Two postdoc, one PhD student and one technician positions are now available for different subprojects within the ERC Starting Grant project and EMBO Installation Grant. The overall aims of these projects are to study the biogenesis and function of the centrosome/cilium complex by focusing on their regulation of the underappreciated structures termed centriolar satellites. The available subprojects are highly interdisciplinary and include among others the development and use of state-of-the-art live-imaging assays (FRAP, photoactivation, SNAP) to study the dynamic behavior of centrosome/cilium proteins, the use of proximity-labeling techniques and biochemical purifications to elucidate the changes in the proteome of the centrosome/cilium complex under different conditions and the use of genome-editing to generate cell lines for the proposed experiments. In addition, molecular cloning, cell biology and protein purification techniques will be routinely used. Candidates with a strong background in cell biology, biochemistry and/or proteomics are encouraged to apply. To apply, please send your cover letter, curriculum vitae and contact details of three referees to

PostDoc Candidates

Postdoctoral candidates can e-mail a letter of interest and CV that includes names for three references to Dr. Firat-Karalar (

There are currently two open postdoc positions in the laboratory. We are seeking for applicants with expertise in live imaging, genome editing and/or proteomics. The postdoc positions are funded by an ERC starting grant.

Graduate Students

If you are interested in the lab, e-mail your CV to Dr. Firat-Karalar and also apply to the MBGE graduate program at Koç University.

There are currently three open graduate student positions in the laboratory.

More information about the positions:

Project: Centrosomes are the main microtubule-organizing centers of animal cells. They influence the morphology of the microtubule cytoskeleton and function as the base of primary cilium, a nexus for important signaling pathways. Structural and functional defects in centrosome/cilium complex cause a variety of human diseases including cancer, ciliopathies and microcephaly. To understand the relationship between human diseases and centrosome/cilium abnormalities, it is essential to elucidate the biogenesis of centrosome/cilium complex and the control mechanisms that regulate their structure and function. To tackle these fundamental problems, we study the function and regulation of centriolar satellites, the array of granules that localize around the centrosome/cilium complex in mammalian cells. Although many centrosome/cilium proteins localize to satellites, we lack understanding of when, why and how these proteins localize to satellites, which are the key questions we are going to address with the ERC starting grant funding. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the proposed research will expand our knowledge of the spatiotemporal regulation of the centrosome/cilium complex and provide new insights into pathogenesis of ciliopathies and primary microcephaly.


Candidate: We are looking for highly motivated and academically outstanding PhD and Postoc candidates and a technician with interest in the biology of the centrosomes, cilia and microtubule cytoskeleton. The postdoc applicants should hold a PhD or MD/PhD, and have a strong training in molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry and proteomics. Expertise in genome-editing, live-cell fluorescent imaging techniques and/or bioinformatics and interest in collaboration, teamwork and interdisciplinary work are strongly desired.


The Lab ( The Cytoskeleton Lab at Koç University is a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative research program where we aim to understand the biogenesis and function of centrosomes and cilia in normal cell function and in human diseases such as cancer and ciliopathies. We collaborate with cilinical geneticists at Koç University School of Medicine to study the molecular basis of ciliopathies. We also have international collaborations with researchers at Stanford University, UC Berkeley and the Scripps Research Institute on the application of novel proteomics and imaging approaches. Our lab is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment where we also have open access to core facilities including the proteomics and microscopy facilities.


The Principal Investigator: Starting with my undergraduate education at Bilkent University, I have been involved in biomedical research. I completed my PhD in the laboratory of Matthew Welch at University of California, Berkeley, where I dissected novel actin polymerization pathways in cells. During my postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Tim Stearns at Stanford University, I took a multidisciplinary approach to identify the centriole proteome and address the interactions among centrosome proteins. During my PhD and postdoctoral studies, I received the prestigious American Heart Association pre-doctoral and NIH F32 Ruth Kirschstein postdoctoral fellowships. Since June 2014, I have joined the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Koç University where my laboratory focuses on the biology of centrosomes, cilia and microtubules. Since I established my laboratory at Koç University, I have received funding for three different projects from TUBITAK (Turkish NIH), awards from several agencies including the Loreal-Unesco Women in Science Award and recently received an ERC Starting grant of EUR 1.5 million by the European Research Council.


The Institute ( KU is one of the leading research universities in Turkey, attracting accomplished, high-caliber researchers from all over the world. The vast majority (97%) of 400 faculty members have received their Ph.D. degrees from the most highly selective and reputable universities in the world. Majority of the students enrolled in the undergraduate programs are ranked within the top 1% in the National University Entrance Exam. The language of the curriculum at Koç University is English. Koç University is located in two campuses both of which have rich facilities. Modern campus buildings are equipped with state-of-the-art research laboratories. KU also provides significant benefits to its employees such as housing for single and family, childcare, enrollment in excellent private health insurance program, on campus Koç University health services, food tickets, free transportation using Koç shuttles, work computer, enrollment in Koç University courses and continuing education programs and funding for travel. The university is located in a beautiful area surrounded by pine forest at the junction of the Bosphorus and the Black Sea, yet the bustling center of Istanbul is only a short bus ride away.


Postdoc applicants should submit cover letter, curriculum vitae and contact details of three referees to Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but early applications are encouraged as we have actively started addressing the goals of the ERC project.. PhD candidates are asked to apply for the Koç University Molecular Biology and Genetics Graduate Program (


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