Professor and Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and Professor of Molecular Biology

Areas of Research: How noncoding regions of the genome function to control the differential patterns of gene expression, both spatial and temporal, that define cell behavior.
Department|Program:
  • Molecular Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics

msl2@princeton.edu
Research Lab
609-258-8611
140 Carl Icahn Laboratory

Faculty Assistant:
Marybeth Fedele
fedele@princeton.edu
609-258-7058
Website

Research Focus

My lab has studied mechanisms responsible for switching genes on and off in the early Drosophila embryo for over 30 years. These studies led to the characterization of the eve stripe 2 enhancer, short-range repression, and the regulation of long-range enhancer-promoter interactions.

For nearly 20 years we have also studied the gene networks underlying the development of a simple protovertebrate, the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis. These studies led to the identification of rudimentary tissues for key innovations of the vertebrate “new head”, including cranial neural crest, neurogenic placodes, and the second heart field.

I will begin my new post as Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University in July 2015. I am currently Professor of Genetics at UC Berkeley (since 1996) and Chairman of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council for Biology since 2012. I was Head of the Division of Genetics, Genomics and Development from 2007-2011 and served as Acting Director of the Functional Genomics Program at the Joint Genome Institute (DOE) in 2001. Prior to that I held faculty positions at Columbia University and UCSD, and was a Visiting Professor of Zoology at the University of Zurich from 1999-2000.

I obtained a BA in Genetics from UC Berkeley in 1976 and a PhD in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry from Yale in 1981. I was a postdoc in Basel, Switzerland in 1982-1983 where I was a co-discoverer of the homeobox (with Bill McGinnis). I was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998. I received the Molecular Biology Award from the National Academy of Sciences in 1996, the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale University in 2009, and the EG Conklin Medal from the Society of Development Biology in 2015.


Selected Publications

  • Lim, B., Heist, T., Levine, M., Fukaya, T. (2018). Visualization of Transvection in Living Drosophila Embryos. Mol Cell 70, 287-296. Pubmed
  • Treen, N., Heist, T., Wang, W., Levine, M. (2018). Depletion of Maternal Cyclin B3 Contributes to Zygotic Genome Activation in the Ciona Embryo. Curr Biol 28, 1150-1156. Pubmed
  • Fukaya, T. and Levine, M. (2017). Transvection. Curr Biol 27, R1047-R1049. Pubmed 
  • Fukaya, T., Lim, B., and Levine, M. (2017). Rapid rates of Pol II elongation in the Drosophila embryo. Curr Biol 27, 1387-1391. Pubmed
  • Rogers, W.A., Goyal, Y, Yamaya, K., Shvartsman, S.Y., and Levine, M. (2017). Uncoupling neurogenic gene networks in the Drosophila embryo. Genes Dev 31, 634-638. Pubmed
  • Lim, B., Levine, M., Yamazaki, Y. (2017). Transcriptional Pre-patterning of Drosophila gastrulation. Curr Biol 27, 286-290. Pubmed
  • Navarrete, I.A. and Levine, M. (2016). Nodal and FGF coordinate ascidian neural tube morphogenesis.  Development 143, 4665-4675. Pubmed
  • Farley, E.K., Olson, K.M., Zhang, W., Rokhsar, D.S., and Levine, M. (2016). Syntax compensates for poor binding sites to encode tissue specificity of developmental enhancers. PNAS 113, 6508-6513. Pubmed
  • Esposito, E., Lim, B., Guessous, G., Falahati, H., and Levine, M. (2016). Mitosis-associated repression in development.  Genes Dev. 30, 1503-1508. Pubmed
  • Fukaya, T., Lim, B., and Levine, M. (2016). Enhancer control of transcriptional bursting. Cell 166, 358-368. Pubmed
  • El-Sherif, E and Levine, M. (2016). Shadow enhancers mediate dynamic shifts of gap gene expression in the Drosophila embryo.  Curr Biol. 26, 1164-1169. Pubmed
  • Ferraro, T., Esposito, E., Mancini, L., Ng, S., Lucas, T., Coppey, M., Dostatni, N., Walczak, A.M., Levine, M., and Lagha, M. (2016). Transcriptional memory in the Drosophila embryo. Curr Biol. 26, 212-218. Pubmed
  • Farley, E.K., Olson, K.M., and Levine, M. (2015). Regulatory principles governing tissue specificity of developmental enhancers. CSH Quant Biol. 80, 27-32. Pubmed 
  • Diogo, R. et al. (2015). A New Heart for a New Head in Vertebrate Cardiopharyngeal Evolution. Nature 520, 466-473. Pubmed
  • Abitua, P.B., Gainous, B., Winchell, C.J., Kamata, K., Nakagawa, M., Tsuda, M., Kusakabe, T.G., and Levine, M. (2015). The pre-vertebrate origins of neurogenic placodes. Nature 524, 462-465. Pubmed

View complete list of Publications.