Our Mission

To improve the lives of people living with skin and musculoskeletal diseases through rigorous science and compassion.
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Our Research

As burn and general reconstructive surgeons, we see and treat the problems of heterotopic ossification first-hand and believe current diagnostic and treatment strategies are inadequate. We hope that the research we perform will allow us to improve treatment of burn and trauma induced heterotopic ossification. Furthermore, we hope to be able to translate these findings to other causes of heterotopic ossification such as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive, progressive osseous hyperplasia and spinal cord injury induced disease.

Heterotopic ossification (HO) following amputation, musculoskeletal injuries, burns, deep surgeries, and trauma severely debilitates patients by restricting range of motion and causing pain. Burn injuries cost over $500 million annually and hip replacements cost over $5 billion dollars. Beyond these initial expenses, HO leads to hospital admissions and secondary operations incurring significant costs. Insights from related hyper-proliferative disorders such as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) and explorations down associated pathways have uncovered agents in HO pathways.

Some implicated molecules after burn injury induced inflammation include BMP-2, BMP-4, and TGF-beta. Uncovered agents like these pose potential candidates for more efficient, targeted interventions. Patients with HO often require surgical excision, and currently trialed drugs such as NSAIDs or bisphosphonates are not tolerated by all patients, have limited efficacy, and do not target the mechanism responsible for HO. With a dedicated team-based approach, the Levi Lab is elucidating the mechanistic pathways involved in HO and developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to improve the current treatment paradigm of this destructive process.

Our Lab

Benjamin Levi, M.D.

Principal Investigator

Directed by Dr. Benjamin Levi, the Levi Lab and Center for Organogenesis & Trauma is located in the NL8 building on the UT Southwestern Medical Center campus. On the same floor, the laboratory offices for both Dr. Levi and lab members can be found in the corners of the research building. The 1500 sf state-of-the-art lab attends to an extensive scope and associated techniques and relies on invaluable, nearby resources such as:

Collaboration Spaces

The lab shares the building with the Vector/Gene Therapy Core, Transgenic Animal Core, DNA sequencing Core, DNA Synthesis Core and the central animal facility. Additionally, we are also near imaging cores for MicroCT, MicroMRI, and IVIS imaging.

Lab Capacities

The lab is outfitted to facilitate experiments and research with tissue cultures, small animal surgeries, and molecular biology.

Center of Excellence Scaling Leadership

Leadership training and coaching offered to all laboratory members.

Professional Development

Launch teams and intentional efforts to help all members in their career development. This includes launch teams, training in writing, ethics, innovation, finances, establishing a network.

Learning Environment

Weekly team rounds Monday morning Weekly 1:1 meetings Weekly lab meetings with an emphasis on solving challenges and learning from collaborators.

Community Service Events

  • VA Bingo
  • Race Benefiting Food Gathers
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Hope Clinic

Strategic Partnerships

  • iFOPA
  • Orthopedic Surgery Laboratory
  • UM Dental School
  • Yuji Mishina lab
  • Ernestina Schipani lab
  • Kurt Hankenson Lab
  • Center for Molecular Imaging
  • Cederna laboratory
  • ICAM

Rigor and Compliance

Electronic lab notebooks, Data SOPs with automatic cloud backup, collaboration with IACUC and OSEHf.
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Diversity

The Levi Lab puts tremendous focus on creating a diverse and inclusive environment both for individuals and in thought

Awards

Dr. Levi appointed as Adjunct Associate Professor at Uniformed Services University (USUHS)

Dr. Levi awarded ACS Clowes Award

Charles Hwang, BS of Levi Lab awarded medical school Dean's Award for Research Excellence

Dr. Levi awarded AAS Plastic Surgery Young Investigator Award

Dr. Levi Awarded the ASBMR Fuller Albright Award

Dr. Levi awarded ASCI Young Investigator Award

Shawn Loder, BS of Levi Lab awarded medical school Dean's Award for Research Excellence

Dr. Levi awarded PSF Bernard G Sarnat Excellence in Grant Writing Award

Levi Laboratory awarded 2 new DOD Grants to tackle tendon injury and heterotopic ossification

Shailesh Agarwal, MD of the Levi Lab awarded Moses Gunn Crudap Award

Jonathan Peterson, BS of Levi Lab awarded medical school Dean's Award for Research Excellence

Dr. Levi awarded Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson II Promising Investigator Award

Amy Strong, MD, PhD of the Levi Laboratory Awarded NIH Surgical Oncology T32 Award

Casey Kraft, BS of Levi Lab awarded medical school Graduation with Distinction in Research Award

Dr. Levi awarded American Association for the Surgery of Trauma Research & Education Foundation Scholarship

News

Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UTSW

Support Our Research

Burn/trauma and regenerative medicine researchers in plastic surgery seek to prevent the formation of bones in abnormal locations. Gifts help alleviate this condition affecting burn, auto accident, orthopaedic surgery and blast injury patients.
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Post-Doctoral Fellow Position Available Immediately Learn more