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Cathy W Levenson PhD

Cathy W Levenson PhD

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Research Associate, Molecular Nutrition, University of Florida
PhD, Dept of Medicine, University of Chicago, 1993
MS, Dept of Nutrition, Florida State University, 1988
BA, Neurobiology, University of Virginia, 1984


Director, FSU Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Endeavors

FSU University Service

Director, Office of Undergraduate Research (2008–2010).

Faculty Advisor, Jewish Student Union (2007–2010).

Chair, Apparel Licensing Committee (2000–2002).

Faculty Representative, Title IX Committee for Women's Participation in Sports (1999–2003).

Faculty Representative, Athletic Board (1999–2003).

Member, University Teaching Award Selection Committee (1999–2001).

Faculty Representative, Provost's Travel Award Committee (1996–1999).

Panel Chair, Faculty Grievance Committee (1995–present).

Faculty Representative, Tuition Refund Committee (1994–1997).

FSU College Service

Member, Curriculum Redesign Committee (2011–present).

Facutly Advisor, Learning Community of 30 first-year medical students, College of Medicine Learning Communities (2010–present).

Member, College of Medicine Curriculum Committee (2009–present).

Member, Year 1 and 2 Course Directors Committee (2009–present).

Chair, College of Human Sciences Associate Dean Search Committee (2004).

Member, College of Human Sciences Mission Task Force (1999).

NFES Representative, College of Human Sciences, Graduate Policy Committee (1996–2008).

Faculty Representative, College of Human Sciences Structuring for Productivity Committee (1996–1997).

Faculty Representative, College of Human Sciences, Faculty Affairs & Policy Committee (1995–1998).

FSU Department Service

Member, Faculty Development & Evaluation Committee (2010–present).

Chair, Mission Statement Revision Committee (2010–present).

Member, Dept of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty Recruitment Committee (2010–present).

Member, Dept Biomedical Sciences, Graduate Committee (2009–2011).

Chair (2 terms) and member, NFES, Dept Executive Committee (2000–2008).

Chair, Scholarship Committee (1996).

Chair, NFES, Graduate Policy Committee (1996–2008).

Member, Undergraduate Policy Committee (1993–1996).

FSU Institute or Center Service

Participating Faculty, Center for Advancing Nutrition & Exercise Research on Aging (2008–present).
FSU Program Service

Member, Graduate Training Committee, Program in Neuroscience (2007–present).

Member, Neuroscience Program Faculty Search Committees (2003–2006).

Member, Neuroscience Program Executive Committee (2002–2003).

Chair, Neuroscience Graduate Recruitment Committee (2002–2004).

Chair, Rushton Neuroscience Symposium Organizing Committee (2001–2002).


Honors Thesis Mentor Award (2008).
University Teaching Award (2005).
Teaching Incentive Program (TIP) Award (1997).
University Teaching Award, Florida State University (1996).
Future Leader Award, International Life Sciences Institute (1995). ($30,000).


Society for Neuroscience
American Society for Nutrition

Research Focus

The Levenson Lab investigates the role and regulation of adult stem cells in traumatic brain injury (TBI), with a particular interest in the all too common problem of TBI-associated depression. This work includes examination of the neural stem cell populations found in the adult hippocampus and subventricular zone, and extends to the use of adult human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) as a treatment for TBI. Using a well-established pre-clinical model and a full range of genomic, cellular, and behavioral approaches, we are showing that hMSC treatment and nutritional support (eg zinc and vitamin A) can prevent TBI-induced depression. We are also developing a comprehensive mechanistic model of how these interventions work at the level of gene expression and stem cell proliferation, survival, and neuronal differentiation.


Cope, E. C., Morris, D. R., & Levenson, C. W. (in press). Improving treatment and outcomes: An emerging role for zinc in traumatic brain injury. Nutrition Reviews, 5 pages.

Cope, E. C., Morris, D. R., Scrimgeour, A. G., & Levenson, C. W. (in press). Use of zinc as a treatment for traumatic brain injury in the rat: Effects on cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 7 pages.

Cope, E. C., Morris, D. R., Scrimgeour, A. G., Vanlandingham, J. W., & Levenson, C. W. (2011). Zinc supplementation provides behavioral resiliency in a rat model of traumatic brain injury. Physiology & Behavior, 104, 942-947.

Kuang, G. C., Allen, J. R., Baird, M. S., Hguyen, B. T., Zhang, L., Morgan, T. J., Levenson, C. W., Davidson, M. W., & Zhu, L. (2011). Balance between fluorescence enhancement and association affinity in fluorescent heteroditopic indicators for imagin zinc ion in living cells. Inorganic Chemistry, 17, 10493-504.

Schepkin, V. D., Bejarano, F. C., Morgan, T., Gower-Winter, S., Ozambela, M., Jr., & Levenson, C. W. (2011). In vivo magnetic resonance imaging of sodium and diffusion in rat glioma at 21.1 T. Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Jul 11, DOI:10.1002.

Cope, E. C., & Levenson, C. W. (2010). Role of zinc in the development and treatment of mood disorders. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 13, 685-690.

Rich, N. J., VanLandingham, J. W., Figueiroa, S. M., Seth, R., Corniola, R. S., Morgan, T., & Levenson, C. W. (2010). Chronic caloric restriction reduces tissue damage and improves spatial memory in a rat model of traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 88, 2933-2939.
The data reported in this paper show the efficacy of low calorie diets for increasing resiliency in the event of a traumatic brain injury. The first author was a graduate student. Levenson is the senior/corresponding author. VanLandingham is a junior colleague at FSU. Other co-authors are graduate students and post-docs who contributed to the work.

Figueirôa, SM and Levenson CW. Gestational vitamin D deficiency has long-term effects on the brain. Nutrition Reviews, 66: 276-279, 2008.

Corniola RS, Tassabehji, NM, Hare J, Sharma, G, Levenson CW. Zinc deficiency impairs neuronal precursor cell proliferation and induces apoptosis via p53-mediated mechanisms. Brain Research, 1237:52-61, 2008.

Tassabehji, NM, Corniola, RS, Alshingiti, A, Levenson, CW. Zinc deficiency induces depression-like symptoms in adult rats. Physiology & Behavior, 95:365-369.

Levenson, CW and Somers, RC. Nutritionally regulated biomarkers for breast cancer. Nutrition Reviews 66:163-166, 2008.

Levenson, CW and Rich, N. Eat less, live longer? New insights into the role of caloric restriction in the brain. Nutrition Reviews, 65:412-415, 2007.

Levenson, C.W. and Tassabehji, N.M. Role and regulation of copper and zinc transport proteins in the central nervous system. In: Handbook of Neurochemistry and Molecular Neurobiology. Eds. Lajtha, A, and Reith, MEA. 3rd Edition. pp 257-284, 2007.

Hooshmand S, Soung DY, Lucas EA, Madihally SV, Levenson CW, Arjmandi BH. Genistein reduces the production of proinflammatory molecules in human chondrocytes. J. Nutritional Biochemistry, 18:609-614, 2007.

Levenson, C.W. and Axelrad, D.M. Too Much of a Good Thing? Update on Fish Consumption and Mercury Exposure. Nutrition Reviews 64:139-45, 2006.

Levenson, CW. Zinc: The new antidepressant? Nutrition Reviews 64:39-42, 2006.

Blakemore, L., Levenson, C.W., Trombley, P.Q. Neuropeptide Y modulates excitatory synaptic transmission in the olfactory bulb. Neuroscience, 138:663-674, 2006.

Tassabehji, N.M, VanLandingham, J.W., Levenson, C.W. Copper alters the conformation and transcriptional activity of the tumor suppressor protein p53 in human Hep G2 cells. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 230:699-708, 2005.

VanLandingham, J.W., Tassabehji, N.M., Somers, R.C., Levenson, C.W. Expression Profiling of p53-Target Genes in Copper-Mediated Neuronal Apoptosis. NeuroMolecular Medicine, 7:311-324, 2005.

Levenson, CW. Trace metal regulation of neuronal apoptosis: from genes to behavior. Physiology and Behavior, 86:399-406, 2005.

Levenson, C.W. Zinc supplementation: neuroprotective or neurotoxic? Nutrition Reviews, 63:122-125, 2005.

Levenson, C.W. Cutler, R.G., Ladenheim, B., Cadet, J.L., Hare, J., Mattson, M.P. Role of dietary iron restriction in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease. Experimental Neurology, 190:506-514, 2004.

Levenson, C.W. and Tassabehji, N.M. Iron and ageing: An introduction to iron regulatory mechanisms. Ageing Research Reviews 3:251-263, 2004.

Evans, S.A., Overton, J.M., Alshingiti, A.M., Levenson, C.W. Regulation of metabolic rate and substrate utilization by zinc deficiency. Metabolism 56:727-732, 2004.