Advisory Board

Professor Morgan E. Levine

Morgan E. Levine, Ph.D. is a ladder-rank Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at the Yale School of Medicine and a member of both the Yale Combined Program in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and the Yale Center for Research on Aging.

Her work relies on an interdisciplinary approach, integrating theories and methods from statistical genetics, computational biology, and mathematical demography and social science to develop biomarkers of aging for humans and animal models using high-dimensional omics data.

Morgan has extensive experience using systems-level and machine learning approaches to track epigenetic, transcriptomic, and proteomic changes with aging and incorporates this information to develop measures of risk stratification for major chronic diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Morgan published a seminal research paper in 2018 entitled An epigenetic biomarker of aging for lifespan and healthspan. The work builds from the research published by Dr. Steve Horvath on predictive human longevity. Morgan took that research to another level, looking more precisely at biomarkers which indicate risk of early mortality.

According to her research, everyone has two ages: a chronological age, how old the calendar says you are, and a phenotypic or biological age, basically the age at which your body functions as it compares to average fitness or health levels.

“People of the same chronological age aren’t all at the same risk for developing cardiovascular disease or cancer or even dying,” she said. “What [the biological age] does is actually give us a better idea of where someone stands for their age.”

The article importantly pointed out — that unlike results from genetic testing — the biomarkers can changed. The biomarker science Morgan is studying is epigenetics. Knowing this can empower individuals to make changes to lifestyle, diet, exercise and sleep habits, and hopefully take steps to lower the risk and improve their biological age.

Her work also involves development of systems-level outcome measures of aging, aimed at facilitating evaluation for geroprotective interventions. A number of the existing biological aging measures she has developed are being applied in both basic and observational research. Finally, her lab is also involved in a number of collaborations to examine shared molecular signatures in normal aging and cancer.

Morgan started her career in July of 2010 as a Research Assistant at USC/UCLA in the Center of Biodemography and Population Health. A year later, she became a NIH Predoctoral Fellow at USC Davis School of Gerontology, under Eileen Crimmins as Principal Investigator.

In 2013, she became a Teaching Assistant for Data Analysis Strategies in Gerontology. She has hands-on experience in developing and testing hypotheses using various types of databases, data management, and analysis strategies and written presentation of findings. After half a year, she continued as a Lecturer of the Gerontology program Women and Aging, Psychological, Social, and Political Implications. This program discussed problems and resources of the middle-aged and older woman in a changing society; including discrimination, stereotypes, employment, and social interaction, etc.

Morgan earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Gerontology with a focus on Molecular Epidemiology of Aging from the University of Southern California in 2015. She than became an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at the UCLA Department of Human Genetics under Steve Horvath as Principal Investigator until end of 2017, when she became an Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree of Arts in Psychology from the University of Southern California in 2008.

Morgan has received multiple awards, professional honors, and recognition:

  • 2017: Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging
  • 2017: Pepper Scholar Award
  • 2015: Leena Peltonen Award in Research Excellence, UCLA
  • 2014: Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, USC
  • 2014: USC Davis School of Gerontology Teaching Fellowship, USC
  • 2014: Graduate Research Symposium Winner, Health Sciences Section, USC
  • 2014: Scholarship for the Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics, University of Washington
  • 2013: Graduate Research Symposium Winner, STEM Section, USC
  • 2010: Elaine M. Brody Paper Award, Gerontology Society of America

Her publications include:

Watch Morgan on CNN about You have two ages, chronological and biological. Here’s why it matters. Read about her research in The Guardian: Is the end nigh?: new blood tests can reveal your life expectancy. Read about her at Well and Good, Would You Take A Blood Test To See How Long You Have To Live?

To learn more about her research focus, read her Yale Research profile.

Visit her LinkedIn profile, her Yale profile and view her articles at Google Scholar and ResearchGate. Follow her on Facebook.