Louise Chow, Ph.D.

Chow Address: McCallum Basic Health Sciences Building
Room 510
1918 University Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35294-0005

Office Phone:
Lab Phone:


(205) 975-8300
(205) 975-8302
(205) 934-6075

Recent Publications


Louise Chow was born in Hunan Province, China. She completed her undergraduate training in Agricultural Chemistry at National Taiwan University (1965) and carried out her graduate studies in Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Ph.D., 1973) in the lab of Norman Davidson, developing electron microscopic heteroduplex methods to study gene organization of bacteria and their bacteriophage lysogens. After post-doctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, she joined Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (1975) studying gene regulation by phage Mu DNA inversion and adenovirus transcription and replication. As a Staff Investigator (1976), she carried out the studies of the genomic origins and structures of adenovirus transcripts that led directly to the EM discovery of RNA splicing and alternative RNA processing (Cell 11:819-836 and Cell 12:1-8), and the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to her collaborator. She was appointed Senior Staff investigator (1977) and Senior Scientist with tenure (1979). She moved to the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1984 to study the pathogenesis, molecular genetics, and biochemistry of human papillomaviruses.

She subsequently joined the faculty at UAB as Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics in 1993, and is a Senior Scientist in several Centers: Cancer, AIDS, Oral Cancer, and Cystic Fibrosis. She is an Associate Editor of Virology, served two terms on the NIH Virology Study Section, and is on the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee reviewing clinical protocols for gene therapy. She co-organized the 17th International Papillomavirus Conference. Her research is funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institute of Dental Research.

Personal interests include wildlife observation, classical music, and the fine arts.

Lab Research Focus: Molecular and Cell Biology of Human Papillomaviruses

The research objectives of my laboratory are to dissect the biochemical and genetic properties of human papillomaviruses associated with condylomas, dysplasias and carcinomas of the genital and oral mucosa. The major topics under investigation include: (1) The mechanism of HPV DNA replication. Using both cell-free and transient replication assays, we identified functionally significant, novel interactions among the viral replication proteins E1 and E2 and the human heat shock/chaperone proteins Hsp40 and Hsp70, the cell cycle regulatory cyclin E/cyclin-dependent kinase2 complex, human DNA polymerase-a subunits, replication protein A, and transcription factor YY1. We now are characterizing the post-translational modifications of these replication factors conferred by various regulatory proteins that participate in the assembly, activation or repression of the preinitiation complexes. (2) The mechanisms of viral pathogenesis. We have established organotypic, epithelial raft cultures of primary human keratinocytes grown at the medium:air interface, a system that recreates fully differentiated squamous epithelium. We found that, in post-mitotic, differentiated keratinocytes, the expression of the HPV E7 protein, which is known to inactivate the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein pRB, results in novel host-virus interactions, leading to separate cell populations that either enter or are prevented from entering S phase. We are now investigating the modulation of HPV expression by cyclin E/cdk2 inhibitors p27kipl and p21cipl. (3) The role of nuclear matrices and chromatin remodeling. Genetic, biochemical and fluorescent microscopic techniques are revealing the interactions of viral proteins with nuclear structures essential in regulating viral replication and transcription. (Also please see the research interests of Thomas R. Broker.)