Anastasia Levitin, PhDResearch Assistant Professor; Program Director, MBS in Pharmaceutical Discovery and Development
Infection and Immunity, Antibiotic Resistance, Development of High-Throughput Screening Assays, Genetics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Dr. Levitin received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and her PhD in Biotechnology at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. She then worked on identifying new treatment options for patients suffering from Candida infections at the Biotechnology Research Institute - National Research Council of Canada. She conducted her postdoctoral studies at McGill University Medical School and at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Dr. Levitin is interested in studying host immune response to bacterial / fungal infections, and in developing vaccines for prevention of microbial infections. She is also interested in defining biomarkers for rapid detection of microbial infections and autoimmune diseases.
Students will be exposed to the conceptual foundations of biotechnology and the role played by discoveries and applications of molecular biology principles in advancing biotechnology horizons. This is a case-based course in which students will read landmark original papers and patents that shaped biotechnology, and discuss these in the class.
We will focus on the opportunities presented by the growing contribution of human evolutionary and population genetics, and of human genomic information and technologies to interdisciplinary approaches in the study of variable responses of humans to drugs and toxic agents, and how research may benefit the individual. The course will provide an in depth analysis of salient examples where genetic thinking has impacted pharmacological sciences, including issues on genetic variability in biochemistry and physiology of drug action, drug uptake and metabolism; the opportunities for discovery and design of new therapeutic agents. While a small section of the course will cover issues in personalizing medicine, understanding and managing adverse drug reactions, ethical, legal, regulatory and social consequences of genetics applied to medicines, the major part of the course will consist of in-depth studies of the primary literature on pharmacogenetics and genomics. The course will aim to make students aware of the interdisciplinary research effort in human genetics and pharmacogenetics, which are poised to revolutionize drug development and therapeutic management.
Patel, T. and Levitin, A., Escherichia coli adaptive resistance to clinical antibiotics, JSM Microbiol. 2014, Jan. 28; 2(1): 1007
Levitin A, Yanofsky C. Positions of Trp codons in the leader peptide-coding region of the AT operon influence anti-trap synthesis and trp operon expression in Bacillus licheniformis. J Bacteriol. 2010 Mar;192(6):1518-26.
Levitin A, Whiteway M. Drosophila innate immunity and response to fungal infections. Cell Microbiol. 2008 May;10(5):1021-6. Review.
Levitin A, Whiteway M. The effect of prostaglandin E2 on transcriptional responses of Candida albicans. Microbiol Res. 2007;162(3):201-10
Martchenko M, Levitin A, Whiteway M. Transcriptional activation domains of the Candida albicans Gcn4p and Gal4p homologs. Eukaryot Cell. 2007 Feb;6(2):291-301.
Martchenko M, Levitin A, Hogues H, Nantel A, Whiteway M. Transcriptional rewiring of fungal galactose-metabolism circuitry. Curr Biol. 2007 Jun 19;17(12):1007-13.
Levitin A, Marcil A, Tettweiler G, Laforest MJ, Oberholzer U, Alarco AM, Thomas DY, Lasko P, Whiteway M. Drosophila melanogaster Thor and response to Candida albicans infection. Eukaryot Cell. 2007 Apr;6(4):658-63.
Braun BR, van Het Hoog M, d'Enfert C, Martchenko M, Dungan J, Kuo A, Inglis DO, Uhl MA, Hogues H, Berriman M, Lorenz M, Levitin A, Oberholzer U, Bachewich C, Harcus D, Marcil A, Dignard D, Iouk T, Zito R, Frangeul L, Tekaia F, Rutherford K, Wang E, Munro CA, Bates S, Gow NA, Hoyer LL, Köhler G, Morschhäuser J, Newport G, Znaidi S, Raymond M, Turcotte B, Sherlock G, Costanzo M, Ihmels J, Berman J, Sanglard D, Agabian N, Mitchell AP, Johnson AD, Whiteway M, Nantel A. A human-curated annotation of the Candida albicans genome. PLoS Genet. 2005 Jul;1(1):36-57
Gidda SK, Miersch O, Levitin A, Schmidt J, Wasternack C, Varin L. Biochemical and molecular characterization of a hydroxyjasmonate sulfotransferase from Arabidopsis thaliana. J Biol Chem. 2003 May 16;278(20):17895-900.
Dr. Levitin has previously established the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster macrophage-like cell line as a model to study host innate immune response to fungal pathogens, as well as transcriptional profiling of the pathogen response to host macrophages.
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS:
Immune response to bacterial infections using Drosophila as a model organism
Innate immune response is a first defense against pathogens and it is evolutionarily highly conserved. The fruit fly Drosophila is devoid of an adaptive immune system, making this a model organism to study innate immune response to microbial infections. Dr. Levitin identifies components of innate immunity using Drosophila as a surrogate, and subsequently confirms the findings in mammalian systems.
Her lab also studies host genes differentially expressed in response to microbial infection that encode surface proteins since they are potential candidates for the development of biomarkers.
Dr. Levitin is also interested in pathogen genes encoding surface proteins that are differentially expressed in response to phagocytes. These genes represent targets for vaccine development.
|Anastasia Levitin, PhD|
|Location:||Building 517, Room B143|