Prize for Senior Israeli Bio-Medical Researcher:
Prof. Hermona Soreq
Prof. Hermona Soreq is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with a doctorate from the Weizmann Institute of Science and honorary doctorates from Stockholm University, Universität Erlangen in Germany and Ben-Gurion University.
To appreciate Prof. Soreq’s contribution to biology and medicine, a brief introduction to her research is required. Neurotransmitters are chemicals found in the brain that conduct signals from one nerve cell to another. Acetylcholine was the first neurotransmitter to be discovered and was found to be one of the primary neurotransmitters in the brain. The cholinergic system in the brain is influenced by acetylcholine and proper regulation of this neurotransmitter is necessary for healthy brain and body function.
Prof. Soreq’s interdisciplinary approach to research advanced the understanding of acetylcholine’s role in healthy and unhealthy brains and in other organs, such as the heart. Prof. Soreq uncovered the involvement of acetylcholine in the brain’s response to stressful situations, and showed that genetic differences influence sensitivity levels and reactions to stressful conditions.
During a research career of over 35 years, Prof. Soreq has worked successfully with scientists and doctors and incorporated into her research the fields of genomics, population genetics, molecular biology, bio-medicine and neurobiology. This successful combination has contributed fundamental insights to the field of neurobiology, some of which have been translated from the laboratory directly to the treatment of patients.