Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh
Edwin S. Levitan, PhD
Professor & Vice Chair, Research Operations
E 1351 Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Phone: 412-648-9486

Fax: 412-648-1945


BA (Biochemistry), Cornell University, 1980
PhD (Biochemistry), Brandeis University, 1986.
Postdoctoral Fellow, MRC Molecular Neurobiology Unit, 1987-1988.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University, 1988-1990

Research Areas
Signal Transduction
Photo of Edwin S. Levitan, PhD

The Levitan lab studies the cell biology of neurons with a focus on neuropeptides and dopamine. Cutting edge fluorescence imaging in vivo and ex vivo (e.g. in Drosophila and rodent brain slices) with confocal and two-photon microscopes is combined with genetics, electrophysiology and electrochemistry.  Current projects include determining how signaling and injury control vesicle traffic and exocytosis in synapses, the role of vesicular antipsychotic drugs in regulating dopamine transmission and recently discovered redox communication between neuronal organelles.


Important Publications
Wong MY, SL Cavolo and ES Levitan. Synaptic neuropeptide release by dynamin-dependent partial release from circulating vesicles. Mol Biol Cell 26:2466-2474, 2015.
Cavolo SL, C Zhou, SA Ketcham, MM Suzuki, K Ukalovic, MA Silverman, TA Schroer and ES Levitan. Mycalolide B dissociates dynactin and abolishes retrograde axonal transport of dense-core vesicles. Mol Biol Cell 26:2664-2672, 2015.
Tucker KR, ER Block and ES Levitan. Action potentials and amphetamine release antipsychotic drug from dopamine neuron synaptic VMAT vesicles. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:E4485-4494, 2015.
Bulgari D, C Zhou, RS Hewes, DL Deitcher and ES Levitan. Vesicle capture, not delivery, scales up neuropeptide storage in neuroendocrine terminals. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:3597-3601, 2014.
Wong MY, C Zhou, D Shakiryanova, TE Lloyd, DL Deitcher and ES Levitan.  Neuropeptide delivery to synapses by long-range vesicle circulation and sporadic capture.  Cell 148:1029-1038, 2012.

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