Dr. Amir Levine, who grew up in Israel and Canada, has always had a fascination with biology and the brain. His mother, a popular science editor who valued creativity and self-motivation, allowed Amir to stay home from school whenever he wanted and study what interested him. Although this freedom sometimes got him into trouble, during high school he wrote his first large-scale work, about birds of prey in the Bible and in ancient Assyria and Babylon. His thesis examined the evolution of symbolism from a culture of multiple deities to one of monotheism. After high school Amir served as a press liaison in the Israeli army. He worked with renowned journalists such as Thomas Friedman, Glenn Frankel, Ted Koppel and others, and was awarded a citation of excellence for his service.
After his compulsory army service, having developed a passion for working with people as well as a love for science, Amir enrolled in medical school at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he received numerous awards. During medical school he organized student meetings with Dr. Eiferman, a psychoanalyst, to discuss how doctors can preserve their sensitivity to the hospitalized patient’s needs while negotiating a complex hospital hierarchy. He was awarded the faculty prize for his graduation thesis, Human Sexuality Viewed from the Perspective of Childhood Gender Nonconformity, which was later adapted for a university seminar.
Amir’s interest in human behavior led him to a residency in adult psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute, where he was ranked first in his class for three consecutive years. He received several awards, including an American Psychoanalytic Fellowship, which gave him a rare opportunity to work with a world-renowned psychoanalyst, the late Jabob Arlow. Amir then specialized in child and adolescent psychiatry. While working in a therapeutic nursery with mothers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and their toddlers, Amir witnessed the power of attachment to heal and realized the importance of attachment principles in the daily lives of adults as well as children. During the last year of his 3-year child fellowship, Amir joined the lab of the late James (Jimmy) Schwartz, a renowned neuroscientist.