Dr. Levitt is the Simms/Mann Chair in Developmental Neurogenetics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the WM Keck Provost Professor of Neurogenetics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. He also serves as the Director of the USC Neuroscience Graduate Program. Dr. Levitt has held chair and institute directorships at the University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Levitt has been a MERIT awardee from the National Institute of Mental Health and served as a member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council for the National Institute of Mental Health. He is an elected member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Levitt is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, and serves as Scientific Director of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, a policy council that brings the best research from child development and neuroscience to assist state and federal policy makers and private sector business leaders in making wise decisions regarding program investment. He has spoken on this topic in over 30 states.
Dr. Levitt’s research focuses on the development of circuitry that controls learning, emotional and social behavior. The laboratory performs studies on genetic and environment factors that influence circuit formation and the underlying influence of individual differences (heterogeneity) in complex behaviors. Studies also identify factors that increase risk for neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. His clinical research addresses disorder heterogeneity by studying children with neurodevelopmental disorders who also have co-occurring medical conditions, and children exposed to toxic stress (neglect, abuse) early in life that may impact mental and physical health short- and long-term. The studies have a goal of developing better diagnostic criteria and personalized treatments. He has published over 265 scientific papers.