Michael Levine (Princeton University)

Michael Levine (Princeton University)

Butler Seminar Series

Event Date/Location

September 12, 2018 -
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Thomas Laboratory 003


  • Picture of Dr. Micheal S Levine

    Michael Levine

    Professor & Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics & Professor of Molecular Biology
    Princeton Univerisity,


"A single cell view of animal development"

Transcriptional enhancers regulate the on/off activities of target genes in response to a variety of intrinsic and external signals.  The human genome is thought to contain hundreds of thousands of enhancers, an average of 10-20 enhancers per protein coding gene.  We are using two model organisms to study how enhancers control development, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis.  Live imaging methods provide new opportunities for understanding transcription dynamics in living Drosophila embryos.  These studies identified transcriptional bursting as a basic property of gene expression.  Bursts do not appear to be caused by unstable enhancer-promoter loops since a single enhancer can co-activate two linked reporter genes in cis or in trans (transvection).  I will discuss “transcription hubs” to explain these results, as well as other regulatory phenomena in the early Drosophila embryo.  My lab is also using single cell RNA-sequencing methods to study the development of the proto-vertebrate, Ciona intestinalis.  Due to the small cell numbers that is a hallmark property of these embryos, it is possible to combine single cell RNA-sequencing methods with experimental perturbations.  Such an approach was used to identify the regulatory determinants and target enhancers underlying the development of dopaminergic neurons in the tadpole CNS.


Free and open to the university community and the public.


Department of Molecular Biology