2016 TÜBA GEBİB Award

Author: elif yılmaz

Congratulations to our faculty members for their success with the TÜBA GEBİB Award.

  • Assoc. Prof. Şener Aktürk: Sener Akturk is a scholar of comparative politics broadly defined, with a focus on comparative politics of ethnicity, religion, and nationalism, especially in Germany, Russia, and Turkey. He developed the typology of three “regimes of ethnicity” (monoethnic, antiethnic, and multiethnic), and a theory of “ethnic regime change” in his book, Regimes of Ethnicity and Nationhood in Germany, Russia, and Turkey (Cambridge University Press, 2012), which received the 2013 Joseph Rothschild book prize. While writing on German, Russian, and Turkish politics primarily, Akturk has also published on identity politics in Afghanistan, Algeria, Austria, Greece, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and Central Asia. He is currently working on a handbook on state policies toward ethnic and religious diversity in 172 countries with a population over quarter million, which is the result of a global expert survey he conducted on fifteen state policies around the world between 2010 and 2014. He is also working on several projects related to religion and nationalism; the representation of Muslim minorities in European politics; Jewish intellectuals’ contributions to Turkish nationalism; and the political consequences of Greek-Turkish population exchange.
  • Asst. Prof. Cory David Dunn: Cory Dunn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Koç University. He directs a research laboratory focused on mitochondria, cellular structures which are often considered to be the 'power plants' of the cell. Most prominently, he studies the outcome of mitochondrial dysfunction, since mitochondrial damage accumulates throughout our lifespan and may be a proximal cause of aging. His work has also touched upon topics such as: the identification of drug targets within mitochondria, targeting of proteins to mitochondria, and the link between nutrient sensation and mitochondrial activity. Cory Dunn's research is currently funded by a grant from the European Research Council.
  • Assoc. Prof. İlke Öztekin Gillam: Associate Professor Öztekin Gilliam's broad area of research is Human Memory. More specifically, she is interested in investigating the controlled processes that support memory function. She has focused on two primary lines of research related to cognitive control of working memory and episodic memory retrieval. One line of her research has investigated representational sates in memory. Another line of the research investigates interference resolution in memory, particularly during working memory retrieval. The research employs the response deadline speed-accuracy trade-off (SAT) procedure—a sophisticated behavioral method that investigates the time-course of memory retrieval using model fitting—to investigate the cognitive behavioral mechanisms that support memory function, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify the corresponding neural mechanisms.
  • Asst. Prof. Mehmet Gönen: Assistant Professor Gönen's research interests revolve around developing machine learning algorithms that enable scientific discovery from heterogeneous data. Machine learning methods are usually constrained by the quality of feature representations and similarity measures that describe objects. His main focus has been to learn good feature representations and similarity measures by developing theoretically well-founded algorithms that uncover underlying mechanisms of complex systems under consideration using my statistics and optimization background. He has focused on applications that lie at the intersection of theoretical and applied research, in particular those arising in computational biology.In the future, machine learning will become even more widespread to analyze high-dimensional data coming from complex systems such as cancer. In this vein of research, his current research agenda integrates novel machine learning solutions into cancer biology. However, it is not yet very clear how to benefit from the results of these studies for practice changes at the bedside. There are three major challenges in cancer biology: (i) being able to analyze the rapidly increasing amount of high-throughput data with these computational methods, possibly incorporating prior knowledge as well, (ii) being able to develop computational methods that support personalized cancer therapies based on biological characterization of each patient, and (iii) being able to explore the molecular mechanisms of cancer to identify and validate novel biomarkers.
  • Asst. Prof. Elif Nur Fırat Karalar: Starting with her undergraduate education at Bilkent University, Assistant Proferssor Karalar has been involved in biomedical research. She completed her PhD in the laboratory of Matthew Welch at UC Berkeley, where she focused on the characterization of actin polymerization pathways in cells. During her postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Tim Stearns at Stanford University, she took a multidisciplinary approach to identify the centriole proteome and address the interactions among centrosome proteins. Since June 2014, she has joined the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Koç University where her laboratory focuses on the biology of centrosomes, cilia and microtubules.
  • Asst. Prof. Sarp Kaya: Assistant Professor Sarp Kaya'a research has primarily focused upon understanding the surface and interface chemistry at an atomic and/or molecular level. Professor Kaya and his research team is working on developing methods to investigate electronic and chemical nature of the interfacial processes that are important for energt and electronicapplications.
  • Asst. Prof. Nathan Allan Lack: Assistant Professor Nathan Lack is currently conducting his research at the School of Medicine of Koç University. The "Lack Lab" at Koç University works on the prostate cancer which is known to be a remarkably common disease that affects one out of every seven European and Turkish men in their lifetime. At all stages of this disease the androgen receptor (AR) is critical to the growth and proliferation of the cancer. Given the importance of this nuclear receptor in prostate cancer our laboratory is focused on better understanding the mechanisms of this complex transcription factor. We are particularly interested in developing new experimental approaches that can delineate the molecular underpinning of AR mediated transcription.
  • Asst. Prof. Alper Uzun: Assistant Professor Alper Uzun is conducting his research at Chemical and Biological Engineering at Koç University. His research interests focus on  achieving an atomic-level understanding on the structure-activity relationships in catalytic systems; and on utilizing it to tailor the catalytic structures to have an ultimate control over their performance.