What are you currently working on and what is the importance of your scientific questions?
Most proteins need to fold into distinct structures to fulfill their function. Defects in protein folding leads to protein aggregation, prevalent in many neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore how cells deal with protein folding defects is a fundamental biological question. In my lab, we investigate how cells sense and adapt to the conditions that challenge their protein folding capacity. We specifically focus on how protein synthesis is tuned to match cellular folding demands. To answer these questions in mechanistic detail, we combine cell biology with biochemistry and biophysical methods.
What’s special about your approach?
Trying to understand how cells adapt to different environments in a very detailed, mechanistic manner. We combine different approaches and look at the molecules in atomic resolution and bring this information to a cellular level to see how in the complexity of cells these little machines talk to each other.
When did you decide to become a scientist?
During my high school years, molecular biology was very popular and I was very much into Chemistry and Biology. I realized if you want to learn about life you have to combine all this knowledge – which makes cell biology so attractive. You use knowledge from different fields to understand how basic life is possible. It was thus a deliberate decision to become a basic researcher. I am excited by the idea that we discover the unknown about the most fundamental things in life. How a cell works to make life possible. This has always fascinated me.
What would be your advice to young scientists?
Communication is very important in science. I am reflecting on my own shortcomings when I started in research, I think I also didn’t communicate enough. So my advice would be to ask questions and don’t be shy to seek advice from other people who have more experience. Also, being challenged by more experienced colleagues brings you forward faster. Trust yourself, believe in yourself and believe in development. If you are not good at something, don’t give up, just try to be better. We as scientists should never be complacent, we always have to get better and progress. This is what I love about science.
More Information: Group Karagöz