Arthur S. Levine, MD

  • John and Gertrude Petersen Dean, School of Medicine
  • Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences

Arthur S. Levine, MD, is senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Levine works closely with UPMC, one of the largest academic medical centers in the nation, to ensure that health care delivery, biomedical research, and education—the three legs of the "classic academic stool"—remain equally strong and suited for future growth. Under his direction, the medical school entered into the top 10 list of recipients of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in 1998 and has since climbed within this enviable ranking. The faculty of the School of Medicine currently ranks fifth nationally in total NIH research funding received. In 2013, Dr. Levine was named Petersen Dean of Medicine, marking the establishment of the first endowed deanship in the School of Medicine's history.

As leader of all six health sciences schools, Dr. Levine directs the University's efforts to invigorate and expand its health sciences research portfolio. In this role, he has focused on research that exploits the vast amount of data emerging from the human genome project and on the newly emerging and powerful technologies that enable us to visualize the three-dimensional structures, as well as the interactions, of molecules, cells, and other biological structures.

The University has launched a number of multidisciplinary research centers and institutes during Dr. Levine's tenure, including the Brain Institute, Drug Discovery Institute, Center for Vaccine Research, and Institute for Personalized Medicine. In 2006, the University was one of 12 American institutions selected by NIH to receive the first Clinical and Translational Science Awards. This $83.5 million grant (renewed in 2016 for $62.3 million) established Pitt's Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), which works across the University and with UPMC to speed the translation of research advances into clinical practice. More recently, Pitt was awarded a prestigious $11 million grant to create a Center of Excellence for Big Data Computing. Eleven such grants were awarded from a pool of 136 applications to NIH's new Big Data to Knowledge initiative, known as BD2K.

In the educational arena, Dr. Levine spearheaded the addition of the Scholarly Project to the Pitt medical curriculum. This innovative requirement engages each medical student in an independent, mentored research project to be completed between the first and final years of medical school. Now being emulated at other top medical schools, Pitt's Scholarly Project prepares students to practice medicine in the 21st century by exposing them to the mechanics of scientific investigation while instilling creativity, persistence, and critical thinking. Student research supports Dr. Levine's efforts to enhance the recruitment and retention of talented students and trainees, supporting a critical, national need to increase the number of physicians and scientists choosing careers in research and education.

Dr. Levine has appointed 30 of the 31 current School of Medicine department chairs and has recruited multiple National Academy of Sciences members to join Pitt's faculty. The School of Medicine has added 10 academic departments during Dr. Levine's tenure: the Departments of Structural Biology, Immunology, Biomedical Informatics, Plastic Surgery, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Urology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Critical Care Medicine, Developmental Biology, and Computational and Systems Biology.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Levine served at NIH for more than three decades, having joined the National Cancer Institute in 1967. From 1982 to 1998, he was scientific director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, widely recognized as a global leader in developmental biology.

Early in his career, Dr. Levine played a leading role in clinical research on childhood malignancies and pioneered systemic investigations on the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections in patients with cancer. Throughout his career, Dr. Levine has conducted molecular biologic research. He and his colleagues performed the first physical and genetic mapping of SV40, a mammalian tumor virus. These investigators were also the first to work on naturally occurring viral recombinant DNAs, and their findings provided important information in the beginning of the recombinant DNA era. Dr. Levine’s current research efforts focus on the molecular and cellular pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Levine has authored or coauthored more than 250 scientific articles, has chaired numerous national and international scientific meetings, and has been elected to membership in a number of leading research societies, including the Association of American Physicians (AAP). He has held visiting professorships and distinguished lectureships at universities in the United States and abroad and has served on the editorial boards of a variety of scientific journals. He was also editor-in-chief of The New Biologist, a journal of cellular and molecular biology. Dr. Levine's honors include the Meritorious Service and the Distinguished Service Medals of the United States Public Health Service, the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal, the Distinguished Alumnus Award and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Chicago Medical School, and an NIH Director’s Award.

As a graduate of Columbia College, Dr. Levine majored in comparative literature and edited The Columbia Review, the school’s literary magazine. He received his MD from the Chicago Medical School, now the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. He completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Hospitals, Minneapolis, and a fellowship in hematology and biochemical genetics at the University of Minnesota.