EducationPhD, Brandeis University (1986)
The Levitan lab combines novel microscopy approaches, electrophysiology and molecular biology to learn how electrical activity, intracellular signaling and therapeutic drugs (e.g. antipsychotics and antidepressants) control neuronal activity and release of transmitters at nerve terminals and dendrites. Projects are split between two experimental systems: Drosophila, which is well suited for genetic manipulation of identified neurons, and mammalian brain slice, where dopamine and serotonin neurons are studied with multiphoton microscopy and dynamic clamp. Recent studies have focused on the delivery of single vesicles and a kinase to release sites, action potential-independent release and long-term control of neuronal excitability.
Shakiryaova, D., Zettel, G.M., Gu, T., Hewes, R.S. and Levitan, E.S. Synaptic neuropeptide release induced by octopamine without Ca2+ entry into the nerve terminal. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108: 4477-4481, 2011.
Shakiryanova, D., Morimoto, T., Zhou, C., Chouhan, A.K., Sigrist, S.J., Nose, A., Macleod, G.T., Deitcher, D.L. and Levitan, E.S. Differential control of presynaptic CaMKII activation and translocation to active zones. J Neurosci. 31: 9093-9100, 2011.
Colgan, L.A., Putzier, I. and Levitan, E.S. Activity-dependent vesicular monoamine transporter-mediated depletion of the nucleus supports somatic release by serotonin neurons. J Neurosci. 29: 15878-15887, 2009.