|Born||9 May 1947|
Pretoria, South Africa
|Education||Pretoria Boys High School|
|Alma mater||King's College London (BScs)|
University of Cambridge (PhD)
|Thesis||Conformation analysis of proteins (1972)|
|Doctoral advisor||Robert Diamond|
Michael Levitt,  (Hebrew: מיכאל לויט; born 9 May 1947) is an American-British-Israeli-South African biophysicist and a professor of structural biology at Stanford University, a position he has held since 1987. Levitt received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Martin Karplus and Arieh Warshel, for "the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems".
Early life and education
Michael Levitt was born in Pretoria, South Africa, to a Jewish family from Plungė, Lithuania; his father was from Lithuania and his mother from the Czech Republic. He attended Sunnyside Primary School and then Pretoria Boys High School between 1960 and 1962. The family moved to England when he was 15. Levitt spent 1963 studying applied mathematics at the University of Pretoria. He attended King's College London, graduating with a first-class honours degree in Physics in 1967.
In 1967, he visited Israel for the first time. Together with his Israeli wife, Rina, a multimedia artist, he left to study at Cambridge, where their three children were born. Levitt was a PhD student in Computational biology at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and was based at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology from 1968 to 1972, where he developed a computer program for studying the conformations of molecules that underpinned much of his later work.
Career and research
In 1979, he returned to Israel and conducted research at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, becoming an Israeli citizen in 1980. He served in the Israel Defense Forces for six weeks in 1985. In 1986, he began teaching at Stanford University, and since then has split his time between Israel and California. He went on to gain a research fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.
From 1980 to 1987, he was Professor of Chemical Physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot. Thereafter, he served as Professor of Structural biology, at Stanford University, California.
- Royal Society Exchange Fellow, Weizmann Institute, Israel, 1967–68
- Staff Scientist, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, 1973–80
- Professor of Chemical Physics, Weizmann Institute, 1980–87 (dept. chair 1980–83)
- Professor of Structural Biology, Stanford University, 1987–present
Levitt was one of the first researchers to conduct molecular dynamics simulations of DNA and proteins and developed the first software for this purpose. He is currently well known for developing approaches to predict macromolecular structures, having participated in many Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP) competitions, where he criticised molecular dynamics for inability to refine protein structures. He has also worked on simplified representations of protein structure for analysing folding and packing, as well as developing scoring systems for large-scale sequence-structure comparisons. He has mentored many successful scientists, including Mark Gerstein and Ram Samudrala. Cyrus Chothia was one of his colleagues.
Levitt has served on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the following companies: Dupont Merck Pharmaceuticals, AMGEN, Protein Design Labs, Affymetrix, Molecular Applications Group, 3D Pharmaceuticals, Algodign, Oplon Ltd, Cocrystal Discovery, InterX, and StemRad, Ltd,.
This section is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic. (July 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In March, he successfully predicted when the rate of increase in the number of deaths in China would slow down. In a Stanford Daily interview during May, Levitt pointed to China, Italy and South Korea as countries that have experienced decreases in cases and deaths, and attributed the decreases to the countries reaching herd immunity at 30%, "You don’t actually have to infect everybody, depending on how fast the virus grows. Some people say 80% [of the population needs to develop antibodies], some people say 60%. I personally think it’s less than 30%. And some people are saying we’re never going to get herd immunity. I don’t think so." However, this assertion is problematic, as Levitt's claim fails to account for the mitigation and containment policies taken by all three countries to reduce transmission and prevent deaths. Both China and Italy enacted large scale, and in some regions, draconian lockdowns to slow spread and suppress the number of cases low enough, to the point that test, trace and isolate practices could be enacted to contain it. Meanwhile South Korea moved quickly, early on in the pandemic and enacted an aggressive test, trace and isolate approach to contain the virus before lockdowns were needed. Such mitigation and containment policies were enacted for the specific reason of slowing the spread of the virus and to decrease deaths, therefore, Levitt's claim that case growth and daily deaths decreased as a result of reaching herd immunity is questionable.
He accurately predicted the initial trajectory of the pandemic, and when China would peak. On the other hand, in March 2020 he made severely wrong predictions that Israel would suffer no more than 10 COVID-19 deaths, as well as that the USA will have a much faster coronavirus recovery than expected. He says that the lockdown saved no lives, and may have cost more lives. He said to Neil Ferguson that there was an overestimation in potential deaths. 
Awards and honors
Levitt was elected an EMBO Member in 1983, a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2001, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002, and received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Martin Karplus and Arieh Warshel, "for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems". He received the DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences in 2014. He was elected an ISCB Fellow by the International Society for Computational Biology in 2015.
Levitt holds American, British and Israeli citizenship.
His wife Rina died on 23 January 2017.
|Scholia has a profile for Michael Levitt (Q6832227).|
- "LEVITT, Prof. Michael". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. 2003 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
- Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy (9 October 2013). "Two American Israelis and US jew share Nobel Prize in Chemistry". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Anon (1983). "Michael Levitt EMBO profile". people.embo.org. Heidelberg: European Molecular Biology Organization.
- Anon (2017). "ISCB Fellows". iscb.org. International Society for Computational Biology. Archived from the original on 20 March 2017.
- Levitt, M. (2001). "The birth of computational structural biology". Nature Structural Biology. 8 (5): 392–393. doi:10.1038/87545. PMID 11323711.
- Michael Levitt publications indexed by Google Scholar
- Levitt, Michael (1972). Conformation analysis of proteins (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.463153.
- Diamond, R.; Levitt, M. (1971). "A refinement of the structure of lysozyme". Biochemical Journal. 125 (4): 92P. doi:10.1042/bj1250092Pa. PMC 1178298. PMID 5144255.
- Daggett, V.; Levitt, M. (1993). "Protein Unfolding Pathways Explored Through Molecular Dynamics Simulations". Journal of Molecular Biology. 232 (2): 600–619. doi:10.1006/jmbi.1993.1414. PMID 7688428.
- Gerstein, M.; Levitt, M. (1997). "A structural census of the current population of protein sequences". PNAS. 94 (22): 11911–11916. Bibcode:1997PNAS...9411911G. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.22.11911. PMC 23653. PMID 9342336.
- Pethica, R. B.; Levitt, M.; Gough, J. (2012). "Evolutionarily consistent families in SCOP: Sequence, structure and function". BMC Structural Biology. 12: 27. doi:10.1186/1472-6807-12-27. PMC 3495643. PMID 23078280.
- Xia, Y.; Huang, E. S.; Levitt, M.; Samudrala, R. (2000). "Ab initio construction of protein tertiary structures using a hierarchical approach". Journal of Molecular Biology. 300 (1): 171–185. doi:10.1006/jmbi.2000.3835. PMID 10864507.
- Anon (2001). "Professor Michael Levitt FRS". London: Royalsociety.org. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where:
"All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 11 November 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Levitt Lab Server | Computational Structural Biology". Csb.stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- "Michael Levitt". Csb.stanford.edu\accessdate=2017-03-22. Archived from the original on 15 July 2010.
- Van Noorden, Richard (2013). "Modellers react to chemistry award: Nobel Prize proves that theorists can measure up to experimenters". Nature. 502 (7471): 280. Bibcode:2013Natur.502..280V. doi:10.1038/502280a. PMID 24132265.
- Van Noorden, R. (2013). "Computer modellers secure chemistry Nobels". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2013.13903.
- "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013" (PDF) (Press release). Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
- Chang, Kenneth (9 October 2013). "3 Researchers Win Nobel Prize in Chemistry". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
- "Michael Levitt – Facts". Nobelprize.org. 9 May 1947. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- Ravidyesterday, Barak (10 October 2013). "Nobel laureate Michael Levitt tells Haaretz: 'I still feel 16, so I have no ego' – World". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "King's College London Calendar: 1968-1969 Page 282". King's Collections. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
- "Michael Levitt 2 Page CV". Csb.stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- "Michael Levitt – Photo Gallery". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- "Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Peterhouse alumnus". University of Cambridge. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
- Fiske, Gavriel (9 October 2013). "3 Jewish professors – two of them Israeli – share 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Chothia, C.; Lesk, A. M.; Tramontano, A.; Levitt, M.; Smith-Gill, S. J.; Air, G.; Sheriff, S.; Padlan, E. A.; Davies, D.; Tulip, W. R.; Colman, P. M.; Spinelli, S.; Alzari, P. M.; Poljak, R. J. (1989). "Conformations of immunoglobulin hypervariable regions". Nature. 342 (6252): 877–883. Bibcode:1989Natur.342..877C. doi:10.1038/342877a0. PMID 2687698.
- Levitt, M.; Chothia, C. (1976). "Structural patterns in globular proteins". Nature. 261 (5561): 552–558. Bibcode:1976Natur.261..552L. doi:10.1038/261552a0. PMID 934293.
- Warshel, A.; Levitt, M. (1976). "Theoretical studies of enzymic reactions: Dielectric, electrostatic and steric stabilization of the carbonium ion in the reaction of lysozyme". Journal of Molecular Biology. 103 (2): 227–249. doi:10.1016/0022-2836(76)90311-9. PMID 985660.
- Levitt, M. (1976). "A simplified representation of protein conformations for rapid simulation of protein folding". Journal of Molecular Biology. 104 (1): 59–107. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.26.4069. doi:10.1016/0022-2836(76)90004-8. PMID 957439.
- Chopra, G.; Kalisman, N.; Levitt, M. (2010). "Consistent refinement of submitted models at CASP using a knowledge-based potential". Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics. 78 (12): 2668–78. doi:10.1002/prot.22781. PMC 2911515. PMID 20589633.
- CASP participants usually did not try to use MD to avoid "a central embarrassment of molecular mechanics, namely that energy minimization or molecular dynamics generally leads to a model that is less like the experimental structure", Koehl, P; Levitt, M (1999). "A brighter future for protein structure prediction". Nature Structural Biology. 6 (2): 108–11. doi:10.1038/5794. PMID 10048917.
- Hinds, D. A.; Levitt, M. (1994). "Exploring conformational space with a simple lattice model for protein structure". Journal of Molecular Biology. 243 (4): 668–682. doi:10.1016/0022-2836(94)90040-X. PMID 7966290.
- Park, B.; Levitt, M. (1996). "Energy Functions that Discriminate X-ray and Near-native Folds from Well-constructed Decoys". Journal of Molecular Biology. 258 (2): 367–392. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.40.9779. doi:10.1006/jmbi.1996.0256. PMID 8627632.
- Gerstein, M.; Tsai, J.; Levitt, M. (1995). "The Volume of Atoms on the Protein Surface: Calculated from Simulation, using Voronoi Polyhedra". Journal of Molecular Biology. 249 (5): 955–966. doi:10.1006/jmbi.1995.0351. PMID 7540695.
- Levitt, M.; Gerstein, M. (1998). "A unified statistical framework for sequence comparison and structure comparison". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 95 (11): 5913–5920. Bibcode:1998PNAS...95.5913L. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.11.5913. PMC 34495. PMID 9600892.
- Brenner, S. E.; Koehl, P.; Levitt, M. (2000). "The ASTRAL compendium for protein structure and sequence analysis". Nucleic Acids Research. 28 (1): 254–256. doi:10.1093/nar/28.1.254. PMC 102434. PMID 10592239.
- Michael Levitt publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
- https://www.stanforddaily.com/2020/05/04/qa-nobel-laureate-says-covid-19-curve-could-be-naturally-self-flattening/. Missing or empty
- https://www.stanforddaily.com/2020/05/04/qa-nobel-laureate-says-covid-19-curve-could-be-naturally-self-flattening/. Missing or empty
- https://time.com/5796425/china-coronavirus-lockdown/. Missing or empty
- https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/05/how-south-korea-prevented-coronavirus-disaster-why-battle-is-not-over/. Missing or empty
- https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-03-22/coronavirus-outbreak-nobel-laureate. Missing or empty
- https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pandemic-can-be-controlled-says-scientist-michael-levitt-bp7qd39lv. Missing or empty
- https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/coronavirus-michael-levitt-china-italy-a9422986.html. Missing or empty
- "Nobel laureate: Israel will have no more than 10 coronavirus deaths". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
- Guzman, Joseph (25 March 2020). "Nobel laureate predicts US will have much faster coronavirus recovery than expected". TheHill. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
- https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/23/lockdown-saved-no-lives-may-have-cost-nobel-prize-winner-believes/. Missing or empty
- https://nypost.com/2020/05/26/nobel-prize-winner-coronavirus-lockdowns-saved-no-lives/. Missing or empty
- "Michael Levitt". Member Directory. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
- "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013" (PDF). Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- "2014 ASBMB Annual Awards: DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences". Asbmb.org. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- "Feb 20, 2015: Meet the ISCB Fellows Class of 2015". Iscb.org. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- Pileggi, Tamar (9 October 2013). "Tiny Israel a Nobel heavyweight, especially in chemistry". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- Solomon, Shoshanna. "Israelis lose out to US-German trio for Nobel medicine prize". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
| Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate
With: Martin Karplus
William E. Moerner