Yona Levites, Ph.D.

Levites Yona

Assistant Professor

Department of Neuroscience
Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease (CTRND)
1275 Center Drive
PO Box 100159
Gainesville, FL  32610-0159
Email: levites.yona@ufl.edu
Office Phone:  (352) 273-9660

Education:          

2002 Ph.D.
(Pharmacology)
Faculty of Medicine & Unit of Biotechnology
Technion, Haifa, Israel
2002-2005 Postdoctoral Fellow
(Neuroscience)
Mayo Clinic, Neurodegeneration Research Center
Jacksonville, Florida

Key Words:   Immunotherapy; Adeno-associated virus; Amyloid; Alzheimer’s disease; Spinal cord neurodegeneration; Neuronal death

Research Summary:

I have over 15 years of experience in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research. I am interested in developing immunotherapeutic approaches to neurodenerative diseases in which a key role in development of pathology plays a misfolded aggregated protein, such as amyloid beta, tau, synuclein etc. Variable fragments from hybridoma cells are cloned and constructed into recombinant single chain fragments that are delivered to the brain or spinal cord of transgenic mice via AAV. Additionally, I am designing and characterizing bi-functional single chain fragments that bind and target the protein of interest into specific cellular compartment for destruction.

I played a key role in development, optimization, and utilization of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) gene delivery paradigms as technology accelerators. These paradigms, which we refer to as somatic brain transgenesis (SBT) for brain delivery, enhance our capacity to rapidly and cost-effectively explore hypotheses and evaluate biological based therapies in the brain and spinal cord of mouse models of neurodegenerative disease. I am interested in developing these techniques to achieve efficient transduction of entire adult brain and spinal cord through peripheral administration to deliver therapy or model neurodegenerative paradigms.

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