Brain Sciences


Professor Tim Levine

Photo of Tim, sitting down and smiling at the camera

How long have you been at UCL and what is your current role?

I have been an academic at UCL since 2000, now I’m a professor of cell biology. Well before that I studied here. Once upon a time I was born at UCL – sort of (Middlesex Hospital, now closed).

What working achievements are you most proud of?

I discovered a short stretch of protein sequence (too short to be visible to search engines) that is identical across billions of years of evolution and that uniquely takes proteins inside cells to a major intracellular site called the endoplasmic reticulum. This led me to re-frame how the internal components of cells, called organelles, relate to each other: they directly contact each other. In turn this led me to set about creating inter-organelle contact as a research field in its own right. Slowly this has come about.

What is your favourite album, film, and novel?

Tropical Brainstorm, The Third Man, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s by the great Truman Capote.

What do you like best about working in the Faculty of Brain Sciences?

Despite being a large faculty across many sites, we’re making genuine efforts to be an inclusive and diverse place to work or study, and to deliver genuine equality.

What are your future goals?

I’d love to work out how a proteins work while also bridging between organelles. To be realistic, we’re focusing on just one type of protein, and even still this is very ambitious.