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Boaz Levi Headshot

Boaz P. Levi, Ph.D.

Associate Investigator


Boaz Levi is an Associate Investigator in the Human Cell Types group at the Allen Institute where he is working to develop prospective and retrospective techniques to characterize adult human neocortical cell types. Dr. Levi joined the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2011 as a Scientist in the in vitro human cell types group where he implemented single cell transcriptomic techniques to characterize neural cell types produced from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), and to compare them to primary human neocortical cells. Dr. Levi joined the Allen Institute for Brain Science after a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Sean J. Morrison at the University of Michigan, where he studied the genetic and physiological mechanisms that control hematopoietic and neural stem cell self-renewal in mice. Dr. Levi earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Stanford University in the laboratory of Mark A. Krasnow, where he worked to identify and characterize genetic pathways required for the development of the Drosophila tracheal system. Prior to his graduate studies, Dr. Levi earned a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Oregon, and studied vesicular transport in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the lab of Tom Stevens.

Research Focus:

The Applied Genomics team works on projects in the Cell Type program, where the goal is to define the diversity of cell types in the mouse and human brains.  Multimodal techniques must be used to correlate the transcriptomically-defined cell types with structural, physiological and functional neuronal properties.  Dr. Levi’s team is involved in establishing both prospective and retrospective methods for identifying cell types at the Allen Institute.  These techniques include multiplexed FISH and Patch-seq for retrospective marking of cell types, and building live-cell viral reporters to prospectively mark and manipulate transcriptomically-defined cell types in mouse and human tissues. Dr. Levi’s team was also involved in the characterization of neural cell types differentiated from human embryonic stem cells. hESC-derived forebrain excitatory, inhibitory, and mid/hindbrain cell types, and their lineages were characterized by single cell RNA-Seq. Those cell types were compared to single cells form primary human fetal cells to determine genes that were conserved or divergent in the hESC derived cell types.  This work helped establish more precisely what cell types are generated in some of the most commonly used neural differentiation protocols, and what cell types these culture systems succeed and fail to model.

Science Programs at Allen Institute