Connecting European Neuroscience

Cristiaan Levelt

Programme Committee Member FENS Forum 2018

Curriculum Vitae

Master’s degree in Medicine obtained from Leiden University 1/11/90

Ph. D. research performed at Max-Planck-Institute for Immunobiology, Freiburg.

Ph. D. degree obtained from Leiden University (Cum Laude = with highest honors) 24/11/94

Positions held Jan 1990- Aug 1994:

Ph. D. student, Laboratory of Prof. Dr. Klaus Eichmann, Max-Planck-institute for Immunobiology, Freiburg, Germany (fixed-Term) Dec 1993-March

1994: Visiting scientist, Laboratory of Prof. Dr. Cox Terhorst, Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA Sept

1994 – Feb 1999: Post-Doctoral fellow, Laboratory of Prof. Dr. Susumu Tonegawa, Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA (fixed-term)

March 1999-July 2000: Post-Doctoral associate, Laboratory of Prof. Dr. Susumu Tonegawa, Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA (fixed-term)

Aug 2000- July 2005: Group leader and Head of transgenic unit Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (permanent position starting 2002)

August 2005- now: Group leader Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (permanent position)

August 2013- now: Professor (by special appointment) for molecular and cellular mechanisms of cortical development and plasticity at the department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology at the CNCR, VU University Amsterdam. 

Honours and awards

Cancer Research Institute fellowship (3yrs) 1994 Otto Hahn medal Max-Planck Gesellshaft for outstanding scientific achievement (1 year fellowship), 1994 NWO Vidi 2002. 

General administrative and organisational experience

Co-organizer 23rd and 28th International Summer School of Brain Research, 2003 & 2014 Organizer International symposium Dynamics of Neuronal Plasticity, Amsterdam, 2005 Organizer European Visual Cortex Plasticity meeting 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 Organizer/Chair/Speaker Fens symposium 2008, 2012 & 2016 Chair ONWAR (Graduate school neurosciences Amsterdam/Rotterdam) teaching committee Chair ONWAR Swammerdam lectures committee (until 2013) Program Committee Brain and Cognition – an Integrated Approach (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) Review committee Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). 

Research interests

The Levelt lab is interested in understanding how modification of neural circuits underlies cortical plasticity in health and disease, with a special focus on the involvement of inhibitory innervation. We make use of three approaches to study this question.

1. We use chronic in vivo two photon microscopy to study the plasticity of inhibitory synapses in cortex and thalamus.

2. We use in vivo electrophysiology, calcium imaging, optogenetics, chemogenetics and gene modification to monitor and/or alter the activity of specific subsets of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in visual cortex and thalamus during developmental plasticity and perceptual learning.

3. We use genetics and proteomics approaches to identify candidate plasticity genes and understand disease mechanisms in neurodevelopmental disorders (specifically Neurofibromatosis). 

Selected publications

1. Smit-Rigter L*, Rajendran R*, Silva CAP, Spierenburg L, Groeneweg F, Ruimschotel EM, van Versendaal D, van der Togt C, Eysel UT, Heimel JA, Lohmann C, Levelt CN (2016) Mitochondrial dynamics in adult visual cortex are limited and not affected by axonal structural plasticity. Curr Biol, 26(15) 2609-2616 (IF 9.0)

2. Saiepour HD, Rajendran R, Omrani A, Ma WP, Tao HW, Heimel JA, Levelt CN (2015) Ocular dominance plasticity disrupts binocular inhibition-excitation matching in visual cortex. Curr Biol, 25(10) : 3713-22 (IF 9.0)

3. Saiepour MH, Chakravarthy S., Min R and Levelt, CN (2015) Competition and homeostasis of excitatory and inhibitory connectivity in the adult mouse visual cortex. Cereb Cortex, 25(10) : 3713 (IF 8.3)

4. Levelt CN and Hubener M (2012) Critical period plasticity in the visual cortex. Annu Rev of Neurosci, 21; 35:309-30 (IF 14.3)

5. Versendaal D*, Rajendran R*, Saiepour MH, Klooster J, Smit-Rigter L, Sommeijer JP, Hofer SB, Heimel JA and Levelt CN (2012) Elimination of inhibitory synapses is a major component of adult ocular dominance plasticity. Neuron, 74(2) :374 (IF 14.0)

6. Dahlhaus M, Li KW, van der Schors RC, Saiepour MH, van Nierop P, Heimel JA, Hermans JM, Loos M, Smit AB and Levelt CN (2011) The synaptic proteome during development and plasticity of the mouse visual cortex. Mol Cell Proteomics M110.005413. (IF 5.9)

7. Heimel JA, Saiepour, MH, Chakravarthy S, Hermans, JM and Levelt CN (2010) Contrast gain control and cortical TrkB signaling shape visual acuity. Nat Neurosci, 13(5) :642 (IF 16.7)

8. Dahlhaus M, Hermans J, Woerden L, Saiepour H, Nakazawa K, Mansvelder H, Heimel JA and Levelt CN (2008) Notch1 signaling in pyramidal neurons regulates synaptic connectivity and experience-dependent modifications of acuity in the visual cortex. J Neurosci, 28(43) :10794 (IF 5.9)

9. Mank M, Santos AF, Direnberger S, Mrsic-Flogel TD, Hofer SB, Stein V, Hendel T, Reiff DF, Levelt C, Borst A, Bonhoeffer T, Hübener M and Griesbeck O (2008) A genetically encoded calcium indicator for chronic in vivo twophoton imaging. Nat Methods, 5(9) :805. (IF 25.3)

10. Chakravarthy S, Saiepour MH, Bence M, Perry S, Hartman R, Couey JJ, Mansvelder HD and Levelt CN (2006) Postsynaptic TrkB signaling has distinct roles in spine maintenance in adult visual cortex and hippocampus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 103(4) :1071. (IF 9.4).

Cristiaan Levelt

Professor by special appointment, VU University
Head Molecular Visual Plasticity Laboratory
Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
Meibergdreef 47
The Netherlands.