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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.


Darkazalli A, Vied C, Badger CD, Levenson CW. Human mesenchymal stem cell treatment normalizes cortical gene expression after traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma. 2017 Jan 1;34(1):204-212. Darkazalli A, Ismail AA, Abad N, Grant SC, Levenson CW. Use of human mesenchymal stem cell treatment to prevent anhedonia in a rat model of traumatic brain injury. Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2016 Apr 11;34(3):433-41. Cope EC, Morris DR, Gower-Winter SD, Brownstein NC, Levenson CW. (2016) Effect of zinc supplementation on neuronal precursor proliferation in the rat hippocampus after traumatic brain injury. Experimental Neurology. 279:96-103, 2016. Seth R, Corniola RS, Gower-Winter SD, Morgan TJ Jr, Bishop B, Levenson CW. (2015) Zinc deficiency induces apoptosis via mitochondrial p53- and caspase-dependent pathways in human neuronal precursor cells. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 30:59-65 Gower-Winter SD, Corniola RS, Morgan, TJ, Levenson, CW. (2013) Zinc deficiency regulates hippocampal gene expression and impairs neuronal differentiation. Nutr Neuroscience.16:174-82. Morris DR and Levenson CW. (2013). Zinc Regulation of Transcriptional Activity during Retinoic Acid-Induced Neuronal Differentiation. Nutr Biochemistry. 24:1940-1944. Cope EC, Morris, DR, Levenson, CW. (2012). Improving treatment and outcomes: An emerging role for zinc in traumatic brain injury. Nutrition Reviews. 70:410-3. Cope EC, Morris DR, Scrimgeour AG, Levenson CW. (2012). Use of zinc as a treatment for traumatic brain injury in the rat: Effects on cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. 26:907-13. Gower-Winter, SD and Levenson, CW. (2012) Zinc in the central nervous system: From molecules to behavior. BioFactors. 38:186-93. Levenson, CW and Morris, DR (2012) Zinc and neurogenesis: Making new neurons from development to adulthood. Advances in Nutrition. 2:96-100. 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. Morris, DR and Levenson, CW (2012) Ion Channels and Zinc: Mechanisms of Neurotoxicity and Neurodegeneration. J. Toxicology 2012:785647. doi: 10.1155/2012/785647. 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.