Hermona Soreq Lab

ELSC Members

Charlotte Slesinger Chair In Cancer Studies, Emeritus
Soreq Lab

Hermona Soreq was trained at The Hebrew University, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Tel Aviv University and the Rockefeller University. She joined The Hebrew University in 1986, holds a University Slesinger Chair and is a founding member of ELSC. Soreq’s research pioneered the application of molecular biology and genomics to the study of cholinergic signaling, with a recent focus on its RNA processing regulation and on signaling changes. She is the elected President of the International Organization of Cholinergic Mechanisms and served as the elected Dean of the Faculty of Science in 2005-2008. Soreq has authored hundreds of publications, including 60 published in Science, Nature, PNAS, Neuron and other high-impact journals. Notably, 25 of Soreq’s trainees are currently faculty members in Israeli universities (in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, the Galilee and Beer Sheva) and international ones (UC Berkeley, Maryland, Ann Arbor, Paris, Tours, Gottingen, London). Others are post-doctoral fellows, employed by government and private biotechnology organizations and companies involved in Life Sciences, or are presently PhD students in her lab.

Soreq’s studies address the molecular regulators of acetylcholine (ACh) functioning, with a recent focus on Non-coding RNAs, especially MicroRNAs (miRs) and transfer RNA fragments (tRFs), which have rapidly emerged as global regulators of gene expression, yet the full scope of their roles in brain and body functioning remains largely unknown. She combines advanced sequencing technologies with computational neuroscience and cell culture and transgenic engineering tools to investigate miR and tRF functions in the healthy and diseased brain, with a focus on ACh-related processes. Her studies discovered cholinergic brain-to-body regulation of anxiety and inflammation and found “CholinomiR” and “CholinotRF” silencers of multiple genes that compete with each other on suppressing inflammation, anxiety and metabolic targets and controlling epilepsy. Studying such small RNA interactions with a focus on sex- and age-related differences, Soreq tests CholinomiR- and CholinotRF-based intervention with diseases involving impaired ACh signaling. In engineered mice, Soreq found that CholinomiR levels increase under stress, inflammation, ischemic stroke and obesity, whereas in Alzheimer’s brains she found massive CholinomiRs decline, accompanying modifications in alternative splicing and transcript processing that differs from those occurring in Parkinson’s disease brains. In human volunteers, she found cholinergic-associated pulse increases under fear of terror, and elevated trait anxiety, blood pressure and inflammation under inherited interference with acetylcholinesterase (AChE)-targeting CholinomiRs, with recently shown sex-related differences. Soreq studies the molecular regulators of cholinergic signaling, with a focus on non-coding RNAs and stress-related diseases.