Faculty & Research

Molecular Biology Faculty

Michael Levine

Professor of Molecular Biology 


lab Levine Research Lab
Phone TBD
locationCarl Icahn Lab, 140
Phone Lab TBD

Faculty Assistant
marybeth fedele
Phone (609) 258-7058


Research Focus

How noncoding regions of the genome function to control the differential patterns of gene expression, both spatial and temporal, that define cell behavior.

Michael Levine's 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 the Levine lab 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.

Dr. Michael Levine will begin his new post as Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University in July 2015. He is currently Professor of Genetics at UC Berkeley (since 1996) and Chairman of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council for Biology since 2012. Dr. Levine 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 he held faculty positions at Columbia University and UCSD, and was a Visiting Professor of Zoology at the University of Zurich from 1999-2000.

Dr. Levine obtained a BA in Genetics from UC Berkeley in 1976 and a PhD in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry from Yale in 1981. He was a postdoc in Basel, Switzerland in 1982-1983 where he was a co-discoverer of the homeobox (with Bill McGinnis). Dr. Levine was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998. He 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.

Upcoming Events

Wed, Sep 14, 2016

Tue, Sep 20, 2016

Wed, Sep 28, 2016

Contact Us

Lewis Thomas Laboratory at Princeton University

119 Lewis Thomas Laboratory
Washington Road, Princeton, NJ  08544-1014

Need help? Contact us

Fax: (609) 258-3980
Website:  molbio.princeton.edu