About Yona R Levites
Dr. Levites is a Research Assistant Professor at the CTRND and department of Neuroscience. She recieved her PhD in the laboratory of Professor Moussa Youdim at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, working on the benefits of Green Tea polyphenols in models of Parkinson’s Disease. She continued her training as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Professor Todd Golde where she developed recombinant antibody fragments against amyloid beta and their delivery to the CNS via Adeno Associated virus. Currently she continues this path and her primary research is focused on designing, engineering and testing recombinant therapise for neurodegenrative disorders. These diseases are characterized by accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain, initiating a cascade of neurotoxic and inflammatory events leading eventually to brain organ failure. There are no current therapies against most of these diseases. In the recent years immunotherapeutic approach, specifically targeting misfolded proteins’ accumulation in the CNS has been very promising, although is facing many challenges in clinic. Dr. Levites’ group clones variable regions from many newly developed antibodies against these proteins, modified them to increase their stability and efficacy and further test these novel therapeutics in vitro, cell culture, as well as in various mouse models. The goal of her research is to get preclinical immunotherapy research to the stage where these agents can be evaluated in clinic. Additionally, Dr. Levites plays a key role in developing AAV toolkit, looking for optimal ways to deliver AAV to the CNS and achieve highest levels of gene expression in areas of interest.