Genetics Home › The 2014 Bernard Cohen Memorial Lecture in Genetics

2014 Bernard Cohen Memorial Lecture in Genetics

Picture of Michael S. Levine

Michael S. Levine, Ph.D.
Professor of Genetics
University of California Berkeley

"Transcriptional precision in the Drosophila embryo and the evolutionary origins of vertebrate neural crest and cranial placodes in the Ciona tadpole"

Monday, April 21, 2014, 4:00 PM
Main Auditorium, Biomedical Research Building

Dr. Michael S. Levine has been Professor of Genetics at UC Berkeley since 1996 and Chairman of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council for Biology since 2012. He 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 Dr. Levine 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, a PhD in Biophysics & Biochemistry from Yale in 1981, and did brief postdoc stints in Basel Switzerland and UC Berkeley before starting his own lab at Columbia. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Science in 1996 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1998. He received the Molecular Biology Award from the National Academy of Sciences in 1996 and the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale University in 2009.

The Levine lab studies the mechanisms responsible for switching genes on and off in the early Drosophila embryo. These studies led to the characterization of the eve stripe 2 enhancer, short-range repression, and the regulation of long-range enhancer-promoter interactions. Dr. Levine’s most recent studies focus on the visualization of gene activation in living embryos. In addition, he uses the tadpole of a simple chordate, Ciona intestinalis, to explore the evolutionary origins of key vertebrate innovations such as the multi-chambered heart and head sensory organs.