Leemor Joshua-Tor, Ph.D. is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She was trained at Tel-Aviv University, where she earned a B.Sc. in chemistry, and at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, where she earned a Ph.D. in chemistry. She was a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) prior to joining the CSHL faculty. At CSHL, she was the Director of the Undergraduate Summer Research Program and then the Dean of the Watson School of Biological Sciences, CSHL’s graduate school. She is the recipient of the Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award from the Protein Society and a Beckman Young Investigator Award, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She served on several advisory committees at the National Institutes of Health and serves on the editorial boards of a number of international scientific journals. She was elected as a member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Leemor Joshua-Tor's laboratory studies the molecular basis of nucleic acid regulatory processes, in particular RNA interference (RNAi) and DNA replication. She is perhaps best known for her work revealing the inner workings of components of the gene-silencing machinery of RNA interference. She discovered the role of an enigmatic protein called Argonaute, also known as Slicer, at the heart of the RNAi machinery. In addition to basic mechanisms of gene silencing, she has been studying the regulation of the miRNA let-7, important in embryonic development and differentiation. She is also known for her studies of E1, a key factor in the replication of papillomavirus, a virus that causes cervical cancer. Dr. Joshua-Tor discovered how E1 moves along DNA, which has had implications for molecular motors in many fields of biology. More recently, she has been examining the eukaryotic DNA replication machinery with the human Origin Recognition Complex (ORC) as the centerpiece of these studies.

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Primary Section

Section 21: Biochemistry

Secondary Section

Section 29: Biophysics and Computational Biology