Richard B. Levine, PhD

Professor, Physiology

Arizona Research Laboratories, Division of Neurobiology

Gould Simpson 611; P.O. Box 210077
Tucson AZ 85721-0077

(520) 621-6630 or 621-6654
Email Address:
  • State University of New York, Albany, 1978 (Ph.D.)
  • University of Washington (Postdoctoral)
Honors & Awards: 
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, awarded 1979-1982
  • MDA Postdoctoral Fellowship, awarded 1979 (declined)
Major Areas of Research Interest: 

Effects of steroid hormones on the function and development of neuromuscular systems. Neuromuscular systems, including the neurons that control movement and the muscles that they innervate, are modified throughout life by many factors including hormones, learning, training, and aging. In my laboratory we are exploring the cellular and molecular mechanisms through which steroid hormones regulate the function and postembryonic modification of motor neurons and muscles. Insect metamorphosis serves as a useful model system. During metamorphosis many identified neurons that are integrated into larval neural circuits persist to assume new roles in adult behavior. Using techniques such as intracellular and patch recording, dye injection, and cell culture we are describing how the biophysical properties,dendritic anatomy, and synaptic connections of individual motor neurons, as well as the muscles they innervate, are modified during metamorphosis. Our goals are to understand how these modifications are related to behavioral changes and how steroid hormones induce them. Many of our recent experiments take advantage of the molecular and genetic approaches that are available with the Drosophila preparation.

Selected Publications: 

Dulcis D. Levine RB. Ewer J. Role of the neuropeptide CCAP in Drosophila cardiac function. Journal of Neurobiology. 64(3):259-74, 2005.

Consoulas C. Levine RB. Restifo LL. The steroid hormone-regulated gene Broad Complex is required for dendritic growth of motoneurons during metamorphosis of Drosophila. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 485(4):321-37, 2005.

Dulcis D. Levine RB. Glutamatergic innervation of the heart initiates retrograde contractions in adult Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Neuroscience. 25(2):271-80, 2005 .


Dulcis D. Levine RB. Remodeling of a larval skeletal muscle motoneuron to drive the posterior cardiac pacemaker in the adult moth, Manduca sexta. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 478(2):126-42, 2004 .

Dulcis D. Levine RB. Innervation of the heart of the adult fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 465(4):560-78, 2003.

Student Opportunities Through Research: 

Opportunity to learn a variety of state-of-the-art techniques used to study neuronal development (cell culture, electrophysiology, patch clamp, immunocytochemistry)-Opportunity to investigate the regulation of neuronal development by steroid hormones in a relatively simple nervous system (insect).

Last Updated: 
November 18, 2015