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This profile was last updated on 7/29/13  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Deborah L. Levy

Wrong Dr. Deborah L. Levy?

Director, Psychology Research Lab...

Local Address: Belmont, Massachusetts, United States
Harvard Medical School
1563 Mass. Ave # 324
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
United States

Company Description: Harvard Medical School has more than 7,500 full-time faculty working in 11 academic departments located at the School's Boston campus or in one of 47 hospital-based...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • Phd , Dept of Psychiatry
    Harvard Medical School
53 Total References
Web References
That is why Deborah L. Levy, ..., 14 June 2008 [cached]
That is why Deborah L. Levy, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Psychology Research Laboratory at McLean Hospital, is studying families to detect relatives who are carriers of the genes for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, even though these individuals don't have the diseases themselves."One of the key issues in any genetic study is to distinguish individuals who are gene carriers from individuals who are not gene carriers," explained Dr. Levy.In single gene disorders, such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington's disease, 25 percent and 50 percent of family members, respectively, have the same illness.In contrast, only 6.5 percent of family members of people with schizophrenia actually have the illness, which means most relatives don't have symptoms of the illness but may still be gene carriers.To find the relatives who are likely carriers of genes for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Dr. Levy and her colleagues have zeroed in on four discernable schizophrenia-related traits that occur in well family members at a much higher rate than schizophrenia itself: difficulty following a slow moving target with one's eyes, syntax errors or idiosyncratic use of language, subtle anomalies involving the midline of the face , and difficulty filtering out noises and other irrelevant stimuli (a condition known as sensory gating).These traits, according to Dr. Levy, are much more common in families with schizophrenia.For example, idiosyncratic use of language (a trait similar to the thought disorder observed in schizophrenia) occurs in 37 percent of clinically unaffected first-degree relatives of individuals with schizophrenia, a rate that is almost six times higher than schizophrenia in the same families.When the rates for thought disorder and schizophrenia and related clinical conditions are combined, the proportion of potential gene-carrying relatives is close to 50 percent, consistent with a dominant gene, and much higher than the 6.5 percent rate of schizophrenia in the same families."With diseases like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, identifying the genes is just the starting point," noted Dr. Levy.
McLean Hospital | About Us : Staff Bios, 24 Mar 2012 [cached]
Deborah Levy, PhD
Network of Care - Lincoln - Behavioral Health, 26 July 2006 [cached]
"There are a number of genes or chromosomal regions that appear to be linked to schizophrenia," said Deborah Levy, PhD, director of McLean Hospital,s Psychology Research Laboratory.
Levy and her colleagues have developed a novel method that may help to identify relatives who are carriers of schizophrenia genes even though they do not have the illness.
Levy said.
In addition to investigating whether previously implicated genes and chromosomal regions play a role in genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia, the researchers will also look for new genes, using these more prevalent associated traits as pointers.Levy noted that genes might have been missed because some psychiatrically well relatives who are gene carriers were erroneously classified as non-gene carriers.
The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, will run for five years.The team of researchers from McLean will collaborate with molecular geneticists from Rutgers University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, University of Colorado, and University of Toronto; a behavioral geneticist at the Shriver Center in Waltham, Mass., and statistical geneticists at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Levy said she is very optimistic about the prospects for the study.
This post last week - about ..., 10 Mar 2012 [cached]
This post last week - about Deborah Levy, a distinguished McLean Hospital schizophrenia researcher whose funding has run nearly dry because of federal cuts - brought responses from other highly distinguished researchers facing a similar funding drought.
What is happening to Debbie and others has been viewed by some as the natural course of evolution in science where the weak are selected out. Sadly this is not the case at all. Some of the best researchers will have their careers ended and for Debbie it is all the more heart-wrenching because she is right now at the threshold of new discovery.
I worry that a number of outstanding researchers like Debbie Levy will not find a seat when the music stops. She is a stellar researcher who has always received what she has through merit.
Society for Research in Psychopathology, 29 May 2012 [cached]
Deborah L. Levy Society for Research in Psychopathology
Deborah L. Levy McLean Hospital
115 Mill St. Belmont, MA, 02478 Phone: 617-855-2854 FAX: 617-855-2778
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