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.
  • Molecular Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
Research Lab
140 Carl Icahn Laboratory

Faculty Assistant:
Marybeth Fedele

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

  • Oktaba K, Zhang W, Lotz TS, Jun DJ, Lemke SB, Ng SP, Esposito E, Levine M., Hilgers V. (2015) ELAV Links Paused Pol II to Alternative Polyadenylation in the Drosophila Nervous System. Mol Cell. 57(2):341-8. Pubmed
  • Wagner E, Stolfi A, Gi Choi Y, Levine M. (2014) Islet is a key determinant of ascidian palp morphogenesis. Development. 141(15):3084-92. Pubmed
  • Haupaix N, Abitua PB, Sirour C, Yasuo H, Levine M, Hudson C. (2014) Ephrin-mediated restriction of ERK1/2 activity delimits the number of pigment cells in the Ciona CNS. Dev Biol. Pubmed
  • Levine M. (2014) The contraction of time and space in remote chromosomal interactions. Cell.158(2):243-4. Pubmed
  • Levine M. (2014) Retrospective. Walter Gehring (1939-2014). Science. 345(6194):277. Pubmed
  • Bothma JP, Garcia HG, Esposito E, Schlissel G, Gregor T, Levine M. (2014) Dynamic regulation of eve stripe 2 expression reveals transcriptional bursts in living Drosophila embryos. PNAS. 111(29):10598-603. Pubmed
  • Levine M, Cattoglio C, Tjian R. (2014) Looping back to leap forward: transcription enters a new era. Cell. 157(1):13-25. Pubmed

View complete list of Publications.