Amir Levine, MD

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Overview

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

Administrative Titles

  • Director, Levine Laboratory for Social-Developmental Neuroscience

Dr. Amir A. Levine is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University. Dr. Levine is also the co-author of a popular science book titled Attached, The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love, which has been translated to 11 languages.

Dr. Amir Levine's research focuses on the gene regulation of various mental states with a special interest in the molecular processes that are unique to the developing brain. He is especially interested in how experiences during development shape the adult phenotype. Dr. Levine is among a handful of child psychiatrists who are trained both in clinical as well as molecular and biochemical approaches to study normal and pathological human development. He has a special interest in how changes in the brain during adolescence pose greater risk for the development of addiction and mood disorders. His findings have been patented and may lead to new approaches in the treatment of addiction and mood disorders in both adolescents and adults.

In the past several years, he had worked at Columbia as a Principal Investigator, together with Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Eric Kandel and distinguished researcher Dr. Denise Kandel, on a National Institute of Health sponsored research project. Currently Dr. Levine continues his investigation of adolescent brain development in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is combining the study of intrinsic molecular processes of adolescent development with risk factors for developing mental illness and ways to build resilience.

Research

I study molecular mechanisms of adolescent brain development and how the adolescent brain uniquely responds to environmental stimuli to shape affective and addictive outcomes in adulthood as well as molecular mechanisms of resilience. I also conduct biomarker translational studies. I am especially interested in how experiences during development shape the adult phenotype.

Grants

A TRANSLATIONAL EPIDEMIOLOGICAL APPROACH TO THE MOLECULAR BASIS OF PTSD AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE CO-MORBIDITY (Federal Gov)

Jul 6 2012 - Sep 30 2013

A MOLECULAR ANALYSIS OF THE GATEWAY HYPOTHESIS IN MICE (Federal Gov)

Sep 30 2007 - Aug 31 2013

Selected Publications

  • Levine A, McGlinchey E: Assessing sexual symptoms and side effects in adolescents. Pediatrics 2015;135(4): e815-7
  • Hu JY, Levine A, Sung YJ, Schacher S.: cJun and CREB2 in the postsynaptic neuron contribute to persistent long-term facilitation at a behaviorally relevant synapse. J Neurosci 2015;35(1): 386-95
  • Huang YY, Levine A, Kandel DB, Yin D, Colnaghi L, Drisaldi B, Kandel ER: D1/D5 receptors and histone deacetylation mediate the Gateway Effect of LTP in hippocampal dentate gyrus. Learn Mem 2014;21(3): 153-60
  • Levine A, Worrell TR, Zimnisky R, Schmauss C.: Early life stress triggers sustained changes in histone deacetylase expression and histone H4 modifications that alter responsiveness to adolescent antidepressant treatment. Neurobiol Dis 2012;45(1): 488-98
  • Levine A, Huang Y, Drisaldi B, Griffin EA Jr, Pollak DD, Xu S, Yin D, Schaffran C, Kandel DB, Kandel ER.: Molecular mechanism for a gateway drug: epigenetic changes initiated by nicotine prime gene expression by cocaine. Sci Transl Med 2011;3(107): 107ra109