Molecular Biology and Genetics Seminars: Assoc. Prof. Güneş Özhan

KHAS Cibali Campus Fener Hall

Assoc. Prof. Güneş Özhan from Izmir Biomedicine and Genome Center will be the next guest of the seminar series organized by KHAS Molecular Biology and Genetics with her speech Comparative analysis of the molecular mechanisms of regeneration and cancer using the zebrafish model: Are they two sides of the same coin?” on Thursday, September 29 at 3:00 pm in Fener Hall. 

Abstract: Tissue regeneration and cancer share remarkable features including activation of cell proliferation, cell migration and inflammatory response. Yet, tumors considerably differ from the regenerating tissue with respect to abnormal proliferation, invasive growth and metastasis. Thus, it is likely that cancer resembles early stages of regeneration with increased proliferation but separates from the later stages with reduced proliferation and enhanced differentiation. However, common and diverge mechanisms of regeneration and cancer have not yet been comparatively analyzed at the level of gene expression in an organism with a remarkable regeneration capability to regenerate. Here, by exploiting the zebrafish melanocytes that can efficiently regenerate and be induced to undergo malignant melanoma, we unravel the transcriptome profiles of the regenerating melanocytes during early and late regeneration, and the melanocytic nevi and malignant melanoma. Transcriptome analysis demonstrated differentially expressed genes that are common and distinct between melanocyte differentiation and melanoma at their different stages. Our global comparison of the gene expression profiles of melanocyte regeneration and nevi/melanoma uncovers opposite regulation of particular signaling pathways between regeneration and cancer. Functional experiments reveal that the mechanisms of regeneration can be exploited to correct dysregulated molecular pathways and malignant transformation in cancer.

About the Speaker: Dr. Gunes Ozhan earned her bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Middle East Technical University in 2003 and her PhD degree in 2009 with her thesis work on the molecular evolution of embryonic development in arthropods, which was carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen. She completed her post-doctoral studies on developmental biology and cell signaling using the zebrafish model at the Biotechnology Center of Dresden University of Technology. Afterwards Dr. Ozhan joined Izmir Biomedicine and Genome Center in 2014 and established her independent research laboratory as well as a zebrafish facility. Upon her return, she has been successively awarded Reintegration Fellowship of TUBITAK, EMBO Installation Grant, L’Oréal Turkey For Women In Science award, Academy of Science BAGEP award, Turkish Academy of Sciences GEBIP award and the METU Parlar Research and Technology Incentive Award. Her major research interests include understanding the regulatory mechanisms of Wnt signaling, the biology of tissue regeneration using the zebrafish model and generating zebrafish models of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Currently she is an associate professor at Dokuz Eylul University and a principal investigator at Izmir Biomedicine and Genome Center.

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