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Aaron Levy, PhD

Academic Title:

Research Associate

Primary Appointment:



660 W Redwood St, HH582

Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

My primary research interests lie in understanding how the interplay between the organization and function of synaptic proteins can support neuronal functions such as learning and memory, and how disruption of these mechanisms underlies psychiatric disease. I graduated from the University of Rochester with a BS in Neuroscience in 2011, where I worked in the lab of Dr. Ania Majewska studying how synapses in primary sensory cortices are changed by sensory deprivation of another modality. I obtained a PhD in Neuroscience from Yale University in 2017, where I studied novel mechanisms of NMDA receptor regulation by protein tyrosine kinases and phosphatases with Dr. Anthony Koleske. I then joined the lab of Dr. Thomas Blanpied at University of Maryland, Baltimore as a postdoctoral researcher, investigating the nanostructural organization of synaptic proteins. I have been a research associate in Dr. Blanpied's lab since 2021, continuing my research on the nanostructure of NMDA receptor subtypes, as well as the differential nanostructure at different types of excitatory synapses. I have extensive training in confocal (live and fixed) and single-molecule super-resolution (DNA-PAINT and dSTORM) microscopy and image analysis, immunocytochemistry, molecular biology and cloning techniques, protein biochemistry, western blotting, cell line and primary neuron culture, and mouse husbandry.

Research/Clinical Keywords

confocal microscopy, super-resolution microscopy, DNA-PAINT, synapse organization, neuronal cell biology, molecular biology, NMDA receptors, parvalbumin interneuron, nanostructure

Highlighted Publications

Levy AD*, Xiao X*, Shaw JE, Sudarsana Devi SP, Katrancha SM, Bennett AM, Greer CA, Howe JR, Machida K, Koleske AJ. Noonan Syndrome-Associated SHP2 Dephosphorylates GluN2B to Regulate NMDA Receptor Function. Cell Rep. 2018 Aug 7;24(6):1523-1535. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.07.006. PMID: 30089263; PMCID: PMC6234505.


Xiao X, Levy AD, Rosenberg BJ, Higley MJ, Koleske AJ. Disruption of Coordinated Presynaptic and Postsynaptic Maturation Underlies the Defects in Hippocampal Synapse Stability and Plasticity in Abl2/Arg-Deficient Mice. J Neurosci. 2016 Jun 22;36(25):6778-91. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4092-15.2016. PMID: 27335408; PMCID: PMC4916252.


Levy AD*, Omar MH*, Koleske AJ. Extracellular matrix control of dendritic spine and synapse structure and plasticity in adulthood. Front Neuroanat. 2014 Oct 20;8:116. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2014.00116. PMID: 25368556; PMCID: PMC4202714.

Additional Publication Citations

Miller MB, Yan Y, Machida K, Kiraly DD, Levy AD, Wu YI, Lam TT, Abbott T, Koleske AJ, Eipper BA, Mains RE. Brain Region and Isoform-Specific Phosphorylation Alters Kalirin SH2 Domain Interaction Sites and Calpain Sensitivity. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2017 Jul 19;8(7):1554-1569. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.7b00076. Epub 2017 Apr 25. PMID: 28418645; PMCID: PMC5517348.


Matsumoto Y, La Rose J, Kent OA, Wagner MJ, Narimatsu M, Levy AD, Omar MH, Tong J, Krieger JR, Riggs E, Storozhuk Y, Pasquale J, Ventura M, Yeganeh B, Post M, Moran MF, Grynpas MD, Wrana JL, Superti-Furga G, Koleske AJ, Pendergast AM, Rottapel R. Reciprocal stabilization of ABL and TAZ regulates osteoblastogenesis through transcription factor RUNX2. J Clin Invest. 2016 Dec 1;126(12):4482-4496. doi: 10.1172/JCI87802. Epub 2016 Oct 31. PMID: 27797343; PMCID: PMC5127668.


McClure-Begley TD, Papke RL, Stone KL, Stokes C, Levy AD, Gelernter J, Xie P, Lindstrom J, Picciotto MR. Rare human nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α4 subunit (CHRNA4) variants affect expression and function of high-affinity nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2014 Mar;348(3):410-20. doi: 10.1124/jpet.113.209767. Epub 2014 Jan 2. PMID: 24385388; PMCID: PMC3935145.


Bogart LJ, Levy AD, Gladstone M, Allen PD, Zettel M, Ison JR, Luebke AE, Majewska AK. Loss of prestin does not alter the development of auditory cortical dendritic spines. Neural Plast. 2011;2011:305621. doi: 10.1155/2011/305621. Epub 2011 May 15. PMID: 21773053; PMCID: PMC3134106.

Grants and Contracts

F32-MH119687 "Dissecting pre- vs postsynaptic actin dynamics in synapse structure and strength"

F31-MH105403 "Integrin-Arg-SHP2 signaling regulates NMDAR function and neuron morphology"