Leah Houri-Ze'evi

PhD student at Dr. Oded Rechavi’s laboratory

Research title
Transgenerational Feedback Regulation in Epigenetic Processes


Research project

The concept of inheritance of acquired traits has been a subject to a great controversy over the last centuries. Recent findings, however, reveal that in certain cases transgenerational inheritance of acquired information is nevertheless transmitted by epigenetic mechanisms such as RNA interference, chromatin remodeling and DNA methylation. Changes in the environment can modify these pathways, providing the organism with an ability to store and use the “memory” of its ancestor’s experience which in turn affects the individual’s immunity, stress responses and even longevity.

In contrast to the stable process of genetic inheritance, epigenetic inheritance is usually restricted in time and in most cases lasts for only a few generations after the initial response. While the mechanisms which regulate epigenetic responses within the same generation are extensively studied, little is known about the processes which underlie the transmission of the response across generations and affect its timing.

Utilizing both computational and molecular approaches we aim to study the regulation of epigenetic inheritance across generations, with two main foci: 1) the possible role of a self-regulatory system in timing the inheritance via a transgenerational-feedback loop and 2) the regulatory role of the nervous system, via stress-related pathways, in combining diverse inheritance agents and past experiences to create an “epigenetic awareness” of the previous generations’ environment.


Publications

  • Leah Houri-Ze’evi, Yael Korem, Hila Sheftel, Lior Faigenbloom, Itai A. Toker, Yael Dagan, Lama Awad, Luba Degani, Uri Alon, Oded Rechavi (2016). A Tunable Mechanism Determines the Transgenerational Duration of Small RNA Inheritance in C.elegans. Cell

  • Oded Rechavi, Leah Houri-Ze'evi, Sarit Anava, Wee Siong Sho Goh, Sze Yen Kerk, Gregory J. Hannon, Oliver Hobert (2014). Starvation-induced transgenerational inheritance of small RNAs in C.elegans. Cell

  • Leah Houri-Ze’evi, Oded Rechavi (2016). A Matter of Time: Small RNAs Regulate the Duration of Epigenetic Inheritance, Trends in Genetics

  • Leah Houri-Ze’evi, Oded Rechavi (2016), Plastic germline reprogramming of heritable small RNAs enables maintenance or erasure of epigenetic memories, RNA Biology


Awards

  • 2014: Faculty award for excellence in research or teaching

  • 2015: Sagol School travel award

    2016: Constantiner Institute for Molecular Genetics travel scholarship

    2016: Best poster and blitz presentation in the Sagol’s School of Neuroscience 2nd retreat

    2016: The Switzerland Institute of Developmental Biology excellence scholarship

    2016: Clore scholarship


Research Categories: Cellular/molecular neuroscience, Molecular biology, Molecular genetics