The Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG) Research Center at KHAS is Opened

1 June 2023

The Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG) Research Center at KHAS engages in cutting-edge research, training, and teaching to solve basic questions in the life sciences and to apply biological knowledge to critical medical, agricultural and environmental problems. Our goal is to inspire the next generation of scientists, teachers, and communicators by providing research mentorship and classroom instruction in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, bioinformatics, and neuroscience and by initiating and participating in collaborative research across the world.

The Research Center is going to conduct three major projects in their specific fields: (i) neurobiology of metabolism, (ii) spinal deformities and personalized treatment strategies, and (iii) targeted small molecule anti-cancer agents in action. Specific details for each area are described below:

Metabolic disorders like obesity and neurodegenerative  diseases like Alzheimer’s disease are the leading problems of the century. It is needed to better understand the brain and the interaction between the neurons at the molecular level to gain a better understanding of these diseases. One of the overarching research interests in the Neurobiology of Metabolism (NeuroBM) Lab is to understand how the synaptic circuitry is rewired in response to environmental and metabolic demands as well as in the context of disease conditions such as neurological, neuropsychiatric or neurodegenerative diseases. The NeuroBM group is planning to achieve this by studies both at the cellular and circuit level using molecular biology, advanced imaging and electrophysiology using model organisms and cultured cells. They will also use computational approaches for predicting protein structures for insights into the molecular circuitry underlying metabolic and synaptic function in the brain.

The indispensable role of model organisms in understanding and advancing spinal deformity research has been highlighted in pioneering molecular biology studies. Led by a team of distinguished scientists at KHAS, one branch of their research will provide crucial insights into the underlying mechanisms of scoliosis, which is a complex and multifaceted spinal disease that affects millions of people worldwide. The Erdoğan Research Lab will tackle the problem of scoliosis to unravel the potential causative factors and novel therapeutic targets, and use model organisms to accelerate the understanding of this debilitating condition in humans. In addition, they will open new avenues for personalized treatment strategies through interdisciplinary collaboration with experts in molecular biology, genetics, medicine, bioinformatics, physics and mathematics.

The EBG Research Lab is interested in evaluating the targeted small molecule anti-cancer agents in action, requires the analysis of their cytotoxic activities and the identification of the molecular mechanisms that these promising putative drug candidates are involved in. Fulfilling this goal exploits the abnormal signaling activities in cancer cell lines. Further investigations are envisaged to clarify the cell death mechanisms triggered by the targeted small molecule of interest. Drug-induced cell death characterization and deciphering the action mechanisms of drug candidates are the core of our research field. 

In summary, the MBG Research Center opens its doors with three big and highly important research projects conducted by the Neurobiology of Metabolism (NeuroBM), Erdoğan and EBG Research Labs, and it will continue to add several other research projects to the already existing ones.