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Edward Daniel Levin

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine & Neurosciences
Box 104790, Durham, NC 27710
323 Foster St, Durham, NC 27701

Overview


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 learning 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 schizophrenia, Alzheimer's Disease and 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. 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.

Current Appointments & Affiliations


Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences · 2021 - Present Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine & Neurosciences, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Director, Integrated Toxicology Program · 1995 - Present School of Medicine
Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology · 1998 - Present Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, Basic Science Departments
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience · 2013 - Present Psychology & Neuroscience, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Professor in the Environmental Sciences and Policy Division · 2015 - Present Environmental Sciences and Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute · 1989 - Present Duke Cancer Institute, Institutes and Centers
Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences · 2008 - Present Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, University Institutes and Centers
Affiliate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society · 2014 - Present Duke Science & Society, Initiatives

Education, Training & Certifications


University of Wisconsin, Madison · 1984 Ph.D.