Levy Lab

A key question in neurobiology is how pathology is initiated and propagated in the brain of patients with neurodegenerative disorders. A major focus of studies in Dr. Efrat Levy’s laboratory has been the pathogenic factors that contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), using a multidisciplinary approach to identify factors that initiate, promote, or inhibit the disease. To this end the laboratory has been employing molecular, biochemical, cellular, and transgenic mouse methods. Dr. Levy has initiated novel directions in the research of amyloidosis in general and AD in particular. In recent years she has been studying vesicular trafficking, and the laboratory’s studies of vesicular transport laid the groundwork for developing the models and methods to study the role of a novel bioactive vesicle, the exosome, as either a protective or pathogenic vehicle in the brain. The laboratory has been pursuing the hypothesis that exosome secretion is a mechanism for clearance of endocytic vesicular content when dysfunctions in the endosomal-lysosomal pathway prevent the transport of cargo for degradation in the lysosomes. Paradoxically, the elimination of cytotoxic material from the cell via exosomes may cause spread of toxic material in the central nervous system, promoting the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as AD. The laboratory has found that human and mouse brain exosomes are enriched with the carboxyl-terminal fragments of the amyloid b precursor protein, neurotoxic proteins that are a source of amyloid b (Ab), the major constituent of the amyloid deposited in the brain of AD patients. Thus, exosomes are potentially capable of generating Ab at sites distant from the cell that secreted the exosomes. Additionally, Ab binds to the surface of the lipid-rich exosomal membrane, potentially forming a seeding site for amyloid. Studies are underway in the laboratory to investigate the pathogenic function of brain exosomes. In parallel, research is conducted of the neuroprotection activities of cystatin C (CysC). The laboratory had shown that CysC alleviates endosomal-lysosomal abnormalities and memory deficits in mouse models of Down syndrome and of progressive myoclonus epilepsy, and preliminary studies have recently shown that CysC enhances exosome secretion – suggesting a mechanism by which CysC can be neuroprotective in neurodegenerative disorders with endosomal and/or exosomal disruption.

Publications

All publications

Levy Lab Members

Gisele Adrian Ferrari -Adminstrator
845-398-5539 Gisele.Ferrari@NKI.rfmh.org
Gisele Ferrari joined the Center of Dementia Research as a Project Administrator in January 2007. She coordinates and oversees grant applications for the laboratories of Drs. Levy, Mathews, and Ginsberg, and a Core facility. Her expanded duties include independently generating budgets and additional form pages; she is responsible for ongoing grant management, expenditures, and budgetary compliance; and she oversees laboratory personnel. This is in addition to her obligations to the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).

Bryana Barreto
845-398-6669 Bryana.Barreto@nki.rfmh.org
Bryana Barreto graduated from New York University, College of Arts and Science, New York, NY, with BS in May 2018. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Levy in October 2018 as a Research Support Assistant. Her main research focus is the role of extracellular vesicles in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.

Steven DeRosa
845-398-5533 Steven.DeRosa@NKI.rfmh.org
Steven DeRosa graduated from Rutgers University, School of Engineering, New Brunswick, NJ with BS in May 2000. He is an Assistant Research Scientist maintaining and genotyping mouse models in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.

Pasquale D'Acunzo, PhD
845-398-6669 Pasquale.DAcunzo@NKI.rfmh.org
Dr. D'Acunzo graduated from the University of Milan, Milan, Italy with BS and MS and obtained his PhD from the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy. He joined the laboratory of Dr. Levy in July 2018 as an Assistant Research Scientist and a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center. Integrating his expertise in mitochondria functions and the laboratory’s focus on neurodegenerative disorders, he is investigating the release of mitochondrial proteins into the extracellular space of brains of Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome patients

Sasmita Das, PhD
845-398-6669 Sasmita.Das@NKI.rfmh.org
Dr. Das graduated from the Utkal University, India with BS, MS and PhD. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Levy in December 2017 as a Research Support Assistant. She is involved in maintenance, genotyping, as well as immunohistochemical and biochemical analyses of mouse models of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.

Tal Hargash
845-398-6669 Tal.Hargash@NKI.rfmh.org
Tal Hargash graduated from University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas TX with BS in May 2018. He joined the laboratory of Dr. Levy in September 2018 as a Research Support Assistant. His main research focus is the role of extracellular vesicles in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.

Yohan Kim, PhD
845-398-6669 Yohan.Kim@NKI.rfmh.org
Dr. Kim graduated from Jeju National University, Jeju, South Korea with BS, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA with MS, and obtained his PhD from the University of Iowa, Iowa, IA. He joined the laboratory of Dr. Levy in July 2018 as an Assistant Research Scientist and a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center. His main research interest is the role of extracellular vesicles in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.

Chelsea Miller
845-398-6669 Chelsea.Miller@NKI.rfmh.org
Chelsea Miller graduated from SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz, NY, with BS in May 2018. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Levy in June 2018 as a Research Support Assistant. Her main research focus is the role of extracellular vesicles in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.

Monika Pawlik, PhD
845-398-6664 Monika.Pawlik@NKI.rfmh.org
Dr. Pawlik graduated from University of Koln, Koln Germany with BS and obtained her PhD from the Freie University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany. She is the director of the Animal Core for the Program Project of Drs. Nixon, Ginsberg, Mathews, and Levy. She manages a large colony of mice essential to the research programs in the four laboratories, colonies that include transgenic and knockout mouse lines and complex crosses between these lines, mouse models of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.

 

Kathy Peng, PhD
845-398-5439 Kathy.Peng@NKI.rfmh.org
Dr. Peng graduated from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD with a BS and obtained her PhD from New York University Langone Medical center. She is an investigator in the laboratories of Drs. Levy and Mathews at the Center for Dementia Research and is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center. She is currently focusing on delineating the molecular mechanisms involved in the neuronal endosomal and exosomal changes in the brain of carriers of the apolipoprotein E4 gene, the greatest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, as compared with the neutral apolipoprotein E3 gene carriers.

Lital Rachmany Raber, PhD
845-398-6669 Lital.RachmanyRaber@NKI.rfmh.org
Dr. Rachmany Raber graduated from Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv, Israel with BS, and from Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel with MS and PhD. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Levy in July 2018 as an Assistant Research Scientist at the Center for Dementia Research and a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center. Her main research interest is the role of extracellular vesicles in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.