Arthur S. Levine, MD

Arthur S. Levine, MD, brings 22 years of leadership in administration and research to neuroscience after stepping down in 2020 from his role as Pitt's John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine and senior vice chancellor for the health sciences. As the executive director of the Brain Institute, he will use his extensive knowledge and experience to help grow the Brain Institute, as well as lead the Assault on Alzheimer's program, which he established to tackle one of the greatest biomedical and socioeconomic challenges we face today. 

During his tenure -- one of the longest among medical school deans -- Levine was instrumental in fostering the University’s remarkable research trajectory that led to ranking fifth nationally in National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding. He focused on studies that exploit the vast amount of data emerging from the human genome project and on emerging and powerful technologies that enable us to visualize the three-dimensional structures, locations, and interactions of the proteins encoded by genes as they exist at particular times in particular cells. With respect to education, Dr. Levine initiated new mechanisms designed to enhance the recruitment and retention of talented students and trainees, with the goal of helping to reverse the precipitous decline across the nation in the numbers of young physicians and other health science students embarking upon substantive careers in research and education.

Beyond his University responsibilities, Levine worked closely with UPMC, one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States, to ensure that health care delivery, biomedical research, and education — the three legs of the “classic academic stool” — remain equally strong and well positioned for future growth.  A newer leg is entrepreneurship—building on our intellectual capital to further the public good.

Prior to his leadership appointment at the University of Pittsburgh, Levine served at the NIH for more than three decades, having joined the National Cancer Institute in 1967. From 1982 to 1998, he was the scientific director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, widely recognized as one of the world’s leading centers in developmental biology.

Earlier in his career, Levine played a leading role in clinical research on childhood malignancies, and he was one of the first to carry out systematic investigations on the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections in patients with cancer. Throughout his career, Levine has also been engaged in molecular biologic research. He and his colleagues carried out the first physical and genetic mapping of SV40, a mammalian tumor virus. These investigators were also the first to work on naturally occurring viral recombinant DNAs, and the results provided an important source of information in the beginning of the recombinant DNA era. Levine continues to direct his own laboratory, which is focused on the molecular mechanisms that maintain the fidelity of the genome.  Recently the lab has begun to explore this same theme in the brain.

Levine, who has authored or co-authored more than 280 scientific publications, has been widely recognized for his achievements. He has chaired numerous national and international scientific meetings, been elected to membership in a number of the leading research societies, and has held visiting professorships and distinguished lectureships at many universities in the United States and abroad. Levine has served on the editorial boards of four scientific journals and was editor-in-chief of The New Biologist, a journal of cellular and molecular biology. He received the Meritorious Service and the Distinguished Service Medals of the United States Public Health Service, the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal, the Distinguished Alumnus Award and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, and the NIH Director’s Award.

Levine is a graduate of Columbia College, where he majored in comparative literature and edited The Columbia Review. In 1964, he received his MD from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. After an internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Hospitals, Minneapolis, Levine served as a fellow in hematology and biochemical genetics at the University of Minnesota prior to joining the NIH.