Simon Levy, PhD

Emeritus Professor, Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics

Simon Levy


Expertise on calcium signalling in nerve cells. In most nerve cells, transient increases in intracellular free calcium concentrations (Cai) are caused primarily by influx through voltage-dependent calcium channels. Second messengers like inositol trisphosphate (InsP3) or calcium also have the ability to increase Cai through release from intracellular stores, or gating of calcium channels.

The long-term goal of this laboratory is to investigate mechanisms by which second messengers modulate the excitability of nerve cells by controlling their membrane permeability. We have developed suitable technologies: i) to measure single-channel activities ii) to simultaneously measure changes in intracellular calcium and membrane currents; iii) to pressure-inject pharmacological agents to investigate putative pathways involved in neuronal excitability. The combination of these electrophysiological and pharmacological techniques have proven useful in gathering new and important information about nerve cell function.

There are four main projects:

1. Intracellular calcium regulation and detection in nerve cells. Effects of second messengers on internal calcium and membrane currents in nerve cells.
2. Role of calcium-induced calcium release in the excitability of the peptidergic neurons of Aplysia californica.
3. Role of calcium and Inositol Trisphosphate in phototransduction in Limulus photoreceptors.
4. Genetic Dissociation of phototransduction in Drosophila photoreceptors.

Other Positions

  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, Boston University
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences


  • Boston University, PhD
  • University of Geneva, MA
  • École d'ingénieurs de Genève, BS


  • Published on 8/2/2006

    Kachoei BA, Knox RJ, Uthuza D, Levy S, Kaczmarek LK, Magoski NS. A store-operated Ca(2+) influx pathway in the bag cell neurons of Aplysia. J Neurophysiol. 2006 Nov; 96(5):2688-98. PMID: 16885525.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/2000

    Agam K, von Campenhausen M, Levy S, Ben-Ami HC, Cook B, Kirschfeld K, Minke B. Metabolic stress reversibly activates the Drosophila light-sensitive channels TRP and TRPL in vivo. J Neurosci. 2000 Aug 1; 20(15):5748-55. PMID: 10908615.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/1996

    Levy S, Payne R. Limulus ventral photoreceptors contain two functionally dissimilar inositol triphosphate-induced calcium release mechanisms. J Photochem Photobiol B. 1996 Aug; 35(1-2):97-103. PMID: 8823939.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/1/1994

    Fisher TE, Levy S, Kaczmarek LK. Transient changes in intracellular calcium associated with a prolonged increase in excitability in neurons of Aplysia californica. J Neurophysiol. 1994 Mar; 71(3):1254-7. PMID: 8201416.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/1993

    Levy S, Payne R. A lingering elevation of Cai accompanies inhibition of inositol 1,4,5 trisphosphate-induced Ca release in Limulus ventral photoreceptors. J Gen Physiol. 1993 Jan; 101(1):67-84. PMID: 8436942.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/1/1992

    Levy S. Effect of intracellular injection of inositol trisphosphate on cytosolic calcium and membrane currents in Aplysia neurons. J Neurosci. 1992 Jun; 12(6):2120-9. PMID: 1607931.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/6/1988

    Levy S, Tillotson D. Effects of Na+ and Ca2+ gradients on intracellular free Ca2+ in voltage-clamped Aplysia neurons. Brain Res. 1988 Dec 6; 474(2):333-42. PMID: 3208137.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/26/1988

    Payne R, Walz B, Levy S, Fein A. The localization of calcium release by inositol trisphosphate in Limulus photoreceptors and its control by negative feedback. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1988 Jul 26; 320(1199):359-79. PMID: 2906144.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/1/1987

    Oetting M, LeBoff MS, Levy S, Swiston L, Preston J, Chen C, Brown EM. Permeabilization reveals classical stimulus-secretion coupling in bovine parathyroid cells. Endocrinology. 1987 Oct; 121(4):1571-6. PMID: 2820703.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/1/1987

    Levy S, Tillotson D. Ability of the Ca2+-selective microelectrodes to measure fast and local Ca2+ transients in nerve cells. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1987 May; 65(5):904-14. PMID: 2441832.

    Read at: PubMed

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