University of California, Berkeley
I was born and raised in Turkey. In high school, biology, math and chemistry were my favorite subjects, and a great biology teacher encouraged me to apply to the Molecular Biology and Genetics Department in Bilkent University, Ankara. The department was relatively new, the first of its kind in Turkey, and was accepting only 15 students per year. This was a high-risk decision, but ended up being one of the best decisions I made in my life. I graduated from college in 2001 and started my academic journey in the U.S. with very little research experience but with lots of naïve ambition and curiosity. I did my PhD research in Dr. Doug Koshland’s lab at the Carnegie Institution and Johns Hopkins University. Doug’s creativity and ability to think outside the box created a very dynamic lab environment. There I studied higher order chromosome structure and its role in DNA damage signaling. For my postdoc, I worked with Dr. Angelika Amon at MIT. Angelika's fearless approach and contagious enthusiasm have been truly inspirational. I focused on meiosis, a specialized cell division that gives rise to gametes. In 2014, I joined the Molecular and Cell Biology Department at UC Berkeley. My lab studies the principles that control the nuclear and cytoplasmic integrity of gametes. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how gamete formation counteracts age-induced cellular damage and how the meiotic cells partition their genetic material. I run a joint lab with Dr. Gloria Brar, who is my best friend and scientific buddy. Outside of science, I like climbing and yoga as well as traveling and cooking yummy Mediterranean food.