Carol J Soroka, PhD

Senior Research Scientist in Medicine (Digestive Diseases); Technical Director, Liver Center Morphology Core

Research Interests

Cholestasis; Digestive System Diseases; Liver Diseases; Hepatocytes

Research Organizations

Internal Medicine: Digestive Diseases | Liver Center

Faculty Research

Stem Cell Center, Yale

Research Summary

Our lab is interested in how the liver is able to adapt to diseases that impair bile secretion. Specifically, we are interested in the expression of proteins of the main liver cell, called the hepatocye. In different disease states the liver attempts to up- or down-regulate specific proteins in order to compensate for its inability to secrete toxic substances. We utilize rodent models of liver disease and genetically altered mouse models in order to study the liver function. These models have allowed us to understand adaptive responses in the liver, as well as in other organs such as the kidney and intestine.

Specialized Terms: Cholestatic liver diseases; Hepatocyte; Membrane transporters

Extensive Research Description

The primary cell of the liver is the hepatocyte, a polarized epithelial cell that is essential to the normal homeostasis of the body. Specific transporters on the apical and basolateral membranes of the hepatocyte are necessary for the liver to carry out its tasks of clearing xenobiotics from the blood, for metabolizing drugs, for synthesizing cholesterol and bile salts, and producing bile which is necessary for digestion of fats. In conditions of cholestasis, the liver cannot carry out many of these tasks normally. My research involves understanding the role of these membrane transporters in health and disease; specifically, studying adaptive changes which occur in cholestasis to allow the body to compensate during the disease process. My research utilizes morphology, biochemistry and molecular biology in animal models of cholestasis.

My main research project at this time is the characterization of an organic solute transporter, Osta-Ostb, which is up-regulated during cholestasis. This transporter is expressed highly in the intestine, kidney, and (human) liver and is essential for homeostatic control of bile acid biosynthesis. I have characterized its heterodimeric nature and have shown in a genetically deficient mouse that during obstructive cholestasis its absence may play a protective role by augmenting renal clearance of bile acids.

In the past year I have begun to isolate and characterize adult progenitor (stem) cells (organoids) from human cholestatic livers, especially Primary Scherosing Cholangitis. The goal of this study is to look for genetic markers that may distinguish different forms of PSC, and to establish a biobank of these cells which may be used in future studies of human cholestatic diseases.

Selected Publications

Full List of PubMed Publications

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Contact Info

Carol J Soroka, PhD
Mailing Address
Digestive DiseasesInt Med-Digestive
Yale University

New Haven, CT 06520-8019

Curriculum Vitae

Yale Liver Center

Liver organoids from three patients

Ductular derived progenitor cells were isolated from explants of human livers and grown in culture under defined conditions. These organoids express cholangiocyte and stem cell markers They have been maintained in culture for >1 month and frozen down for future genetic analysis.