certain kinds of cancers. Her current research involves studying the pro-inflammatory enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and its role in cancer. Specifically, her lab focuses on how the natural modification of COX-2 with carbohydrate groups (glycosylation) may affect downstream cellular events that promote cancer progression. These studies may help to further establish and refine the use of COX-2 as a prognostic marker in cancer and may aid in the development of more effective therapies.

Mary Sevigny 2013 Color

Assistant  Professor

Office: Science Center # 200
Phone: 415-458-3743

Academic Area


Courses Taught

Molecular Diagnostics Lab I

Graduate-level course designed to familiarize students with basic molecular and biochemical techniques such as nucleic acid extraction and quantitation, RT-PCR, quantitative PCR, and western blotting.

Medical Microbiology

Course focuses on a variety of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms at both the molecular and cellular levels and is a prerequisite for Biology majors and CLS internship programs.

 Advanced Microbiology

Course focuses on a variety of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms at both the molecular and cellular levels and is a prerequisite for Biology majors.

Advanced Molecular Biotechnology

Graduate lecture-based course intended to introduce both basic and advanced biotechnology methods involving DNA, RNA, proteins, and nanotechnology.  Prerequisite for Master’s in Biological Sciences.

Biological Research Methodology

Four-semester research-based lab course designed to introduce students to a variety of methods/techniques of biological research.

Educational Background

Professional Organizations

Selected Publications

  • Alejo, M., Sevigny, M.B., and Louie, M.C. Steroid Hormone Receptors as Prognostic Markers in Breast Cancer.  In preparation.
  • Carranza, M.G., Sevigny, M.B., Banerjee, D., and Fox-Cubley, L.  2015.  Antibacterial activity of native California medicinal plant extracts isolated from Rhamnus californica and Umbellularia californica. The Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials, DOI: 10.1186/s12941-015-0086-0.

  • Ponce, E., Louie, M.C., and Sevigny, M.B.  2014.  Acute and Chronic Cadmium Exposure Promotes E-Cadherin Degradation in MCF7 Breast Cancer Cells.  Molecular Carcinogenesis, DOI: 10.1002/mc.22170.

  • Aquino, N.B., Sevigny, M.B., Sabangan, J., and Louie, M.C. 2012. The Role of Cadmium and Nickel in Estrogen Receptor Signaling and Breast Cancer: Metalloestrogens or Not?  Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part C: Environmental Carcinogenesis and Ecotoxicology Review, 30: 1-36.
  • Sevigny, M.B., Graham, K., Ponce, E., Louie, M.C., and Mitchell, K. 2012. Glycosylation of human cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) decreases the efficacy of certain COX-2 inhibitors.  Pharmacological Research, 65: 445-450.
  • Sevigny, M.B., Li, C.-F., Alas, M., and Hughes-Fulford, M.  2006.  Glycosylation regulates turnover of cyclooxygenase-2.  FEBS Letters, 580: 6533-6536. 
  • Sevigny, M.B., Garnier, P., Kauppinen, T., and Swanson, R.A.  2003.  Heat shock- induced Hsp70 expression in murine astrocytes does not require poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase activity.  Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry, 13: 297-300.
  • Sevigny, M.B., Silva, J.M., Lan, W., Alano, C.C., and Swanson, R.A.  2003.  Expression and activity of poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase in cultured astrocytes, neurons, and C6 glioma cells. Molecular Brain Research, 117: 213-220.
  •  Ying, W., Sevigny, M.B., Chen, Y., and Swanson, R.A. 2001. Poly(ADP-ribose) Glycohydrolase Mediates Oxidative and Excitotoxic Neuronal Death.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 98 (21): 12227-12232.
  • Sevigny, M.B., Zhang, L., Hatfield, S., and Troy, F.A.  1999.  Biochemical Studies to Elucidate the Molecular Mechanisms of a2,8-Linked Polysialylation in Sialobiology and Other Novel Forms of Glycosylation, Y. Inoue et al., Editors., Gakushin Publishing Company, Osaka, Japan. p. 171-182.
  • Sevigny, M.B., Ye, J., Kitazume-Kawaguchi, S., and Troy, F.A.  1998.  Developmental Expression and Characterization of the a2,8- Polysialyltransferase Activity in Embryonic Chick Brain.  Glycobiology, 8 (9): 857-867.


  • When a Good Enzyme Goes Bad: The Role of COX-2 in Health and Disease.  September, 2008 at The Marin Science Seminar, Terra Linda High School, San Rafael, CA.
  • Analysis of the Poly(ADP-Ribose) Glycohydrolase in Brain Cells and Its Role in Cell Death.  April, 2003, California State University, Sacramento, CA
  • Developmental Expression and Properties of the ?2,8- Polysialyltransferase Activity in Embryonic Chick Brain. February, 2000, US. Department of Agriculture, Albany, CA

Conference Abstracts

  • Hand, J., Dominguez, R., Regidor, M., and Sevigny, M.B. 2013.  Glycosylation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) influences the migratory potential of COS-1 cells. Abstract from the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, New Orleans, LA, December 14-18.
  • Fox-Cubley, L., Yee, G., Banerjee, D., Sevigny, M.B., and Carranza, M.G. 2013.  Assessment of antibacterial activity of two medicinal native California plant species.  Abstract from the 27th Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, University of Wisconsin (LaCrosse, Wisconsin).
  • Stipe, J.C., Carranza, M.G., and Sevigny, M.B.  2012. Effect of cyclooxygenase-2 glycosylation on downstream prostanoid synthesis pathways.  Abstract from the 26th Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Weber State University (Ogden, Utah).
  • Graham, K. and Sevigny, M.B. 2010. The role of glycosylation in the efficacy of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors.  Abstract from the Annual Experimental Biology Meeting, Anaheim, CA, April 24-28.
  • Sierra, G.B., Lieuw, M.K., Lang, J.D., Mitchell, K.P., Yevtushenko, M., Graham, K., and Sevigny, M.B. 2009.  Glycosylation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) influences the efficacy of COX-2 inhibitors.  Abstract from the 23rd Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, Wisconsin, April 16-19.
  • Gabriel, B.S., Graham, K., and Sevigny, M.B.  2008. Role of glycosylation in the efficacy of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors.  Abstract from the 22nd Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland, April 10-12.

Awards & Honors

  • Recipient of the Faculty and Student Competitive Research Grant offered through the School of Health and Natural Sciences at Dominican University, 2013- present.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship (Northern California Institute for Research and Education, Neurology Department, Veterans Affairs Medical Center) San Francisco, CA,  April 2000-August 2003
  •  ASBMB Travel Fellowship for the Experimental Biology 2003 meeting (San Diego, CA), April 2003
  • Member of Phi Sigma Biological Honor Society, Gamma Delta Chapter, May 1998- to the present
  • ASBMB Travel Fellowship for the 17th International Congress of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SanFrancisco, CA) and the Young Scientists' Program (Asilomar, CA), August 1997
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology Training Grant (U.C. Davis) 1993- 1995

Other Interests

Outside of the classroom and lab, Mary tries to spend as much time as possible with her husband, Todd Novak, and her children, Bridget and Steven. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, and wine-tasting. She likes to travel, but doesn’t get to do it as often as she’d like. Other hobbies/interests include music, cooking, gardening, home improvement, reading, and knitting. Maintaining close ties with her parents, siblings, nieces/nephew, and friends is extremely important to her as well.