Milton Levin, MS, PhD

Assistant Research Professor

Email: milton.levin@uconn.edu
Office: (860) 486-6837
Lab: (860) 486-2748
Fax: (860) 486-2794

Education

  • 1986-1990 B.S. in Marine Biology, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL
  • 1997-1999 M.S. in Veterinary Medical Sciences,  Department of Biomedical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA
  • 1999-2004 PhD. In Immunotoxicology, Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • 2004-2010 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Professional Experience

2012-Present 
Assistant Research Professor, Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.
  • Hypothesis-based research in support of in vivo and in vitro studies investigating the toxic effects of anthropogenic pollutants and algal biotoxins on the health of marine mammals, fish, oysters, and humans. 

2010-2012      
Assistant Professor-in-Residence, Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Sciences,
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.
  • Hypothesis-based research in support of studies investigating the toxic effects of anthropogenic pollutants and algal biotoxins on the health of humans and aquatic wildlife. 

2004-2010      
Post-Doctoral Fellow, NOAA’s Oceans and Human Health Initiative and the University of Connecticut’s Interdisciplinary Research and Training Initiative on Coastal Ecosystems and Human Health (I-RICH) program, Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.
  • Hypothesis-based research in support of in vivo and in vitro studies investigating the toxic effects of environmental pollutants and algal biotoxins on the immune systems of humans, mice, marine mammals, bivalves, and lobsters. 

1997-1999      
Graduate Research Assistant, Virginia Tech, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Blacksburg, VA.
  • Research in support of in vivo studies investigating the toxic effects of dioxin on the development of mice in utero. 

1992-1997      
Research Associate, Covance Labs North America, Contract Toxicology, Vienna, VA.
  • Responsible for supervising necropsy technicians in support of laboratory animal toxicity studies.  Conducted small and large animal necropsies (mouse, rat, rabbit, dog, primate), rat and rabbit cesarean sections, tissue trimming/embedding/microtoming, and small animal surgery. 

1991-1991      
Field Scientist, Applied Biology, Inc., Environmental Consulting, Jensen Beach, FL.
  • Research in support of the impact of electric utility on local fish and aquatic invertebrate health. 

Courses Taught

  • PVS 5300: Discussion of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science Literature

Research Interests

Over the last 15 years, I have focused on hypothesis-driven research, which has addressed whether exposure to environmental contaminants adversely affects the immune systems of marine wildlife and humans, and whether this exposure increases an individual’s susceptibility to infectious pathogens. Acute, sub-acute, or chronic exposure to these contaminants may increase an individual’s susceptibility to a number of bacterial, viral, protozoal or fungal pathogens, resulting in morbidity or mortality at the individual or population level. 

I have focused mainly on legacy contaminants (e.g. polychlorinated biphenyls), emerging chemicals (e.g. perfluorinated compounds, PFOA/S), natural and refined oil (e.g. BP Deepwater Horizon spill), and HAB biotoxins (e.g. domoic acid, brevetoxin, saxitoxin). Many of the chemicals can be measured in high concentrations in the tissues of marine wildlife, as well as certain human populations who consume marine mammals (e.g. those in the Arctic). 

Public/Media Outreach

2011 National Geographic - Strange Days on Planet Earth (De Guise/Levin lab featured, starting at ~19:45 min)

2011 Inside Nature's Giants: Polar Bear (Channel4), East Greenland Polar Bear Field Work

2012 East Greenland Polar Bear Field Work Blog

2015 Facebook: AURORAE, East Greenland related research

2015 NOAA Press Release, 'Scientists Study Weaned Gray Seal Pups on Muskeget and Monomoy Islands’

2016 NOAA Press Release, 'Drones and Field Sampling Document Gray Seal Pups on Muskeget and Monomoy Islands'

Publications (peer-reviewed)

  1. Bogomolni A, Bass A, Fire S, Jasperse L, Levin M, Nielsen O, Waring G, De Guise S. Saxitoxin Increases Phocine Distemper Virus Replication Upon In Vitro infection in Harbor Seal Immune Cells. Harmful Algae. 2016 51: 89-96.
  2. Desforges JP, Sonne C, Levin M, Siebert U, De Guise S, Dietz R. Immunotoxic effects of environmental pollutants in marine mammals. Environ Int. 2016 Jan;86:126-39. PMID: 26590481.
  3. Bogomolni A, Frasca S, Levin M, Matassa K, Nielsen O, De Guise S. In Vitro Exposure of Harbor Seal Immune Cells to Aroclor 1260 Alters Phocine Distemper Virus Replication. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2015 Jul 4. PMID: 26142119.
  4. Gebhard E, Levin M, Bogomolni A, DeGuise S. Immunomodulatory effects of brevetoxin (PbTx-3) upon in vitro exposure in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Harmful Algae. 2015 44:54-62.
  5. Levin M, Romano T, Matassa K, De Guise S. Validation of a commercial canine assay kit to measure pinniped cytokines. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2014 Jul 15;160(1-2):90-6. PMID: 24845148.
  6. Rousselet E, Levin M, Gebhard E, Higgins BM, DeGuise S, Godard-Codding CA. Evaluation of immune functions in captive immature loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2013 Nov 15;156(1-2):43-53. PMID: 24094689.
  7. Schwacke LH, Zolman ES, Balmer BC, De Guise S, George RC, Hoguet J, Hohn AA, Kucklick JR, Lamb S, Levin M, Litz JA, McFee WE, Place NJ, Townsend FI, Wells RS, Rowles TK. Anaemia, hypothyroidism and immune suppression associated with polychlorinated biphenyl exposure in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Proc Biol Sci. 2012 Jan 7;279(1726):48-57. PMID: 21613298
  8. Schwacke LH, Twiner MJ, De Guise S, Balmer BC, Wells RS, Townsend FI, Rotstein DC, Varela RA, Hansen LJ, Zolman ES, Spradlin TR, Levin M, Leibrecht H, Wang Z, Rowles TK. Eosinophilia and biotoxin exposure in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from a coastal area impacted by repeated mortality events. Environ Res. 2010 Aug;110(6):548-55. PMID: 20537621.
  9. Levin M, Joshi D, Draghi A 2nd, Gulland FM, Jessup D, De Guise S. Immunomodulatory effects upon in vitro exposure of California sea lion and southern sea otter peripheral blood leukocytes to domoic acid. J Wildl Dis. 2010 Apr;46(2):541-50. PMID: 20688647.
  10. Mori C, Morsey B, Levin M, Gorton TS, De Guise S. Effects of organochlorines, individually and in mixtures, on B-cell proliferation in marine mammals and mice. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008;71(4):266-75. PMID: 18253892.
  11. Levin M, Leibrecht H, Ryan J, Van Dolah F, De Guise S. Immunomodulatory effects of domoic acid differ between in vivo and in vitro exposure in mice. Mar Drugs. 2008;6(4):636-59. PMID: 19172200.
  12. Levin M, Leibrecht H, Mori C, Jessup D, De Guise S. Immunomodulatory effects of organochlorine mixtures upon in vitro exposure of peripheral blood leukocytes differ between free-ranging and captive southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris). Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2007 Oct 15;119(3-4):269-77. PMID: 17629573.
  13. Levin M, Morsey B, De Guise S. Non-coplanar PCBs induce calcium mobilization in bottlenose dolphin and beluga whale, but not in mouse leukocytes. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Jul;70(14):1220-31. PMID: 17573636.
  14. Levin M, Brownawell B, DeGuise S. Sumithrin immunotoxicity in the American lobster (Homarus americanus) upon experimental exposure. Journal of shellfish research. 2007; 26(4):1161.
  15. Levin M, Morsey B, De Guise S. Modulation of the respiratory burst by organochlorine mixtures in marine mammals, humans, and mice. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Jan;70(1):73-83. PMID: 17162500.
  16. Mori C, Morsey B, Levin M, Nambiar PR, De Guise S. Immunomodulatory effects of in vitro exposure to organochlorines on T-cell proliferation in marine mammals and mice. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2006 Feb;69(3-4):283-302. PMID: 16407088.
  17. Levin M, Morsey B, Mori C, Nambiar PR, De Guise S. Non-coplanar PCB-mediated modulation of human leukocyte phagocytosis: a new mechanism for immunotoxicity. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2005 Nov 26;68(22):1977-93. PMID: 16263690.
  18. Levin M, De Guise S, Ross PS. Association between lymphocyte proliferation and polychlorinated biphenyls in free-ranging harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) pups from British Columbia, Canada. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2005 May;24(5):1247-52. PMID: 16111007.
  19. Levin M, Morsey B, Mori C, Nambiar PR, De Guise S. PCBs and TCDD, alone and in mixtures, modulate marine mammal but not B6C3F1 mouse leukocyte phagocytosis. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2005 Apr 23;68(8):635-56. PMID: 15901092.
  20. Levin M, Morsey B, Mori C, Guise S. Specific non-coplanar PCB-mediated modulation of bottlenose dolphin and beluga whale phagocytosis upon in vitro exposure. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2004 Oct 8;67(19):1517-35. PubMed PMID: 15371227.
  21. De Guise S, Levin MJ. Cetacean-reconstituted severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice respond to vaccination with canine distemper vaccine. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2004 Feb;97(3-4):177-86. PMID: 14741136.
  22. Levin MJ, Pfeiffer CJ. Gross and microscopic observations on the lingual structure of the Florida Manatee Trichechus manatus latirostris. Anat Histol Embryol. 2002 Oct;31(5):278-85. PMID: 12484420.
  23. Pfeiffer CJ, Levin M, Lopes MA. Ultrastructure of the horse tongue: further observations on the lingual integumentary architecture. Anat Histol Embryol. 2000 Mar;29(1):37-43. PMID: 10820901.
  24. Levin MJ, Pfeiffer CJ. Photoreceptor ultrastructure of the amphipod, Cyamus ceti (Linné, 1758), an ectoparasite of bowhead, right and gray whales. J Submicrosc Cytol Pathol. 1999 Jul;31(3):397-405. PMID: 10626006.

Manuscripts submitted/in preparation

  1. Wendy Blay Puryear, Mandy Keogh, Nichola Hill, Jerry Moxley, Elizabeth Josephson, Kimberly Ryan-Davis, Christopher Bandoro, Damian Lidgard, Andrea Bogomolni, Milton Levin, Shelley Lang, Michael Hammill, Don Bowen, David Johnston, Tracy Romano, Gordon Waring, Jonathan Runstadler.  Prevalence of Influenza A virus in live-caught North Atlantic gray seals: a possible wild reservoir. 2016. Submitted.
  2. Lindsay Jasperse, Milton Levin, Katherine Tsantiris, Christopher Perkins, J. Evan Ward, Roxanna Smolowitz, Sylvain De Guise. Comparative Toxicity of Corexit® 9500, Oil, and Dispersed Oil in the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica): Immunological and Physiological Effects. 2015. Submitted.
  3. Sylvain De Guise, Milton Levin, Erika Gebhard, Lindsay Jasperse, Jeremiah T. Saliki, Leslie Burdett Hart, Cynthia Smith, Stephanie Venn-Watson, Forrest Townsend, Randall Wells, Brian Balmer, Eric Zolman, Teresa Rowles, Lori Schwacke. Immunomodulatory effects associated with morbillivirus exposure in bottlenose dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico. 2015. Submitted.
  4. Levin, M, Desforges, JP, Sonne, C, Dietz, R, Gebhard, E, Jasperse, Bossi, R, Letcher, K, Gabrielsen, De Guise, S. Immunomodulatory Effects of In Vitro and In Vivo Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Perfluoroalkyl Acids in East Greenland Ringed Seals. 2016. In preparation.

Contact Us

Pathobiology and Veterinary Science
College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources
61 North Eagleville Road, Unit-3089
Telephone: (860) 486-4000
Fax: (860) 486-2794
Email: maria.chartier@uconn.edu