Prof. Hermona Soreq

A. Personal Statement The very first medications for both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (AD, PD) were targeted at acetylcholine (ACh) signaling. In this respect, I have pioneered and led the molecular research on ACh signaling and its RNA regulators by integrating the neuroscience aspects of this field with its molecular biology, evolution and biochemistry framework. I have further introduced the molecular control over ACh functioning into the medical vocabulary and I currently study the complexity of those mechanisms controlling ACh functioning. I explore the short and long non-coding RNA regulators of ACh signaling, including microRNAs and more recently, transfer RNA fragments (miRs, tRFs). I initiated and have led studies of how these RNAs affect ACh-mediated processes and inflammation in health and disease, in women and men; and I have developed an innovative RNA-based therapeutic approach for myasthenia gravis and Crone’s disease which preceded the RNA therapeutics era. I am hence most capable of studying the molecular regulators of AD&PD, with a focus on non-coding RNAs and disease and stress-related conditions. My work links basic and biomedical studies on parasympathetic functions in health and disease, particularly on anxiety-related topics which are highly relevant for AD&PD. Recently, I have initiated research into the yet unclear differences between mental disease-related cholinergic mechanisms in men and women brains and in neurodegenerating brains of patients living with AD and PD. My publications highlight the complex control over ACh synthesis, its activation of receptors and its enzymatic degradation under small RNAs interference. This work can shed new light on the yet unknown mechanisms underlying the recent clinical big data reports on the impact of anti-cholinergic medications as risk factors of dementia in the elderly. I was trained at The Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, The Weizmann Institute of Science and the Rockefeller University. I joined the faculty of The Hebrew University in 1986, where I hold a University Slesinger Chair in Molecular Neuroscience and am a founding member of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Science; I use molecular biology and genomics to explore ACh signaling, with a recent focus on its short and long non-coding RNA regulators, including miRs and tRFs in both basic and biomedical studies on cholinergic signaling in health and anxiety-related diseases. I am the elected President of the International Organization of Cholinergic Mechanisms since 2013 and served as the elected Dean of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Science (2005-2008), authored hundreds of publications, including 56 published in Science, Nature, PNAS, Neuron and other high-impact journals and have won significant funding from US, European and Israeli National and private foundations including an Advanced ERC Award and Israeli I-Core Center of Excellence on mass trauma and Precision Medicine project on Alzheimer’s disease.