Research Summary

Research in the Levy laboratory is directed at understanding the interaction of viruses and the immune system in microbial pathogenesis. It focuses on HIV infection with the goal of designing novel antiviral therapies and an effective AIDS vaccine for which both innate and adaptive responses are needed. Biologic, serologic, and molecular characterization of several HIV-1 and HIV-2 strains has revealed their extensive heterogeneity and how viruses can evolve differently in the same individual in the immune system, bowel, and the brain. A major emphasis in the laboratory has been on anti-HIV innate immune responses. The research group is evaluating the role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC), the main producers of type 1 interferons. Studies are directed at understanding how HIV-infected cells induce interferon production from PDC and what cell surface molecules, including toll-like receptors (TLR), are involved in this process. An important potent innate response we have discovered is the ability of CD8+ lymphocytes to suppress HIV replication without killing the cells. This novel CD8+ cell noncytotoxic antiviral response (CNAR) is mediated by an as yet unidentified, natural CD8+ cell antiviral factor (CAF) that blocks HIV transcription. In summary, the Levy laboratory has been conducting studies to identify CAF through RNA Seq procedures, to determine the best strategy for an AIDS vaccine and to use genetically modified stem cell approaches towards a potential HIV cure.

Research Funding

  • March 6, 2017 - February 28, 2020 - Characterization of a New Anti-HIV Immune Protein , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH/NIAID, Sponsor Award ID: R21AI129685
  • May 1, 2014 - April 30, 2018 - HIV Cure with CCr5 (-) Human IPS Hematopoietic Stem Cells , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01AI102825
  • March 1, 1982 - May 31, 2015 - Bio-Organic Biomedical Mass Spectrometry Resource , Co-Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: P41RR001614
  • June 7, 2012 - August 31, 2013 - HIV cure with CCR5 (-) human IPS hematopoietic stem cells , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R56AI102825


Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, BA, 1960, Biology
Universite de Paris, France, 1961, Regeneration
Columbia University, New York, MD, 1965, Medicine and Virology

Honors & Awards

  • UCSF 150th Anniversary Alumni Award, University of California, San Francisco, 2015
  • Gold Medal for Excellence in Medical Research, Columbia University, 2008
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2004
  • Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology, 2003
  • UCSF 45th Faculty Research Lecturer, University of California, San Francisco, 2002
  • Doctor of Science Honorary Degree, Wesleyan University, 1996
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993

Selected Publications

  1. Morvan MG, Teque F, Ye L, Moreno ME, Wang J, VandenBerg S, Stoddart CA, Kan YW, Levy JA. Genetically edited CD34+ cells derived from human iPS cells in vivo but not in vitro engraft and differentiate into HIV-resistant cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 05 18; 118(20).  View on PubMed
  2. Morvan MG, Teque FC, Locher CP, Levy JA. The CD8+ T Cell Noncytotoxic Antiviral Responses. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2021 05 19; 85(2).  View on PubMed
  3. Levy JA, Coutinho RA, Saag MS. AIDS new editor announcement. AIDS. 2020 11 15; 34(14):1995.  View on PubMed
  4. Levy JA. The need to reassess our approaches at HIV cure and prevention. AIDS. 2020 11 15; 34(14):2141-2143.  View on PubMed
  5. Ye L, Wang J, Teque F, Xie F, Tan Y, Kan YW, Levy JA. Generation of HIV-1-infected patients' gene-edited induced pluripotent stem cells using feeder-free culture conditions. AIDS. 2020 07 01; 34(8):1127-1139.  View on PubMed
  6. Teque F, Ye L, Xie F, Wang J, Morvan MG, Kan YW, Levy JA. Genetically-edited induced pluripotent stem cells derived from HIV-1-infected patients on therapy can give rise to immune cells resistant to HIV-1 infection. AIDS. 2020 07 01; 34(8):1141-1149.  View on PubMed
  7. Hecht FM, Moskowitz JT, Moran P, Epel ES, Bacchetti P, Acree M, Kemeny ME, Mendes WB, Duncan LG, Weng H, Levy JA, Deeks SG, Folkman S. A randomized, controlled trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction in HIV infection. Brain Behav Immun. 2018 10; 73:331-339.  View on PubMed
  8. Levy JA, Murphy EL. Schwab M (ed.) Encyclopedia of Cancer. Human T-Lymphotropic Virus. 2017; 3:2146 - 2149.  View on PubMed
  9. Blazek D, Teque F, Mackewicz C, Peterlin M, Levy JA. The CD8+ cell non-cytotoxic antiviral response affects RNA polymerase II-mediated human immunodeficiency virus transcription in infected CD4+ cells. J Gen Virol. 2016 Jan; 97(1):220-224.  View on PubMed
  10. Levy JA. Discovery of another anti-HIV protein in the search for the CD8+ cell anti-HIV Factor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jun 30; 112(26):7888-9.  View on PubMed
  11. Levy JA. Dispelling myths and focusing on notable concepts in HIV pathogenesis. Trends Mol Med. 2015 Jun; 21(6):341-53.  View on PubMed
  12. Roff SR, Sanou MP, Rathore MH, Levy JA, Yamamoto JK. Conserved epitopes on HIV-1, FIV and SIV p24 proteins are recognized by HIV-1 infected subjects. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2015; 11(6):1540-56.  View on PubMed
  13. Ye L, Wang J, Beyer AI, Teque F, Cradick TJ, Qi Z, Chang JC, Bao G, Muench MO, Yu J, Levy JA, Kan YW. Seamless modification of wild-type induced pluripotent stem cells to the natural CCR5Δ32 mutation confers resistance to HIV infection. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 01; 111(26):9591-6.  View on PubMed
  14. Venditto VJ, Wieczorek L, Molnar S, Teque F, Landucci G, Watson DS, Forthal D, Polonis VR, Levy JA, Szoka FC. Chemically modified peptides based on the membrane-proximal external region of the HIV-1 envelope induce high-titer, epitope-specific nonneutralizing antibodies in rabbits. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2014 Aug; 21(8):1086-93.  View on PubMed
  15. Sanou MP, Roff SR, Mennella A, Sleasman JW, Rathore MH, Yamamoto JK, Levy JA. Evolutionarily conserved epitopes on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and feline immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptases detected by HIV-1-infected subjects. J Virol. 2013 Sep; 87(18):10004-15.  View on PubMed
  16. Liu L, Wang L, Huang L, Siu V, Teque F, Aweeka FT, Levy JA. Nevirapine inhibits the anti-HIV activity of CD8+ cells. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 Jun 01; 63(2):184-8.  View on PubMed
  17. Kaushik S, Teque F, Patel M, Fujimura SH, Schmidt B, Levy JA. Plasmacytoid dendritic cell number and responses to Toll-like receptor 7 and 9 agonists vary in HIV Type 1-infected individuals in relation to clinical state. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2013 Mar; 29(3):501-10.  View on PubMed
  18. Ippolito G, Levy JA, Sonnerborg A, Mugusi F, Dianzani F. AIDS and HIV Infection after Thirty Years. AIDS Res Treat. 2013; 2013:731983.  View on PubMed
  19. Sanou MP, De Groot AS, Murphey-Corb M, Levy JA, Yamamoto JK. HIV-1 Vaccine Trials: Evolving Concepts and Designs. Open AIDS J. 2012; 6:274-88.  View on PubMed
  20. Levy JA, Levy Y. HIV infection: what should be considered in approaches for a cure? AIDS. 2012 Nov 13; 26(17):2253-5.  View on PubMed

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