Elif Nur Fırat Karalar, Ph.D.

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 UC Berkeley, where I focused on the characterization of 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. 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.

Lab Members

Jovana Deretic, Postdoctoral MSCA fellow

I graduated in Molecular Biology and Physiology from The University of Belgrade and completed my PhD studies at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology at the University of Edinburgh. My postgraduate research in the laboratory of Dr Julie Welburn incorporated both cell biology and biochemical methods and focused on the regulation of microtube-associated proteins and microtubule organization in mitosis. During a short post as the CALM Facility manager in Edinburgh, I have acquired additional expertise in the advanced microscopy techniques. I continued to pursue my interest in the organization and regulation of microtubule cytoskeleton, particularly in centrosomes and cilia by joining Fırat-Karalar laboratory as a postdoctoral researcher in April 2019. Here, I am working on the exciting project, which combines advanced microscopy, biochemistry and proximity labelling methods to understand the role of specific centriolar satellite proteins in primary and motile cilia formation and function



Deniz Conkar, Postdoctoral Scholar

After graduating from Bilkent University with B.S in Molecular Biology and Genetics in 2013, I have joined Firat-Karalar laboratory as a Ph.D. student. My project focuses on understanding how centriolar satellites, microtubules and motor proteins work together to regulate dynamics of centrosome/cilium complex proteins.

Ezgi Odabaşı, PhD Candidate

I was graduated from department of molecular biology and genetics at Bilkent University in 2015. Then, I joined to Firat-Karalar group as Ph.D. student. I am interested in cellular role of centriolar satellites and regulation of satellites on centrosome/cilium complex.

Melis Dilara Arslanhan, PhD Candidate

I have completed my Bachelor’s degree in İzmir Institute of Technology. Then, I started my master’s in Université de Paris-Sud in France in the field of oncology. I worked in several institutions in France such as ENS Cachan and CEA as researcher. In 2017, I have started my PhD in Koç Univesity in Cytoskeleton lab. Currently, I am working on several project in the ab including proteomics analysis of centrosome and ciliary proteins which are associated with several diseases in human body. Besides that I am working on characterization of noval centirolar proteins. Outside of my reseach life, I am interested in bodybuilding and crossfit. I am also a big fan of basketball.

  Ebru Topçu, Master Student

I have completed my bachelor studies in the department of Molecular Biology and Genetics in METU. Then, I joined to Cytoskeleton Research Laboratory in Koc University for my master journey. I believe that we cannot think any field by itself in science, and all are connected. Therefore, my research interest is an interdisciplinary combination of cellular biology especially on cilia, molecular mechanisms of disease and biomedical research. Currently, I am working on projects related with characterization of some centrosome and satellite proteins, and their regulation and interaction with other centrosome related proteins. My future research aim is to connect cellular regulation concepts to disease related phenotypes in medical research.



Fatmanur Tiryaki, Master Student 

I graduated from Boğaziçi University with a bachelor degree from Molecular Biology and Genetics department. I started my first step of grad studies in Cytoskeleton Research Laboratory as a master student. Here, I have learned so many things starting from immunofluorescence microscopy to proximity labelling, on which I expanded my knowledge and skills extensively. Currently, I am working on a project which aims to characterize a novel centrosomal/ciliary protein.

 Umut Batman, Master Student

I graduated from Boğaziçi University in 2018 with a double degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics and Chemistry. During my undergraduate studies, I have worked in different research labs in Molecular Biology and Genetics. I have joined Fırat-Karalar Research Group at Koç University as a graduate researcher. My current research interests include characterization of centriolar satellite proteins and their effects on cilium formation, cell cycle progression and microtubule organization.


Dila Gülensoy, Master Student

I am a master student in the University of Koç in the Molecular Biology and Genetics department. I am currently working in Cytoskeleton Research Laboratory by assisting help in several projects. When I started working here I immediately fascinated by the centrosome research and the possibilities of the subject that offers. As a future goal I want to keep continue taking part in the cytoskeleton based research.

Başak Turan, PhD Student

Erdem Ercan, PhD Student

Efe Begar, PhD Student

Deniz Örnek, Master Student


Özge Zelal Aydın, Postdoctoral Scholar (2017-2021)

Assitant Professor at Baskent University

Şevket Onur Taflan, Master Student (2017-2020)

Vitrosens Chief Technology Officer

Kubra Hazal Zirhlioglu, Ms.C. (2017-2020) 

Ph.D. student in Ingrid Hoffman’s laboratory in German Cancer Research Center 

Can Gurkaslar, Technician (2018-2019)

Ph.D. student in Almodovar lab in University of Heidelberg

Efraim Culfa, Msc (2015-2017)

After graduating from our lab, Efraim moved onto becoming a secondary school teacher. He is currently at Üsküdar American Academy, teaching biology and introductory sciences. Efraim is interested in integrating coding in K12 biology classrooms and laboratories

Ahmet Aktas, Undergraduate Researcher (2018)


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