Beth Levine

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Election Year: 2013
Primary Section: 41, Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology
Secondary Section: 44, Microbial Biology
Membership Type: Member


Beth Levine is the Charles Cameron Sprague Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Science in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and is an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Levine is recognized for her work on autophagy in physiology and disease. She is known particularly for her work on the mammalian autophagy gene, beclin 1, and the role of Beclin 1 and other components of the autophagy pathway in tumor suppression, innate immunity, aging, and metabolism. Dr. Levine was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1960. She graduated from Brown University in 1981 and from Cornell University Medical College in 1986, followed by a residency in internal medicine. She was a postdoctoral fellow in infectious diseases and virology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She was on the faculty in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons from 1992 to 2004, when she joined UT Southwestern to become chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. In 2011, she became director of the Center for Autophagy Research at UT Southwestern. Dr. Levine is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians.

Research Interests

Using a variety of genetic, cell biology, biochemical, and molecular approaches in model organisms ranging from worms to mice, Dr. Levine's laboratory studies the molecular regulation and physiological functions of autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved lysosomal degradation pathway. Dr. Levine's group identified beclin 1 as an essential mammalian autophagy gene and haplo-insufficient tumor suppressor gene commonly deleted in human breast and ovarian cancer.  These studies demonstrated the concept that defects in autophagy may be linked to human disease. Her laboratory has also defined a role of autophagy genes in lifespan extension, development, innate immunity, metabolism and cell death regulation, and has elucidated key biochemical regulatory mechanisms that control autophagy.

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