Welcome to the Levine Lab

Quantitative Systems Biology

Coordination of response to environmental cues

Biological systems are interacting composite systems at all scales, from macromolecules to cells to communities. Our lab combines experiments and theory to understand how these collectives coordinate and execute their response to environmental conditions.

Small RNA

Small RNAs are abundant post-transcriptional regulators. We study molecular determinants of small RNA function and identify regulatory strategies.


Host-Pathogen Interactions

We study the interactions between worms and bacterial pathogen across scales, from in-host bacterial population dynamics to collective avoidance behavior of worms.


Stress response

Coordination of molecular and physiological response to changes in the environment  requires integration of neuronal and molecular signaling



Erel Levine

Kyung Suk Lee

Hamid Teimouri

Andrzej Nowojewski

Quantitative Systems Biology

Regulation of food uptake
Pathogen-host interactions

Organismic stress response

Pathogen-host interactions

elevine at fas.harvard.edu

klee04 at fas.harvard.edu

teimouri at physics.harvard.edu

nowojewski at physics.harvard.edu

Lucy Eunju Lee

Neil Peterman

Erin Dahlstrom

Hubert Voilquin

Pathogen-host interactions

Small regultory RNAs

Organismic stress response

Evolutionary Game Theory

Pathogen-host interactions

elee at fas.harvard.edu

peterman at physics.harvard.edu

erin.dahlstrom at gmail.com

hubertvoilquin at fas.harvard.edu


Here is a list of some of our recent publications

Molecular interactions

  • H. Teimouri, E. Korkmazhan, J. Stavans, and E. Levine, Sub-cellular mRNA localization modulates the regulation of gene expression by small RNAs in bacteria. (in submission)
  • E. Korkmazhan, H. Teimouri, N. Peterman, and E. Levine, The dynamics of translation can determine the spatial organization of membrane-bound proteins and their mRNA. (in submission)
  • A. Bitran, W.Y. Chiang, E. Levine, and M. Prentiss, Mechanisms of fast and stringent search in homologous pairing of double-stranded DNA. PLoS Comp Bio (2017).
  • N. Peterman and E. Levine, Sort-seq under the hood: implications of design choices on large-scale characterization of sequence-function relations. BMC Genomics 17 206 (2016).
  • H.-T Hsu, H.-M.Chen, A. Burger, Z.Y. Yang, K. Zaret, T. Liu, E. Levine, and S.E. Mango, Recruitment of RNA Polymerase II by the pioneer transcription factor PHA-4, Science 348 1372 (2015).
  • N. Peterman, A. Lavi-Itzkovitz and E. Levine, Large-scale mapping of sequence-function relations in small regulatory RNAs reveals plasticity and modularity, Nucl. Acids. Res. 42, 12177 (2014).
  • B. Obermayer and E. Levine, Inverse Ising inference with correlated samples, New Journal of Physics, 16, 123017 (2014).
  • B. Obermayer and E. Levine, Exploring the miRNA regulatory network using evolutionary correlations, PLoS Comput Biol 10, e1003860 (2014).
  • A. Lavi-Itzkovitz, D. Jost, and E. Levine, Quantitative Effect of Target Translation on Small RNA Efficacy Reveals a Novel Mode of Interaction, Nucl. Acids. Res. 42, 12200 (2014).
  • D. Jost, A. Nowojewski, and E. Levine, Regulating the many to benefit the few: role of weak small RNA targets. Biophys. J. 104, 1773–1782. (2013)
  • H. Toledano, C. D’Alterio, E. Levine, and D.L. Jones. The let-7-Imp axis regulates ageing of the Drosophila testis stem-cell niche. Nature 485(7400):605-10 (2012).
  • E. Levine, “srRNAs”, in Encyclopedia of Genetics, 2nd Ed. (Elsevir, Oxford 2012).

Host-Pathogen interactions

  • L. E. Lee, K. S Lee, J. Irazoquoi, and E. Levine, High-order organization of the C. elegans host response links glutamatergic neurotransmission and host tolerance of infection.(in submission)
  • A. Nowojewski, L. Lee and E. Levine, Pathogen avoidance by Caenorhabditis elegans is a pheromone-mediated collective behavior. (in submission)
  • K.S. Lee, L.E. Lee, and E. Levine, HandKAchip - Hands-free killing assay on a chip. Sci Rep 6 35862 (2016).

Response to environmental cues

  • K. S. Lee, D. Biron, and E. Levine, The role of serotonin in the regulation of feeding revealed through mapping to a Brownian-like motion on the feeding-rate axis. (in submission)
  • R. Kopito, K. Watkins and E. Levine, Heat shock response of the insulin/IGF-1 pathway integrates local and systemic signals.
  • K.S. Lee, S. Iwanir, R. Kopito, D. Biron and E. Levine, Regulation of food uptake by serotonin-dependent balance between two modes of feeding. Nature Comm 8, 14221 (2017).
  • M. Scholz, D.J. Lynch, K.S Lee, E. Levine, D. Biron, A scalable method for automatically measuring pharyngeal pumping in C. elegans. J Neurosci Methods. S0165-0270 (2016).
  • Iwanir, A.S Brown A. Kazakov, K.S. Lee, A. Zaslaver, E. Levine and D. Biron, Serotonin promotes exploitation in complex environments by accelerating decision-making. BMC Biology 14 9 (2016).
  • I. Neagu and E. Levine, A Primer on Quantitative Modeling, Methods Mol Biol. 1327 241 (2015).
  • R. Kopito and E. Levine, Durable spatiotemporal surveillance of Caenorhabditis elegans response to environmental cues, Lab on Chip 21, 14 (2014).






Positions are available for students from a wide range of backgrounds including physics and biophysics, molecular/cell/evolutionary/systems biology, engineering, and biochemistry. Theorists and experimentalists are both welcome. Interested current and prospective students are encouraged to contact Erel Levine to discuss possibilities



Undergradugte students who would like to spend some time in our lab, pursue a research project, or help us out are particularly welcomed. Please contact Erel Levine to discuss possibilities.

You are also more than welcome to join our monthly discussion group.


Harvard University is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from members of under-represented groups.


Experiment: Postdoc positions are available for researchers with  a wide variety of backgrounds in the biological sciences, biophysics and bioengineering. Experience with worms is an advantage but not required. Please contact Erel Levine with your CV and interests.


Theory: Postdocs with background in quantitative sciences, who have genuine interest in biological questions, are very welcomed, although our funds are currently limited. Please contact Erel Levine to discuss possibilities.

Erel's office hours are Tuesdays 5-7pm. Please stop by to discuss classes, learn about what we do, and chat about science and life. Students in my classes are welcome always.

Lab: Northwest Labs, room 256

52 Oxford St, Cambridge MA 02138


Offices: Lyman Labs, room 417

17 Oxford St,  Cambridge MA 02138


Erel Levine's Office:  Lyman Labs, room 341

17 Oxford St,  Cambridge MA 02138

Phone 617-495-3735

email: elevine at fas.harvard.edu


Administrative assistant:

Dionne Clarke

Jefferson Labs, room 246

17 Oxford St,  Cambridge MA 02138

Phone 617-384-6578

email: dlclarke at fas.harvard.edu

Available Positions