I have obtained my BSc (1999) and MSc (2001) degrees in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bilkent University, Turkey. During this time, I completed my BSc thesis in Cancer Genetics in the lab of Prof Tayfun Ozcelik and my MSc thesis in Molecular Physiology in the lab of Dr Can Akcali. I then joined the group of Prof Peter Gruss for my PhD studies at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany. I received my PhD degree (2007) on a thesis project that aimed to elucidate the role of axon guidance receptors during the embryonic development of the brain in murine models.
In my first postdoctoral position (2007-2009), I worked in the group of Dr Kamal Chowdhury at the same Max Planck Institute to elucidate the role of the microRNA-212/132 in the development of mammary gland and brain as well as during the pathology of the cardiac failure. Afterwards, I joined the group of Dr Thomas Hoffmann at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany, (2010-2012) to study the role of Hipk2 in mammary epithelial and breast cancer stem cells. Subsequently, I joined the group of Prof Bruno Kyewski at DKFZ as a senior postdoc (2012-2014) to identify and characterise the thymic epithelial stem cells.
In 2014 I joined the group of Prof Charles Streuli at the University of Manchester as a Research Associate (2014-2016) and studied the role of Rac1 signalling in breast cancer stem cells.
In 2016 I have been awarded a prestigious Scientific Fellowship from Breast Cancer Now, which allowed me to set up my own lab in January 2017 at the University of Manchester. The research focus of my lab will be to dissect molecular pathways involved in the regulation of stem cells during breast development and breast tumourigenesis. A particular focus of my current and future work will be to identify exclusive and comprehensive stem cell markers for both the mammary epithelial stem cells and breast cancer stem cells and to develop specific stem cell-targeted therapies for different breast cancer subtypes.