Faculty Profile

Dr. Matthew Levy, Ph.D.

Matthew Levy, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry

Professional Interests

My research interests lay in using biological, chemical and combinatorial approaches to understand fundamental biological interactions, as well as design novel diagnostics and therapeutics.  In particular, I am interested in developing component parts that can ultimately be integrated for applications in disease detection and targeted therapies.

Research in my lab will focus in two areas.  In the first, we will focus on utilizing a new technique, in vitrocompartmentalization (IVC), to engineer novel protein-ligand interactions, in particular the streptavidin-biotin couple.  We will then utilize the evolved proteins to better understand the nature of high affinity interactions.

In the second, we focus on developing new methods for the identification of cell and tissue specific targeting agents.  Of particular interest is the development of cell specific and cell surface receptor specific aptamers (nucleic acid based affinity agents).  These non-traditional affinity reagents hold great promise for the design of novel diagnostics and therapeutic agents.

Selected Publications

Research Articles


Wilner SE, Wengerter B, Maier K, Magalhães MdLB, Amo DSD, Pai S, Opazo F, Rizzoli SO, Yan A, and Levy M. (2012). An RNA alternative to human transferrin: a new tool for targeting human cells. Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids 2012, 1, e21.

Magalhaes ML, Byrom M, Yan A, Kelly L, Li N, Furtado R, Palliser D, Ellington AD, and Levy M. (2012). A general RNA motif for cellular transfection. Mol Ther 20, 616-24.

Magalhaes ML, Czekster CM, Guan R, Malashkevich VN, Almo SC, and Levy M. (2011). Evolved streptavidin mutants reveal key role of loop residue in high-affinity binding. Protein Sci 20, 1145-54.

Yan AC, Levy M  (2009)  Aptamers and aptamer targeted delivery. RNA Biology 6:3, 1-5.


Chu TC, Twu KY, Ellington AD, Levy M  (2006)  Aptamer mediated siRNA delivery. Nucleic Acids Res 34:e73

Chu TC, Marks JW, 3rd, Lavery LA, Faulkner S, Rosenblum MG, Ellington AD, Levy M  (2006)  Aptamer:Toxin Conjugates that Specifically Target Prostate Tumor Cells. Cancer Res 66:5989-92

Chu TC, Shieh F, Lavery LA, Levy M, Richards-Kortum R, Korgel BA, Ellington AD  (2006)  Labeling tumor cells with fluorescent nanocrystal-aptamer bioconjugates. Biosens Bioelectron 21:1859-66

Tabor JJ, Levy M, Ellington AD  (2006)  Deoxyribozymes that recode sequence information. Nucleic Acids Res 34:2166-72

Cho EJ, Yang L, Levy M, Ellington AD  (2005)  Using a deoxyribozyme ligase and rolling circle amplification to detect a non-nucleic acid analyte, ATP. J Am Chem Soc 127:2022-3

Collett JR, Cho EJ, Lee JF, Levy M, Hood AJ, Wan C, Ellington AD  (2005)  Functional RNA microarrays for high-throughput screening of antiprotein aptamers. Anal Biochem 338:113-23

Levskaya A, Chevalier AA, Tabor JJ, Simpson ZB, Lavery LA, Levy M, Davidson EA, Scouras A, Ellington AD, Marcotte EM, Voigt CA  (2005)  Synthetic biology: engineering Escherichia coli to see light. Nature 438:441-2

Levy M, Cater SF, Ellington AD  (2005)  Quantum-dot aptamer beacons for the detection of proteins. Chembiochem 6:2163-6

Levy M, Griswold KE, Ellington AD  (2005)  Direct selection of trans-acting ligase ribozymes by in vitro compartmentalization. Rna 11:1555-62

Pai S, Ellington AD, Levy M  (2005)  Proximity ligation assays with peptide conjugate 'burrs' for the sensitive detection of spores. Nucleic Acids Res 33:e162

Hughes RA, Robertson MP, Ellington AD, Levy M  (2004)  The importance of prebiotic chemistry in the RNA world. Curr Opin Chem Biol 8:629-33

Levy M, Ellington AD  (2003)  Peptide-templated nucleic Acid ligation. J Mol Evol 56:607-15

Levy M, Ellington AD  (2003)  Exponential growth by cross-catalytic cleavage of deoxyribozymogens. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 100:6416-21

Levy M, Ellington AD  (2002)  ATP-dependent allosteric DNA enzymes. Chem Biol 9:417-26

Levy M, Ellington AD  (2002)  In vitro selection of a deoxyribozyme that can utilize multiple substrates. J Mol Evol 54:180-90

Levy M, Ellington AD  (2001)  Selection of deoxyribozyme ligases that catalyze the formation of an unnatural internucleotide linkage. Bioorg Med Chem 9:2581-7

Nelson KE, Robertson MP, Levy M, Miller SL  (2001)  Concentration by evaporation and the prebiotic synthesis of cytosine. Orig Life Evol Biosph 31:221-9

Sooter LJ, Riedel T, Davidson EA, Levy M, Cox JC, Ellington AD  (2001)  Toward automated nucleic acid enzyme selection. Biol Chem 382:1327-34

Levy M, Miller SL, Brinton K, Bada JL  (2000)  Prebiotic synthesis of adenine and amino acids under Europa-like conditions. Icarus 145:609-13

Nelson KE, Levy M, Miller SL  (2000)  Peptide nucleic acids rather than RNA may have been the first genetic molecule. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 97:3868-71

Levy M, Miller SL  (1999)  The prebiotic synthesis of modified purines and their potential role in the RNA world. J Mol Evol 48:631-7

Levy M, Miller SL, Oro J  (1999)  Production of guanine from NH(4)CN polymerizations. J Mol Evol 49:165-8

Levy M, Miller SL  (1998)  The stability of the RNA bases: implications for the origin of life. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 95:7933-8

Robertson MP, Levy M, Miller SL  (1996)  Prebiotic synthesis of diaminopyrimidine and thiocytosine. J Mol Evol 43:543-50


Book Chapters and Commentaries

Hughes RA, Robertson MP, Ellington AD, Levy M  (2004)  The importance of prebiotic chemistry in the RNA world. Curr Opin Chem Biol 8:629-33

Levy M, Ellington AD  (2001)  The descent of polymerization. Nat Struct Biol 8:580-2          

Levy, M. and A. D. Ellington (2001). "RNA world: catalysis abets binding, but not vice versa." Curr Biol 11(16): R665-7.


Jasien PG, Miller SL, Levy M, Dworkin JP  (2001)  How could have life arisen on Earth? In: Lisensky G, Molinaro M (eds) Wiley Chem Connections. John Wiley & Sons

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Research Information