Research : Roy Levitt, M.D.

Roy Levitt, M.D.

Dr. Levitt is a neuroanesthesiologist, pain physician, and geneticist who is well versed in translational research, genomic approaches and product development. He has led projects to develop mouse models and characterize mechanisms of susceptibility to complex phenotypes and parallel human studies on conditions including neuromuscular diseases, asthma, COPD, and persistent pain. He worked for nearly 12 years in industry, leading a multi-disciplinary team in target validation and the development of novel therapeutics, one of which reached late Phase 2 (MEDI-528 neutralizing IL9 antibody) as a treatment for asthma. Dr. Levitt has authored or co-authored over 95 peer-reviewed publications, over 25 patent applications, 14 clinical protocols (Phase I-IV), and selected clinical, nonclinical, and CM&C sections of IND and NDA filings. He has also been granted 22 patents. For the last five years, Dr. Levitt’s work has focused on the genetics of susceptibility to chronic pain, including chronic post-surgical pain. Currently, he is vice president of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Special Interest Group (SIG) on Genetics and Pain, and led a group that received an award from IASP to organize and run the 10th IASP Research Symposium on Pain Genetics in February 2012. Since joining the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, he has established and managed the pain research group as part of the Division of Translational Research at the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative Medicine, and Pain Management.

Research Interests

  • Gene-environment interactions leading to persistent pain
  • Gene discovery and genetic mechanisms of susceptibility to persistent pain, including post-surgical pain
  • Identification of biomarkers of susceptibility and therapeutic response in chronic pain treatments
  • Novel mechanism-based therapeutic approaches for persistent pain
  • Preventative strategies for persistent painRecent PresentationsAbstracts – from SWAAT

Research Presentations Abstracts – from SWAAT

  1. Carbonic Anhydrase 8 (Car8) Deficiency Increases Mechanical and Thermal Hyperalgesia Following Carrageenan Inflammation in Mice. Fu ES, Zhuang Z, Cui JG, Erasso D, Mari D, Levitt RC. Anesthesiology 2012; Washington, DC; A717.
  2. NOVA1 Variants Regulate RNA Splicing at the Inhibitory Synapse and Persistent Pain Susceptibility. Levitt RC, Zhang YP, Fu ES, Zhuang Z, Mari D, Maixner W, Diatchenko L, Smith S, Martin E, Cui JG. Anesthesiology 2012; Washington, DC; A085.
  3. A Critical Role for Lipid Mediators in Pain Suppression by Spinal Cord Stimulation Authors(s): Jian-Guo Cui, M.D.,Ph.D., Gabriel Tender, M.D., David Mari, B.S., Diana Erasso, Ph.D., Roy C. Levitt, M.D. Topic: Chronic and Cancer Pain. IASP 10th Research Symposium, Miami Beach FL, 2012.
  4. The Genetic Mediation Of Chronic Pain In Mice And Humans: New Findings and Outlook [IASP World Congress; Session: Translating From Animals To Humans: Novel Genomic Risk Factors For Persistent Pain. R. Levitt. IASP 14th World Congress, Milan Italy, 2012
  5. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) plays a role in the neuropathic pain induced by HIV coat protein-gp120. W. Zheng, W. Huang, S. Liu, R. C. Levitt, K. A. Candiotti, S. Hao. Neuroscience 2012 annual meeting, 341.15 New Orleans, LA
  6. p55TNF receptor or IL-10 mediated by HSV vector, suppressed mechanical allodynia in neuropathic pain induced by gp120 in rats. Huang W, Zheng W, Liu S, Levitt RC, Candiotti KA, Mata M, Fink DJ, Hao S. New Orleans, LA. Neuroscience 2012 annual meeting, 696.13
  7. Comparison of modulation of NF-kappaB with LPS and KDO2 in the cultured microglial cells. Hao S, Zheng X, Zheng W, Liu S, Patel HM, Levitt RC, Candiotti KA. Neuroscience 2012 annual meeting, 737.14 New Orleans, LA Peer-Reviewed Publications
from NIH bio and SWAAT
  1. Zhang YP, Eber A, Yuan Y, Yang Z, Rodriguez Y, Levitt RC, Takacs P, Candiotti KA. Prophylactic and Antinociceptive Effects of Coenzyme Q10 on Diabetic Neuropathic Pain in a Mouse Model of Type 1 Diabetes. Anesthesiology. 2013 Jan 17. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Ouyang H, Liu S, Zeng W, Levitt RC, Candiotti KA, Hao S. An emerging new paradigm in opioid withdrawal: a critical role for glia-neuron signaling in the periaqueductal gray. Scientific World Journal. 2012;2012:940613. Epub 2012 Aug 2.
  3. Zheng X, Zheng W, Liu S, Patel HM, Xia X, Ouyang H, Levitt RC, Candiotti KA, Hao S. Crosstalk between JNK and NF-κB in the KDO2-mediated production of TNFα in HAPI cells. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2012 Nov;32(8):1375-83. Epub 2012 Jul 27.
  4. Wenwen Zheng, Xuexing Zheng, Shue Liu, Hongsheng Ouyang, Roy C. Levitt, Keith A. Candiotti, Shuanglin Hao. TNFa and IL-1b are mediated by both TLR4 and Nod1 pathways in the cultured HAPI cells stimulated by LPS. BBRC 420 (2012) 762–767.
  5. Yan Ping Zhang, Chun Yu Song, Yue Yuan, Ariel Eber, Yiliam Rodriguez, Roy C. Levitt, Peter Takacs, Zhe Yang, and Keith A. Candiotti. Diabetic Neuropathic Pain Development in Type 2 Diabetic Mouse Model and the Prophylactic and Therapeutic Effects of Coenzyme Q10. In press 2013.
  6. Zhang YP, Fu ES, Sagen J, Levitt RC, Candiotti KA, Bethea JR, Brambilla R. Glial NF-kappa B inhibition alters neuropeptide expression after sciatic nerve injury in mice. Brain Res. 2011 Apr 18;1385:38-46.
  7. Effect of Th2 type cytokines on hCLCA1 and mucus expression in cystic fibrosis airways. Hauber HP, Lavigne F, Hung HL, Levitt RC, Hamid Q. J Cystic Fibrosis. 2010 Jul; 9(4):277-9. Epub 2010 Jun 9.
  8. Valerie Steenwinckel, Jamila Louahed, Ciriana Orabona, Francois Huaux, Guy Warnier, Andrew McKenzie, Dominique Lison, Roy Levitt, and Jean-Christophe Renauld. IL-13 Mediates In Vivo IL-9 Activities on Lung Epithelial Cells but Not on Hematopoietic Cells. The Journal of Immunology, 2007, 178: 3244–3251.
  9. Hauber HP, Daigneault P, Frenkiel S, Lavigne F, Hung HL, Levitt RC, Hamid Q. Niflumic acid and MSI-2216 reduce TNF-alpha-induced mucin expression in human airway mucosa. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Feb;115(2):266-71.
  10. Hauber HP, Bergeron C, Tsicopoulos A, Wallaert B, Olivenstein R, Holroyd KJ, Levitt RC, Hamid. Increased expression of the calcium-activated chloride channel hCLCA1 in airways of patients with obstructive chronic bronchitis. Can Respir J. 2005 Apr; 12(3):143-6.Grants and Contracts

*NIH NIDCR R01 (1R01DE022903)*“

CA8 Variants: New Mechanisms Underlying Transitions to Persistent Pain Syndromes”
Major Goals: The identification and functional validation of human carbonic anhydrase 8 (CA8) pathway variants associated with susceptibility to the development of persistent pain.
Total Funding: $2,500,000
Role on Project: PI/PD

Pilot Study Grant (SAC) University of Miami (Cui PI)
“A New Paradigm for Treating Neuropathic Pain: Analgesic Lipids”
Major goals: To study analgesic property of lipid molecules in the spinal cord of chronic neuropathic pain rat models.
Total Funding: $20,000.00
Role on Project: Co-Investigator

Craig Neilsen Foundation (164678) (Widerstrom-Noga PI)
“Utility of quantitative sensory testing in spinal cord injury (SCI)-related neuropathic pain” Develop valid and reproducible pain evaluation protocols for SCI patients that can characterize neuropathic pain based on QST and on assessment of pain symptoms, and genotyping.
Total Funding: $112,500
Role on Project: Co-Investigator

James & Esther King Biomedical Research Program
10KD-05 (Li Post-Doc)

Tobacco Smoke, Stem Cells and Lung Repair: An Emerging Paradigm in COPD
Total Funding: $56,550
Role on Project: PI