Assoc. Prof. Güneş Özhan ………………………..Group Leader gunes

Güneş is a molecular and developmental biologist. After completing her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen and working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Biotechnology Center of TU Dresden, she moved to her hometown Izmir in 2014, to achieve her vision of establishing an independent lab in a top-notch biomedical research center in this lovely city. Upon her return, she has been successively awarded with several grants and highly prestigious awards that helped her to start research at iBG. Nevertheless, her best award was to encounter several brilliant and talented people who decided to join the lab and without whom nothing would have been possible. She loves swimming and singing. She is also pretty good at solving puzzles, even those complicated ones in real life!

Dr. Gülçin Çakan Akdogan…….Lab Manager & Specialist


Gülcin is the manager of Ozhan Lab and the iBG Zebrafish Facility.  She studied Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bilkent University in Ankara. Then she moved to Heidelberg for her PhD and postdoc. As a predoctoral fellow, she studied cell migration and tissue morphogenesis using zebrafish lateral line as a model, in the lab of Darren Gilmour at EMBL. During her postdoc Gülcin studied cell signaling in Drosophila melanogaster in the lab of Aurelio Teleman at DKFZ. Gülcin is mother of two daughters and she is passionate about nature and education.

Dr. Ansarullah…………………………….Postdoctoral Fellow

ansar.pngAnsarullah joined Ozhan Lab in November 2015 as a postdoctoral researcher. He is currently working on the role of lipid rafts in pancreatic β-cell regeneration and Wnt/β-catenin signaling in zebrafish.   Before joining the lab, he was a postdoc in Sanford Research/USD where he worked with islet transplantation and humanized-mouse β-cell regeneration. He obtained his PhD from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda (India) where he worked with animal models of diabetes and regeneration.  Outside the lab, he likes to travel and enjoys nature photography.

Aslı Kartal, M.Sc …………………………Predoctoral Student

Aslı received her B.Sc. degree in biology with specialization in zoology from Ege University in 2011. During her Master’s studies, she worked on the toxicological effects of food additives. At the same time, she worked as an R&D personnel in a biotechnology company, where she became involved in development of an early diagnostic kit for small cell lung cancer. After this experience, she decided to return to scientific research and is now very happy with her decision. Currently, she is studying the regenerative role of Wnt/β catenin signaling in adult zebrafish brain. Her main responsibility in the lab is providing various foods for the lab meetings with the help of her mother. Besides, she likes to swim and read books on human psychology and she hopes to become a wine taster in future.

Yeliz Garanlı, M.Sc …………………….Predoctoral Student

Yeliz GARANLIYeliz graduated from Istanbul University, Department of Biology. She completed Master’s degree at Ankara University, Institute of Biotechnology. After working at Yeditepe University, Department of Basic Medical Sciences for seven years, she decided to continue her career as a research assistant at Izmir University of Economics, Department of Biomedical Engineering. She is now resuming her doctorate studies at Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir International Biomedicine and Genome Institute in Özhan Lab. She is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of brain regeneration and glioma formation using the zebrafish model. Yeliz enjoys taking landscape photographs and being in nature.

 Özgün Özalp, M.Sc ………………………Predoctoral Student

ozgun.jpgÖzgün graduated from Ege University with a Bachelor degree in Biology. He did an Erasmus internship in the Max F. Perutz Laboratories in Vienna Biocenter. Then, he obtained his Master’s degree in Medical Biology from Ege University. His Master thesis was about drug combination on brain cancer stem cells. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD degree at Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir International Biomedicine and Genome Institute. His research focuses on regulation of canonical Wnt signaling at the plasma membrane. In addition, he likes learning new languages and collecting postcards.

Yağmur Azbazdar, M.Sc………….Predoctoral Student


Yağmur received her B.Sc. degree in Biochemistry at Ege University  in June 2015.  As part of her undergraduate project, she worked on protein purification and enzymatic digestion. During her internship at the Molecular Biology and Genetics Department of IZTECH, she gained experience in molecular biology applications and protein purification techniques. She completed her Master’s degree at Özhan Lab in 2017. She is interested in how the plasma membrane is mechanistically involved in regulation of Wnt signaling. Yağmur likes to watch scary/horror movies and loves to eat limonette cheesecake. She enjoys ice skating and walking by the seashore.

Esra Katkat……………………………………Master’s Student

esra3Esra joined our lab in October 2016 right after receiving her B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Istanbul Technical University. She did internships at Istanbul University and IZTECH. Her graduation project mainly aimed at screening the genetic stability of S. Cerevisiae strains that have caffeine stress tolerance. Currently, she is a Master’s student at Izmir International Biomedicine and Genome Institute in Dokuz Eylül University. She is interested in melanoblasts and regeneration of melanocytes in zebrafish models.Esra enjoys nature walks, swimming, reading books and video games. Moreover, she loves spending time with her lovely cat.

Gökhan Cucun……………………………..Master’s Student

img_4842-e1510064810749.jpgGökhan graduated from Ege University Department of Biology, majored in Molecular Biology and Genetics. He did internship in plant stress physiology lab. His undergraduate thesis focused on understanding the effects of arsenic on mitochondria alternative electron sinks in Arabidopsis. Gökhan had an opportunity to work as a trainee in Özhan lab when he was an undergraduate student. During his internship he was fascinated by the regeneration ability of the zebrafish. Currently, he is a Master’s student in Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir Biomedicine and Genome Institute and he is working on brain regeneration in adult zebrafish as a model system. He enjoys swimming and learning French.

Meryem Özaydın………………………..Zebrafish Caregiver

meryem_balikMeryem is the caregiver of our zebrafish facility. After working at various jobs such as cleaning and trade for 17 years, she has recently joined the zebrafish facility team as caregiver. Meryem impressed us all with her curiosity and talent in a very short time. Currently she takes care of the fish, cleans the aquarium systems, helps us with fish setups and transgenic screens. Meryem was not allowed to attend school when she was a child. Nevertheless, she managed to receive education and obtained primary and secondary school diplomas. She continues her high school education with a distant education program. Meanwhile, she decided to learn English 🙂


Betül Haykır, M.Sc………………………Former Master’s student

DSC_6685 (1).jpgBetül joined the lab in September 2014. She obtained her B.Sc. degree from IZTECH in Molecular Biology and Genetics. She had been to Oxford University as an Erasmus Scholar to learn generating zebrafish transgenic lines using TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9 techniques. She earned her MSc degree from Özhan Lab in 2017 with her work on molecular characterization of the role of a novel Wnt/β-catenin pathway inhibitor. Apart from lab work, she likes to travel, play volleyball, and watch cartoons. And one day she plans to go to Saturn!

İsmail Küçükaylak, M.Sc…………..Former Master’s Student

ismail.jpgİsmail joined our laboratory in September 2014. He received his B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Istanbul Technical University. He did an Erasmus internship at the Center for Regenerative Therapies, Dresden, Germany. He investigated the role of a potential novel regulator of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway during development and fin regeneration, and earned his MSc degree from Özhan Lab in 2017. He enjoys reading books, visiting social and cultural attractions and doing yoga.