Leticia Márquez-Magaña, PhD
Leticia Márquez-Magaña, PhD is the Health Equity Institute Professor of Biology at SFSU. She is the first-born daughter of Mexican immigrants and began her education in the U.S. as a monolingual Spanish speaker. Dr. Márquez-Magaña attended Stanford University as the first member of her extended U.S. family to complete high school. She earned a co-terminal BS/MS degree in Biological Sciences as a Patricia Robert Harris Fellow at Stanford. She subsequently completed her PhD research as an NSF Minority Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the department of Biochemistry at UC Berkeley. She is the first and only Latina to earn a PhD in Biochemistry in this department. After earning her PhD, Dr. Márquez-Magaña received an NSF Minority Post-doctoral Fellowship to undertake her postdoctoral training in molecular pharmacology at the Stanford Medical Center.
Dr. Márquez-Magaña joined the faculty at SF State in 1994 initiating a successful research program in microbial genetics based on her PhD work. This research program was continuously funded for seventeen years, led to several publications, and the training of >70 underrepresented minority students in the sciences. Notably, she was awarded a prestigious NSF CAREER grant as an Assistant Professor that supported her development as a researcher, educator, and mentor in microbial genetics. Her excellence in scientific mentoring was recognized in 2001 when she received a national Mentoring Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She now finds herself compelled to exercise her roles as researcher, educator, and mentor in the field of cancer disparities research.
In 2005 Dr. Márquez-Magaña developed and taught a course titled "Health Disparities in Cancer" that compelled her transition into cancer disparities research. She developed the course with colleagues in the Cancer Disparities group at UC San Francisco learning that the outcomes of traditional biomedical research often increase health disparities. This revelation caused her to transition from her traditional biomedical research in the field of microbial genetics to engagement in transdisciplinary research projects in health equity. Consequently, as the Professor of Biology in the Health Equity Institute she now strives to utilize her exceptional training in basic science to benefit transdisciplinary research aimed at reducing health disparities in general and cancer health disparities in particular.
- Breast cancer health disparities
- Misconceptions of ‘race' as a biological concept, and other racial/ethnic barriers to cancer research
- Training students for research careers aimed at health equity
Pilot Study to Find Genetic Link Among Women with Triple-negative Breast Cancer
- The overall objective of the project is to obtain pilot data to support a genetic/ancestral basis for triple-negative breast cancer. Determination of the HLA-type and ancestral lineage of 100 triple-negative breast cancer samples will be a key milestone. This determination will be used to test the hypothesis that a genetic link explains the high incidence of triple-negative breast cancer in Ghanaian and U.S. African American women. This pilot study is a joint venture between Dr. Márquez-Magaña (molecular biologist) at SF State, Dr. Steve Mack (human evolutionary biologist) at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, and Drs. Elad Ziv and Laura Fejerman at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC San Francisco.
Recruiting and Retaining Women of Color in Biomedical Research
- The goals of the funded NIH-SEPA project are to increase the interest, recruitment, and retention of women of color in biomedical sciences research. Efforts to achieve these goals include development of a mentoring community, after-school science clubs for middle/high school girls, and an innovative girls' science curriculum. Research emanating from this project is aimed at investigating best practices for recruiting and retaining women of color in science. This project is led by Dr. Kimberly Tanner who is the Biology Educator in the College of Science and Engineering (COSE).
Building Research Infrastructure for Community Science (BRICS) for Health Equity
- In partnership with Dr. Alegra Eroy-Reveles, who is the Chemistry Educator in COSE, efforts are underway to renew funding from the SEPA program at the NIH. The overall goals of the NIH SEPA program are to increase participation of minorities in science, and to improve the perception of biomedical research by community members. Consequently, the SF State proposal focuses on enabling minority high school students in local community-based agencies to participate in research aimed at answering biomedical questions relevant to their communities. Proposed is aimed at investigating how the ability to "give back" to their communities via biomedical research improves the persistence of youth in science. Additionally, changes in community perceptions of biomedical research will be investigated.
(since transitioning into health equity research):
Knight, J.D., R.M. Fulop, L.M. Márquez-Magaña~, and K.D. Tanner. 2008. Implementation of Case-based Modules in an Upper Division Cell and Molecular Biology Course at a Minority-serving Institution, CBE Life Sci Edu 7:382
Peréz-Stable, E., Afable-Munsuz, A., Kaplan, C.P., Pace, L., Samayoa, C.*~, Somkin, C., Nickleach, D., Lee, M., Márquez-Magaña, L.M.~, Juarbe, T., and Pasick, R. 2013. Factors Influencing Time to Diagnosis after Abnormal Mammography in Diverse Women, in press for J. of Women's Health.
Márquez-Magaña, L.M. ~, Samayoa, C.*~, and Umanzour, C*~. Debunking "race" and Asserting Social Determinants as Primary Causes of Cancer Health Disparities, in review for Journal of Cancer Education.
Publications from Prior Projects
Helmann, J.D., L.M. Márquez~, and M.J. Chamberlin. 1988. Cloning, Sequencing, and Disruption of the Bacillus subtilis sigma-28 gene. J. Bacteriol. 170:1568.
Márquez, L.M.~, J.D. Helmann, E.F. Ferrari, H.M. Parker, G.W. Ordal, and M.J. Chamberlin. 1990. Studies of Sigma-D Dependent Functions in Bacillus subtilis. J. Bacteriol. 172:3435.
Hanlon, D.W., P. Carpenter, L.M. Márquez-Magaña~, M.J. Chamberlin, and G.W. Ordal. 1992. Sequence and Characterization of Bacillus subtilis CheW. J. Biol. Chem. 267:12055.
Ordal, G.W., L.M. Márquez-Magaña~, and M.J. Chamberlin. 1993. Motilityand Chemotaxis in Bacillus subtilis inA. Sonenshein, R. Losick, and J. Hoch (eds.), Bacillus subtilis and Other Gram Positive Bacteria; Biochemistry, Physiology, and Molecular Genetics, American Society of Microbiology, Washington, D.C., pp. 765-784.
Márquez-Magaña, L.M.~, and M.J. Chamberlin. 1994. Characterization of the sigD Transcription Unit of Bacillussubtilis. J. Bacteriol. 176:2427.
Márquez-Magaña, L.M.~, D.B. Mirel, and M.J. Chamberlin. 1994. Regulation of Sigma-D Expression and Activity by the spo0 and abrB Gene Products of Bacillus subtilis.J. Bacteriol. 176:2435.
Estacio, W.E.*~, S. SantaAnna-Arriola~, M.A. Adedipe†~, and L.M. Márquez-Magaña~. 1998. Dual promoters are Responsible for Transcription Initiation of the fla/che operon in Bacillus subtilis. J. of Bacteriol. 180:3548.
West, J. T.~, W. Estacio~, and L. M. Márquez-Magaña~. 2000. Relative Roles of the fla/chePA, PD-3,and PsigD Promoters in Regulating Motility and sigD Expression in Bacillus subtilis, J. of Bacteriol. 182:4841
Mirel, D.B., W. Estacio~, M. Mathieu†, E. Olmsted*, J. Ramirez†~, and L.M. Márquez-Magaña~. 2000. Environmental Regulation of sD-dependent Gene expression in Bacillus subtilis. J.of Bacteriol. 182:3055.
Aizawa, C., I. Zhulin, L .M. Márquez-Magaña~, and G. Ordal. 2002.Motility and Chemotaxis in A. Sonenshein, R. Losick, and J. Hoch (eds.), Bacillus subtilis and Its Relatives: From Genes to Cells, American Society of Microbiology, Washington, D.C., pp. 437-452.
Bergara, F.*, C. Ibarra†~, J.I. Iwamasa†~, J.C. Patarroyo†~, R.Aguilera~, and L.M. Márquez-Magaña~. 2003. CodY is a Nutritional Repressor of Flagellar Expression in Bacillus subtilis, J. of Bacteriol. 185:3118.
Cao M., L. Salzberg, C.S. Tsai, T. Mascher, C. Bonilla*~, T.Wang, R.W. Ye, L.M Márquez-Magaña~, and J.D.Helmann. 2003. Regulation of the Bacillus subtilis extracytoplasmic function protein sYand its target promoters. J. of Bacteriol. 185:4883.
Werhane, H.*, P. Lopez*~, M. Mendel*, M. Zimmer, G. Ordal, and L.M. Márquez-Magaña~. 2004. The Last Gene of the fla/che Operon in Bacillus subtilis is Required for Maximal sD Function, J.of Bacteriol. 186:4025.
Mendez, R.†~, A. Gutierrez*~, J. Reyes *~, and L.M. Márquez-Magaña~. 2012. The ECF Sigma Factor, SigY, is Required for Efficient Maintenance of the Spb Prophage that Encodes Sublancin in Bacillus subtilis, DNA and Cell Biology, 31, 946
† SF State undergraduate student; *SF State Master's student, ~underrepresented minority