Tolga Sutlu, Ph.D., Group Leader

Tolga received a B.Sc. degree in Biological Sciences and Bioengineering from Sabancı University in 2004. He worked as a Molecular Biologist in Acibadem Genetic Diagnosis and Cell Therapy Center Istanbul for a year before moving to Sweden to attend Stockholm Research School in Molecular Life Sciences in 2005. He received his Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from Karolinska Institutet in 2012. After a further 1.5 years of postdoctoral research at the Center for Hematology and Regenerative Medicine of Karolinska Institutet, he joined Sabancı University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center in February 2014.

He is a founding partner of Vycellix, Inc. and serves as a board member for the Turkish Society of Immunology and the Molecular Biology Association of Turkey.

Basak Ozata, DVM, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher

Basak received a DVM degree from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Istanbul University in 2004. After graduation she worked as a research assistant at Dept. of Cell and Developmental Biology at University of Virginia, USA for about four years. Then she moved to Germany and received her Ph.D. degree on the subject of "Functional and Kinetic Analysis of COPI Machinery" from Biochemistry Center at the University of Heidelberg in 2013. She returned to Turkey as a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences of Sabanci University. She joined our lab in February 2018 and is currently working on a biosimilar drug development project supported by TUBITAK.

BasakOzataFoto copy

Ayhan Parlar, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

Ayhan took his B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Istanbul University in 2014. During his undergraduate studies he has led a project on “ULBP2 Expression In Lung and Cervical Cancer Induced by Genotoxic Agents” supported with a TÜBİTAK 2209a Undergraduate Research Projects Grant. He also has internship experiences at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm and at Haydarpaşa Numune Education and Research Hospital Genetic Diagnosis Center, Istanbul. He joined our lab in 2015 for his M.Sc. degree, which he received in January 2017 and continues his Ph.D. studies with us. Ayhan currently focuses on developing methods of genetic modification for targeting NK cells to tumor-associated antigens.

Didem Özkazanç, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

Didem graduated from TED Ankara College in 2008 and received her B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Bilkent University in 2012. She worked as a research assistant in Erasmus University Rotterdam for a year and engaged in a study on the role of XLF in N-nucleotide addition during V(D)J recombination. She got her M.Sc. degree in Tumor Biology and Immunology at Hacettepe University Cancer Institute in 2015. Her  work at  Assoc. Prof.Dr. Güneş Esendağlı’s lab involved a collaboration project on neuroimmunology and mainly focused on “Costimulatory signals derived from myeloid leukemia cells contribute to functional exhaustion in CD4+ T cells”. She started her Ph.D. studies in our lab in September 2015 and her current research interest is molecular targets in cancer immunotherapy.


Mertkaya Aras, M.Sc., Ph.D. Student

Mertkaya graduated from Ege University with a B.Sc. degree in Bioengineering in 2010. He receşved his M.Sc. degree in Medical Biology at Ege University in 2013 focusing on complementary medicine in cancer treatment. His thesis investigated the therapeutic effects of a candidate extract called Fucoidan on androgen sensitive and insensitive prostate cancer cells. He started his Ph. D. studies in our lab in February 2016 and mainly focuses on biosimilar drug development and genetically modified NK cells.

Cevriye Pamukçu, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

Cevriye graduated from Istanbul University with a B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics in 2009. She received her M.Sc. degree in Biotechnology at Yeditepe University in 2011. Her thesis was about the relationship between stem cells and cancer cells. She demonstrated that human tooth germ stem cells (hTGSCs) play a role in the growth of tumor cells by decreasing the effect of anti-cancer drugs but genetically modified hTGSCs expressing TRAIL and DKK-1 (apoptotic factors) might be a potential gene and cell therapy approach to treat certain types of cancer. She started her Ph.D. in our lab in February 2016 and currently focuses on biosimilar drug development and cancer immunotherapy.


Lolai Ikromzoda, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

Lola Ikromzoda has graduated from Fatih University Genetics and Bioenginering with high honor in 2012. During her undergrad, she had an internship in EMBL Heidelberg in Pepperkok’s group. She worked as research assistant in Fatih University for three years and got her M.Sc. degree from the same university in Genetics and Bioengineering Department under supervision of Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Fatih Abasıyanık with a thesis on the role of angiotensin converting enzyme polymorphisms on Transient Tachypnea of Newborns. She started her Ph.D. in our lab in February 2016 and currently focuses on biosimilar drug development.

Pegah Zahedimaram, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

Pegah received her B.Sc. in Pure Chemistry from Shahid Beheshti University (Iran) in 2012. She got her M.Sc. degree in Analytical Chemistry from the same University in 2014 working on liquid -phase microextraction methods and separation techniqes including HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromotography) and GC (Gas Chromotography). She also worked as a research assistant in Chemistry Research Center at Shahid Beheshti University in 2014. She has joined our lab in February 2016 and currently works towards her Ph.D. degree. Her research interests include antibody purification methods and biosimilar drug development.


Aydan Saraç, M.Sc., Ph.D. student

Aydan received her B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Boğaziçi University in 2012. She had support through a prestigious TUBITAK scholarship during her education because of her success at the national university entry exam. She is a member of Advanced Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Group (IGBAM) team since April 2013 in TUBİTAK Marmara Research Center. She is mainly involved in library preparation steps for next-generation sequencing applications such as genomics, epigenomics, exomics and transcriptomics analysis and working with Illumina Platforms, Hiseq2000 and 2500. She started her M.Sc. studies in our lab in September 2015 and would like to focus on analysis of data originating from omics resources.

Elif Çelik, B.Sc. M.Sc Student

Elif graduated from İzmir Karşıyaka Anatolian High School in 2013 and received her B.Sc. degree in Bioengineering from Ege University in 2017. She had internship experiences at Dokuz Eylül Oncology Institute and at Sabancı University Nanotechnology Research Center (SUNUM) with us. During her undergraduate studies, she worked at Ege University Department of Bioengineering BioTherapeutics and BioDiagnostics Lab.,  she has led a project on “Formation of in vitro Skin Melanoma Model with 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional Co-culture and Anti-Cancer Efficacy of β-Carotene Tested in This Model” supported with a TÜBİTAK 2209-B Industry Oriented Undergraduate Research Project Grant. She started her M.Sc studies in our lab in September 2017.


Alp Ertunga Eyüpoğlu, B.Sc., M.Sc. student

Ertunga received his B.Sc. degree in Bioengineering from Yildiz Technical University in 2016. in his B.Sc. thesis, he focused on light-responsive biopolymer conjugates as a prototype for cancer diagnosis and therapy. He moved to study on manipulating MG63 bone osteosarcoma cells by Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW) in The University of Glasgow. Ertunga joined our lab in September 2016 since then he focuses on antibody-protein interactions and performs Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) tests of biopharmaceuticals.


Ece Canan Sayitoglu, Ph.D.

Received her Ph.D. degree at #sutlulab in Jan. 2017

(Sep. 2018) Works as a postdoctoral researcher at Dr. Adil Doganay Duru's lab at Nova Southeastern University, Florida.

Esen Dogan, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher at #sutlulab (2015-2016)

(Sep. 2018) Works as a Bioanalytical Specialist at Nobel Pharmaceuticals.

Gizem Hazal Senturk

Hazal has done her graduation thesis in our lab at the final year of her studies towards a B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering at Sabancı University.