News from Cytoskeleton Research Laboratory

January 2021

Sevket Onur Taflan successfully defended his Ms.C. thesis on functional dissection of centriolar satellite  positioning in cells. Onur has recently started a new biotech company and is the Chief Technology Officer at Vitrosens Biotechnology. We wish him all the best in growing his company!

January 2021

We had a great start in 2020 in terms of grant funding. We are looking forward to implementing the new projects we proposed and the results related to the biology of the centrosome/cilium complex and ciliopathies.

1- Our project on the biology of a new ciliary sub-comparment and ciliopathies were funded by 2247-A National Leader Researchers Program, which supports 4 PhD students, 1 Postdoctoral Researcher and research funding. This is a new program initiated by TUBITAK to fund high risk, high fund national projects (i.e. Turkish ERC). We are hoping to test our new ideas with this project and build a new ERC proposal with the findings revealed by it.

2- Our joint project with with Krzystof Rogowski’s group in the Institute of Human Genetics were selected for funding by the TUBITAK-Bosphorus Joint Project.

3- Our EMBO Installation Grant was extended for 2 more years (2021-2023)

December 2020

Elif received the 2020 ODTU Parlar Vakfi Research Encouragement Award.

December 2020

All lab members attended the Cell Bio Virtual 2020 meeting, which gave us the perfect opportunity to follow latest advances in cell biology. Melis presented a poster on her recent results on the relationship between Aurora kinase and centriolar satellites. Elif and Susan Dutcher (University of Washington, St. Louis)  organized a special subgroup on “Centrioles, Basal Bodies and Centrosomes“.

10 November 2020

Elif  received the IBG Science Medal Award during the IBG Science Day organized on 10th November for commemoration of Ataturk. IBG (Izmir Biomedicine and Genome Center) Science Medal is given annually to a Turkish scientist, who has a pioneer and distinctive reserach record in the field of life sciences.

6 November 2020

New paper alert!! Melis’s first author paper on the identification of the proximity interactome of Aurora kinase A and characterization of the functional relationship between centriolar satellites and AURKA is now online in bioRxiv and is also under review. Fingers crossed for the constructive reviewer comments.

12 October 2020

Ezgi received TUBITAK 1002 funding on application of a new proximity-based labeling method to the cilia. Congratulations Ezgi!

8 October 2020

We welcome four new PhD students joining our lab: Erdem Ercan, Basak Turan, Efe Begar, Deniz Ornek.

18 August 2020

Elif gave a talk on our recent work on the biology of satellites in the 9th BSCB GenSoc UK Cilia Network e-symposium. Thank you Pleasantine Mill for organizing these virtual meetings since the beginning of COVID19 pandemic and enhancing the communication among the cilia community through these meetings.

17 August 2020

Elif’s application to Newton Prize together with our UK partner Dr. Fanni Gergely (University of Oxford) is among one of four shortlisted projects. Fingers crossed for receiving funding to dissect the molecular defects underlying the phenotypic heterogeneity of ciliopathis.

30 July 2020

The first PhD student of the Firat-Karalar laboratory successfully defended her thesis. Congratulations to Deniz Conkar for the outstanding virtual defense. Even more, she received the Graduate School of Sciences and Engineering “Academic Excellence Award” and VPRD postdoctoral funding for one more year to continue her project in our lab.

30 June 2020

Ozge, Onur and Can’s paper is now online in PLOS Biology! We used chemical manipulation to target centriolar satellites to the cell periphery or center and then asked what happens. We showed that pericentrosomal satellite clustering is important for cilium assembly, maintenance and disassembly as well as mitosis.

3 June 2020

New review paper from the lab is out in MDPI Cells. We have been meaning to write this review for a while, the self-isolation due to COVID-19 finally gave us the time to write a comprehensive review on the application of proximity-based labeling approaches to the centrosome/cilium complex. BioID has been special for our lab as it paved the way to many different ongoing research projects.

12 May 2020

New paper from the lab is out in Cell Reports! In this paper, we reported CCDC57 as a pleiotropic regulator of centriole duplication, mitosis and cilium assembly. Our cover was not selected for the issue, but we all loved it. Thank you Deniz Conkar for preparing it.


6 May 2020

Elif was one of the recipients of the Bilim Kahramanlari Dernegi Young Scientist Award 2019. This award rpogram is for young scientists under 38 years of age who have contributed to basic sciences and engineering fields. Due to COVID-19, the award ceremony was done over Instagram.

22 April 2020

Kubra, Melis and Efraim’s paper that we submitted back in November is accepted for publication after 4 months of extensive revisions. We acknowledge Mariana from Monica Bettencourt-Dias’s lab for help with the super resolution microscopy. Stay tuned for the revised publication that will be out in couple of weeks!

14 April 2020

Our perspective article on new advances on centriolar satellite functions and mechanisms is published in this month’s issue in MBOC! Congratulations to Umut and Ezgi for the already very well-received perspective article, especially for the amazing figures they put together! Check out the figure below where we analyzed the context-dependent cellular distribution of satellites.

15 March 2020

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, Koc University and therefore my lab closed down! We switched to online teaching. All lab members are self-isolating at home. We are having weekly zoom meetings in the format of JC, data meetings, coffee hours and even fitness! These meetings help us to deal with the anxiety and uncertainty by discussing what we all love, science! Me and all lab members are busy writing grants and papers, analyzing data and reading papers. Firat-Karalar lab will come back with full pace once our lab opens.

13 March 2020

Melis spent two weeks in Paul Guichard’s lab in University of Geneva to learn U-ExM expansion microscopy.  Not only application of this method to her protein of interest confirmed her hypothesis, she also came back with a great tool that we will adapt in the lab. We thank Paul and Virginie for hosting Melis and EMBO YIP network for funding the institute visit.

8 March 2020

Elif was featured as one of the inspiring and successful Turkish women in the Elele magazine, as part of a series  prepared for the World Women’s Day on 8th March.

26 February 2020

Elif attended the female leadership course offered by EMBO and after coming back, she shared the ideas and tools shared in the course with lab members.

12 February 2020

New preprint form the lab! Congratulations to Ozge, Onur and Can on submission of their paper on development of an inducible satellite trafficking assay and using it to dissect acute functions of satellites. We are impatiently waiting for the reviews!

10 February 2020

Jovana Deretic is awarded the Marie Curie Reintegration Individual Fellowship with a perfect score. MSCA actions fellowships are very competitive and this is a huge success! We are very excited about the projects Jovana will pursue related to cilium assembly and maintenance.

1 February 2020

Lab’s instagram account is active now. You can find us on Instagram as “CytoLabKoc”. Dila is actively sharing instants on our research, science and lab activities.

1 February 2020

Our technician for the last year, Can Gurkaslar, left the lab to start a PhD program in Germany.

5 January 2020

Kubra visited Monica Bettencourt-Dias’s laboratory in IGC Gulbenkian to use the OMX Super Resolution microscope. This helped her determine the precise spatial localization of her protein of interest at the centrosome. We thank Monica for hosting her and EMBO for funding her visit.

18 December 2019

Elif was selected as one of the early career investigators to the Journal of Cell Science editorial advisory board.

7 December 2019

Ezgi represented our lab in the ASCB/EMBO 2019 meeting in Washington and presented a poster on her project aimed at dissecting centriolar satellite functions and mechanisms. Big shoutout for the ASCB/EMBO and Koc University travel funds that made this trip possible.

27 November 2019

Elif, Melis and Fatmanur attended the International Conference on Cilia, Flagella and Centrosomes in Paris. Elif presented exciting results from Ozge and Onur’s project on studying the relationship between satellite localization and function. Melis and Fatmanur presented posters on their projects related to motile cilia assembly and mitotic regulation of centrosomes.

13 November 2019

Elif was selected as one of the 27 EMBO Young Investigators, which offers a wide range of networking opportunities for the lab.

Elif is the first scientist to be selected to the EMBO YIP program from Turkey, which we hope will inspire the many great young scientists who moved to Turkey. Therefore, the news of Elif’s selection to EMBO was widely covered by many different media resources.,TuUMAwQxQUaIDh_-pURPhQ

5 November 2019

Firat-Karalar lab hosted Dr. Helen May-Simera from IMB Mainz ( She gave a very inspiring talk on the relationship between retinal epithelial cells and photoreceptor degeneration and development.

28 October 2019

As a one of the ERC holders in Turkey, Asst. Prof. Elif Nur Fırat Karalar was interviewed by the  Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey on her ERC success story.

14 October 2019

Elif attended the Cold Spring Harbor Asia “Centrosomes&Cilia” Meeting in Suzhou as an invited speaker and gave a talk on dissecting the function and regulation of centriolar satellites and their relationship to centrosomes and cilia.

9 October 2019

Kubra attended the “Seeing is Believing – Imaging the Molecular Processes of Life in EMBL Heidelberg and presented her work on identification and characterization of a new regulator of centriole duplication and mitosis.

1 October 2019

An interview with Asst. Prof. Elif Nur Fırat Karalar from Koç University Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics was published on the Journal of Cell Science. Please click to read the interview in the article series of “Cell Scientist to Watch”

September 2019

Deniz’s paper on the molecular mechanism of centrosomal and ciliary targeting of the retinal degeneration gene product CCDC66 was accepted to Scientific reports. With our collaborator Halil Bayraktar at ITU, we also showed that majority of satellites had diffusive motility while a minority exhibited long-range transport.

September 2019

Firat-Karalar lab received TUBITAK 1001 research grant on characterization of new regulators of multi-centriologenesis using the in vitro multiciliated tracheal epithelial cell cultures. 

September 2019

New masters student Dila Gulensoy joined our laboratory! She was an amazing undegraduate student in the last year and we are very excited to have her in our lab as a graduate student.

15 August -15 September 2019

Dr. Moe Mahjoub from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis ( visited our lab this summer as part of the KU incoming scholar program. During his one month stay, we celebrated three birthdays in the lab and generated very exciting preliminary data for a grant we will submit next year.

4-9 August 2019

Elif gave a talk on Ezgi, Ozge and Onur’s work in the “Biology of Cilia and Flagella” meeting in Snowmass, USA.

4 July 2019

Elif visited the laboratory of Laurent Kodjabachian and gave a seminar in IBDM Marseilles

27 May 2019

The first conference of Organelle Biogenesis and Function in Health and in Disease in Istanbul was organized by Fırat-Karalar Laboratory. Tim Stearns, Ketan J. Patel, Fanni Gergely and David Mick were the keynote speakers. You can check the website

15 April 2019

Jovana Deretic joins our lab as a postdoctoral researcher. She completed her PhD work in Julie Welburn’s lab at University of Edinburgh, where her studies focused on identification and characterization of new Aurora A substrates, in particular SPICE.

7 April 2019

Umut and Onur attended the BSCB meeting in Warwick in UK and presented a poster on their work in studying centrosome aberrations in leukemia.

6 April 2019

Elif attended student congresses in Gebze Technical University (GEN3 meeting) and Bilkent University (9th Horizons meeting) and gave seminars on how to choose graduate school and ongoing research in our laboratory.

20 February 2019

The founder of Cytoskeleton Research Laboratory Dr. Elif Nur Fırat Karalar talks about her Newton-Katip Çelebi project on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

12 December 2018

Elif, Deniz and Kubra attended the ASCB/EMBO 2018 meeting.

Elif gave a talk in the “Cytokeleton and Disease” symposium. Kubra and Deniz presented great posters.

26 November 2018

First preprint from our lab is out!

Our first preprint on the phenotypic and molecular consequences of centriolar satellite loss in kidney and retinal epithelial cells is out. We cannot wait to see the accepted article (hopefully soon).

19 October 2018

First EMBO Koc and Bogazici University Joint Meeting took place in NG Sapanca in Istanbul.

Firat-Karalar, Ozoren, Emre and Sahin labs had a joint lab meeting for two days at a great spot in Sapanca with financial support from EMBO. We had fruitful discussions among all lab members, new project ideas and new collaborations along with bonus great food and a great spa.

17 September 2018

Three new graduate students joined Fırat Karalar Lab as of September 2018: Ebru Topçu, Fatmanur Tiryaki and Umut Batman.

11 June 2018

Elif was awarded the EMBO Installation Grant, we are very excited to be part of the EMBO network for the next five years.

8 March 2018

Elif appeared as one of the women faculty in the social media activities as part of 8th March International Women’s Day

16 February 2018

Elif gave a seminar in the Biology Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

25 December 2017

Firat-Karalar lab attended the 10th EMBO Young Investigator Forum in Istanbul at Bogazici University and Elif gave a talk in the meeting.

27 November 2017

Elif gave a seminar in the Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit at EMBL Heidelberg

21 November 2017

Elif received the 2017 TUBA-GEBIP award at the Presidential Palace

Elif was selected as one of the nation’s promising young scientists in life sciences.

15 October 2017

Elif received the “Outstanding Faculty Award” for the College of Sciences

24-27 September 2017

Elif, Ozge and Kubra went to the EMBO Centrosomes and Spindle Pole Bodies Meeting in Heidelberg. Ozge and Kubra presented posters.

14 September 2017

Ozge Aydin received the Koc University Seed Grant to study centriolar satellite abnormalities in disease.

10 September 2017

Ezgi Odabasi received the “Best Poster Award” in the 5th International Congress of Molecular Biology Association of Turkey

3 September 2017

Firat-Karalar lab welcomes three new graduate students as of September 2017: Melis Dilara Arslanhan, Şevket Onur Taflan and Ege Çığırgan

5 July 2017

Elif gave a seminar in the IGC Gulbenian in Portugal and visited Monica Bettencourt-Dias’s lab

17 April 2017

Our paper on CCDC66 was highlighted in the FEBS Journal

First paper from our laboratory on CCDC66 was accepted to Journal of Cell Science and selected as the cover!!

4-7 October 2016

The Firat-Karalar lab was at the EMBO-CILIA meeting 2016

Elif gave a talk on characterization of CCDC66 and Deniz, Efraim and Ezgi had poster presentations.

23 June 2016

Our Leica SP8 Scanning Confocal and DMi8 Fluorescent Scope are both up and running.

9th April 2016

Elif’s family welcomed their third son “Mert Tufan Karalar”. Mert is the first Firat-Karalar lab baby.

17 March 2016

The Royal Society Newton Advanced Fellowship to the Firat-Karalar and Gergely Labs

Our project on dissecting the function of centriolar satellites during centriole duplication was funded 110.000 GBP by the Royal Society, for which we will collaborate with the laboratory of Fanni Gergely at the CRUK Cambridge between 2016-2019.

13 September 2015

Elif receives the ERC Starting Grant 2015

Our project on “Dissecting the function and regulation of centriolar satellites: key regulators of the centrosome/cilium complex receives 1.500.000 euros from European Reserach Council.

Elif’s ERC Success Story is covered in media

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11 May 2015

Elif receives the TUBITAK 3501 and 1001 grants

Our projects on characterization of novel satellites proteins linked to ciliophathies will be funded by TUBITAK between 2015-2018

17 April 2015

Elif was awarded the LOREAL-UNESCO Women in Science Award 2015

Elif gave an interview on her project funded by LOREAL-UNESCO. Here is the link:

Elif’s LOREAL-UNESCO award was covered by several newspapers, here are the links: