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Edward Daniel Levin, PhD

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Professor in the Environmental Sciences and Policy Division
Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Division: 
Addiction
Category: 
Office: 323 Foster St, Durham, NC 27701
Campus Mail: DUMC Box 104790, Durham, NC 27710

Dr. Levin is Chief of the Neurobehavioral Research Lab in the Psychiatry Department of Duke University Medical Center. His primary academic appointment is as Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He also has secondary appointments in the Department Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke. His primary research effort is to understand basic neural interactions underlying cognitive function and addiction and to apply this knowledge to better understand cognitive dysfunction and addiction disorders and to develop novel therapeutic treatments.

The three main research components of his laboratory are focused on the themes of the basic neurobiology of cognition and addiction, neurobehavioral toxicology and the development of novel therapeutic treatments for cognitive dysfunction and substance abuse. Currently, our principal research focus concerns nicotine. We have documented the basic effects of nicotine on learningm memory and attention as well as nicotine self-administration. We are continuing with more mechanistic studies in rat models using selective lesions, local infusions and neurotransmitter interaction studies. We have found that nicotine improves memory performance not only in normal rats, but also in rats with lesions of hippocampal and basal forebrain connections. We are concentrating on alpha7 and alpha4beta2 nicotinic receptor subtypes in the hippocampus, amygdala , thalamus and frontal cortex and how they interact with dopamine D1 and D2 and glutamate NMDA systems with regard to memory and addiction. I am also conducting studies on human cognitive behavior. We have current studies to assess nicotine effects on attention, memory and mental processing speed in schizophrenics, Alzheimer's Disease patients and people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In the area of neurobehavioral toxicology, I have continuing projects to characterize the adverse effects of prenatal and adolescent nicotine exposure. Our primary project in neurobehavioral toxicology focuses on the cognitive deficits caused by the marine toxins including domoic acid, ciguatera toxin and pfiesteria. We have documented a persistent neurobehavioral effects caused by Pfiesteria and domoic acid exposure. We are determining the neurobehavioral nature and mechanisms of this deficit. The basic and applied aims of our research complement each other nicely. The findings concerning neural mechanisms underlying cognitive function help direct the behavioral toxicology and therapeutic development studies, while the applied studies provide important functional information concerning the importance of the basic mechanisms under investigation.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1984

Selected Grants

Publications

Slotkin, Theodore A., Samantha Skavicus, Jennifer Card, Edward D. Levin, and Frederic J. Seidler. “Amelioration strategies fail to prevent tobacco smoke effects on neurodifferentiation: Nicotinic receptor blockade, antioxidants, methyl donors.” Toxicology 333 (July 3, 2015): 63–75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tox.2015.04.005.

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Levin, Edward D. “Age and sex differences in starting nicotine self-administration in early, mid or late adolescence vs. adulthood: Cause and effect relationships determined in a rat model.” In Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 49:140–140. Elsevier BV, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ntt.2015.04.128.

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Oliveri, Anthony, and Ed Levin. “Early-life exposure to organophosphate flame retardants alters behavior in adult zebrafish: A comparison with organophosphate pesticides.” In Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 49:130–130. Elsevier BV, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ntt.2015.04.096.

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Hall, Brandon J., Marty Cauley, Abtin Kiany, Dennis A. Burke, and Edward D. Levin. “Low dose tobacco smoke extract exposure during development causes long-term behavioral dysfunction in rats.” In Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 49:121–22. Elsevier BV, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ntt.2015.04.073.

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Crosby, Emily B., Jordan M. Bailey, Anthony N. Oliveri, and Edward D. Levin. “Neurobehavioral impairments caused by developmental imidacloprid exposure in zebrafish.” Neurotoxicol Teratol 49 (May 2015): 81–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ntt.2015.04.006.

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Bailey, Jordan, and Ed Levin. “The neurobehavioral toxicity of FireMaster 550® in zebrafish ( Danio rerio ): Chronic developmental and acute adolescent exposures.” In Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 49:118–118. Elsevier BV, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ntt.2015.04.064.

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Hall, Brandon J., Susan Slade, Corinne Wells, Jed E. Rose, and Edward D. Levin. “Bupropion-varenicline interactions and nicotine self-administration behavior in rats.” Pharmacol Biochem Behav 130 (March 2015): 84–89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2015.01.009.

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Bailey, J. M., A. N. Oliveri, C. Zhang, J. M. Frazier, S. Mackinnon, G. J. Cole, and E. D. Levin. “Long-term behavioral impairment following acute embryonic ethanol exposure in zebrafish.” Neurotoxicol Teratol 48 (March 2015): 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ntt.2015.01.005.

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Slotkin, Theodore A., Samantha Skavicus, Edward D. Levin, and Frederic J. Seidler. “Prenatal nicotine changes the response to postnatal chlorpyrifos: Interactions targeting serotonergic synaptic function and cognition.” Brain Res Bull 111 (February 2015): 84–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainresbull.2015.01.003.

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Levin, Edward D., Brandon J. Hall, and Amir H. Rezvani. “Heterogeneity across brain regions and neurotransmitter interactions with nicotinic effects on memory function.” Curr Top Behav Neurosci 23 (2015): 87–101. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-13665-3_4.

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