Judith R. Levine

Professor, Biological Sciences and Chemistry (1992)

Hoffberger Science Building 222
410-337-6525
jlevin@goucher.edu


Education

A.B., Biochemical Sciences, Harvard University, 1979
Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 1985
Postdoctoral Training , University of California, San Francisco and the Johns Hopkins University


Areas of Scholarly Expertise and Interest

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology


Biography

Professor Levine's research focuses on the enzyme RNA polymerase (RNAP), which binds to DNA and moves along it, transcribing the genetic information in the DNA into a corresponding RNA molecule. The structure of RNAP and its complexes with DNA and RNA are relatively recently known, but much remains to be learned about the mechanics, dynamics and regulation of this structure as the enzyme progresses along a DNA template during elongation of an RNA transcript. Using gel electrophoresis to monitor the growth of RNA transcripts in vitro by E. coli RNA polymerase, Dr. Levine's lab studies the effects of changes in DNA sequence and structure, of mutations in RNA polymerase, and of interactions with accessory protein factors on the elongation process, with the ultimate goal of understanding how this biological "machine" may be regulated to affect gene expression in living cells.

Dr. Levine's research has been supported by grants from NIH and Research Corporation, as well as by Goucher College, and she has mentored more than 25 Goucher undergraduates in her research lab, many of whom have gone on to Ph.D. programs or medical school.  Dr. Levine's students regularly present their research at regional scientific meetings and some have attended national conferences on nucleic acid biochemistry.  

Jointly appointed in the departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry, Dr. Levine teaches courses in each of these departments, has served as chair of each department, and is also co-chair of the interdepartmental program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  

Dr. Levine also enjoys playing the violin and performs regularly with the Goucher College Orchestra.


Representative Publications

Wang Q, Tullius TD and Levin JR (2007) Effects of discontinuities in the DNA template on abortive initiation and promoter escape by Escherichia coli RNA Polymerase. J. Biol. Chem. 282: 26,917-26,927.

Levin JR, Blake JJ, Ganunis RA and Tullius TD (2000) The roles of specific template nucleosides in the formation of stable transcription complexes by Escherichia coli RNA Polymerase. J. Biol. Chem. 275: 6,885-6,893.


Invited Lectures/Presentations at Professional Meetings

Studies of Structure-Function Relationships in Transcriptional Pausing by Escherichia coli RNA Polymerase, 16th Annual UMBC Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences, Catonsville, MD (with *J Nguyen and *L Ojeda) 2013

Investigation of Downstream DNA Effects on Elongational Pausing by E. coli RNA Polymerase, 12th Annual UMBC Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences, Catonsville, MD (with *C Lanka, *R Khanchandani, and *C. Crook) 2009

The Effect of A-Tract-Induced DNA Bending on Transcriptional Elongation by E. coli RNA Polymerase, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Conference on "Mechanisms and Regulation of Prokaryotic Transcription," Saxtons River, VT, June 21-26, 2009 (with *C Lanka, *L Marino, M Palangat and R Landick)

The Effect of A-Tract-Induced DNA Bending on Transcriptional Elongation by E. coli RNA Polymerase, 11th Annual UMBC Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences, Catonsville, MD (with *C Lanka and *L Marino) 2008

Effects of A-Tract-Directed DNA Bending on Transcriptional Elongation by Escherichia coli RNA Polymerase, FASEB Conference on "Mechanisms & Regulation of Prokaryotic Transcription," Saxtons River, VT, June 23-28, 2007 (poster, with *V Tucker)

Effect of Single Nucleoside Template Gaps on Abortive Initiation and Promoter Escape by E. coli RNA Polymerase, FASEB Conference on "Mechanisms & Regulation of Prokaryotic Transcription," Saxtons River, VT, June 18-23, 2005 (poster, with Q Wang and T Tullius)

* undergraduate student co-authors


Recent Student Research Projects

Studies of Structure-Function Relationships in Transcriptional Pausing by Escherichia coli RNA Polymerase - Julia Nguyen '15 and Laura Ojeda '15

Use of Nucleotide Analogs to Analyze the Effect of a Downstream A-tract on Transcriptional Pausing by E. coli RNA Polymerase In Vitro - Amanda Lee '12

Use of Sequence Swapping to Dissect the Effect of Downstream Sequences on Transcriptional
Pausing by E. coli RNA Polymerase In Vitro - Reema Khanchandani '11

Role of the Non-template Strand in the Effect of a Downstream A-tract on Transcriptional Pausing by E. coli RNA Polymerase In Vitro - Chandana Lanka '10

Use of Site-Directed Mutagenesis to Construct a Mutant E. coli RNA Polymerase Altered in a Region that Contacts Downstream DNA - Laura Marino '09


Awards/Significant Accomplishments

NIH R15 (AREA) Research Grant, $150,000, "The Effect of DNA Bending on Transcriptional Elongation by E. coli RNA Polymerase," 2007-2010

NIH American Recovery & Reinvestment Act Administrative Supplement, $69,439, "The Effect of DNA Bending on Transcriptional Elongation by E. coli RNA Polymerase," 2009-2010

Research Corporation Cottrell College Science Award, $34,000, "Chemical footprinting studies of transcriptional elongation by E. coli RNA polymerase," 1992-1994


Courses Taught

Cell Biology and Biochemistry
Techniques in Cell Biology
Techniques in Genetics and Molecular Biology
Seminar in Mechanisms of Aging and Cancer
General Chemistry Laboratory
Biochemistry I
Biochemistry II (Gene Expression)
Techniques in Biochemistry Lab


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