Team

Staff Profiles

Boaz P. Levi, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator, Applied Genomics

boazl@alleninstitute.org

Boaz Levi is an Assistant 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.

News Highlights

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Research

Research Interests

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.

Expertise

  • Single-cell transcriptomics
  • Viral reporters
  • Human cortical development and lineage
  • Neural differentiation of hESCs
  • Stem cell biology
  • Genetics

Research Programs

  • Cell Types
  • Human Genetic Tools
  • Patch-seq
  • Multiplexed FISH
  • Flow Cytometry Core
  • in vitro Human Cell Types (formerly)

Selected Publications View on PUBMED

Conserved cell types with divergent features in human versus mouse cortex

Nature
August 21, 2019

Hodge RD, Bakken TE, Miller JA, Smith KA, Barkan ER, Graybuck LT, Close JL, Long B, Johansen N, Penn O, Yao Z, Eggermont J, Höllt T, Levi BP, Shehata SI, Aevermann B, Beller A, Bertagnolli D, Brouner K, Casper T, Cobbs C, Dalley R, Dee N, Ding SL, Ellenbogen RG, Fong O, Garren E, Goldy J, Gwinn RP, Hirschstein D, Keene CD, Keshk M, Ko AL, Lathia K, Mahfouz A, Maltzer Z, McGraw M, Nguyen TN, Nyhus J, Ojemann JG, Oldre A, Parry S, Reynolds S, Rimorin C, Shapovalova NV, Somasundaram S, Szafer A, Thomsen ER, Tieu M, Quon G, Scheuermann RH, Yuste R, Sunkin SM, Lelieveldt B, Feng D, Ng L, Bernard A, Hawrylycz M, Phillips JW, Tasic B, Zeng H, Jones AR, Koch C, Lein ES

Epigenetic landscape and AAV targeting of human neocortical cell classes

bioRxiv
February 19, 2019

Mich JK, Hess EE, Graybuck LT, Somasundaram S, Miller JA, Ding Y, Shapovalova NV, Fong O, Yao S, Mortrud M, Chong P, Bertagnolli D, Goldy J, Casper T, Kroll M, Hodge RD, Bakken TE, Yao Z, Dee N, Cetin A, Smith KA, Gwinn RP, Cobbs C, Ko AL, Ojemann JG, Keene CD, Silbergeld DL, Gradinaru V, Sunkin SM, Zeng H, Lein ES, Tasic B, Ting JT, Levi BP

Shared and distinct transcriptomic cell types across neocortical areas

Nature
October 31, 2018

Tasic B, Yao Z, Graybuck LT, Smith KA, Nguyen TN, Bertagnolli D, Goldy J, Garren E, Economo MN, Viswanathan S, Penn O, Bakken T, Menon V, Miller J, Fong O, Hirokawa KE, Lathia K, Rimorin C, Tieu M, Larsen R, Casper T, Barkan E, Kroll M, Parry S, Shapovalova NV, Hirschstein D, Pendergraft J, Sullivan HA, Kim TK, Szafer A, Dee N, Groblewski P, Wickersham I, Cetin A, Harris JA, Levi BP, Sunkin SM, Madisen L, Daigle TL, Looger L, Bernard A, Phillips J, Lein E, Hawrylycz M, Svoboda K, Jones AR, Koch C, Zeng H

A Single-Cell Roadmap of Lineage Bifurcation in Human ESC Models of Embryonic Brain Development

Cell Stem Cell
October 27, 2016

Yao Z, Mich JK, Ku S, Menon V, Krostag A-R, Martinez RA, Furchtgott L, Mulholland H, Bort S, Fuqua MA, Gregor BW, Hodge RD, Jayabalu A, May RC, Melton S, Nelson AM, Ngo NK, Shapovalova NV, Shehata SI, Smith MW, Tait LJ, Thompson CL, Thomsen ER, Ye C, Glass IA, Kaykas A, Yao S, Phillips JW, Grimley JS, Levi BP, Wang Y, Ramanathan S

Fixed single-cell transcriptomic characterization of human radial glial diversity

Nature Methods
November 16, 2015

Thomsen ER, Mich JK, Yao Z, Hodge RD, Doyle AM, Jang S, Shehata SI, Nelson AM, Shapovalova NV, Levi BP, Ramanathan S

CORTECON: A Temporal Transcriptome Analysis of In Vitro Human Cerebral Cortex Development from Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Neuron
July 2, 2014

van de Leemput J, Boles NC, Kiehl TR, Corneo B, Lederman P, Menon V, Lee C, Martinez RA, Levi BP, Thompson CL, Yao S, Kaykas A, Temple S, Fasano CA

Oestrogen increases haematopoietic stem-cell self-renewal in females and during pregnancy

Nature
January 23, 2014

Nakada D, Oguro H, Levi BP, Ryan N, Kitano A, Saitoh Y, Takeichi M, Wendt GR, Morrison SJ

Prdm16 promotes stem cell maintenance in multiple tissues, partly by regulating oxidative stress

Nature Cell Biology
October 2010

Chuikov S, Levi BP, Smith ML and Morrison SJ

Team

Dr. Levi directs the Applied Genomics group and manages the Allen Institute for Brain Science Flow Cytometry Core.