19 Facts About Michael Levitt


Michael Levitt, is a South African-born biophysicist and a professor of structural biology at Stanford University, a position he has held since 1987.


In 2018, Michael Levitt was a founding co-editor of the Annual Review of Biomedical Data Science.


Michael Levitt was born in Pretoria, South Africa, to a Jewish family from Plunge, Lithuania; his father was from Lithuania and his mother from the Czech Republic.


Michael Levitt attended Sunnyside Primary School and then Pretoria Boys High School between 1960 and 1962.


Michael Levitt spent 1963 studying applied mathematics at the University of Pretoria.


Michael Levitt attended King's College London, graduating with a first-class honours degree in Physics in 1967.


Michael Levitt was a PhD student in Computational biology at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and was based at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology from 1968 to 1972, where he developed a computer program for studying the conformations of molecules that underpinned much of his later work.


Michael Levitt served in the Israel Defense Forces for six weeks in 1985.


Michael Levitt went on to gain a research fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.


Michael Levitt was one of the first researchers to conduct molecular dynamics simulations of DNA and proteins and developed the first software for this purpose.


Michael Levitt is currently well known for developing approaches to predict macromolecular structures, having participated in many Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction competitions, where he criticised molecular dynamics for inability to refine protein structures.


Michael Levitt has worked on simplified representations of protein structure for analysing folding and packing, as well as developing scoring systems for large-scale sequence-structure comparisons.


Michael Levitt has mentored many successful scientists, including Mark Gerstein and Ram Samudrala.


Michael Levitt has served on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the following companies: Dupont Merck Pharmaceuticals, AMGEN, Protein Design Labs, Affymetrix, Molecular Applications Group, 3D Pharmaceuticals, Algodign, Oplon Ltd, Cocrystal Discovery, InterX, and StemRad, Ltd,.


Michael Levitt has been outspoken during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and made a number of predictions on the disease's spread based on his own modelling.


Michael Levitt was elected an EMBO Member in 1983, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002, and received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Martin Karplus and Arieh Warshel, "for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems".


Michael Levitt received the DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences in 2014.


Michael Levitt was elected an ISCB Fellow by the International Society for Computational Biology in 2015.


Michael Levitt is the sixth Israeli to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in under a decade.