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Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Research

METU Central Laboratory Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Research Unit is well equipped with modern facilities to perform research in the field of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology. Mainly research on recombinant DNA studies, large scale purification, characterization, and sequencing of proteins, enzyme activity determinations and animal and plant tissue culture studies can be achieved. Some of the major equipments are given below; including automated DNA sequencer, Oligonucleotide Synthesizer, Protein Sequencer, automated liquid chromatography systems (FPLC & HPLC).

Prof. Dr. Meral YUCEL has PhD in Biology (1980 METU) in the field of enzyme purification and kinetic characterization. She stayed one and a half year in USA, University of Texas Tech in Plant Molecular Biology and Genetics Laboratory as a Visiting Research Scientist. Her current research interests include : i) Understanding the molecular mechanism of abiotic stress in crop plants ; Genetic Improvement of crop plants against osmotic stress, ii) Biohydrogen production by using photosynthetic bacteria in photobioreactors, iii) Purification and kinetic characterization of enzymes involved in pyruvate branch point of Rhizopus oryzae.

She had leaded many projects on Plant Physiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Biohydrogen, funded by Turkish Scientific and Research Council. Meanwhile she is the Management Committee member of the COST Action 841 on Hydrogenases and participated in the preparation of 6th frame Integrated Project proposal on ''Stair Way to Hydrogen''( March 2003 not accepted). She had supervised more than 35 MSc. and 13 more PhD students and group coordinator of the METU Central Laboratory Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Research Unit.

Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Avni Öktem. PhD in Biochemistry (1990), Josef Attilla University, Szeged Hungary, one year post-doc experience on Plant Biotechnology (Texas-Tech University). Involved in plant biotechnology related research for the last 10 years. Research mostly focused on genetic transformation of crop plants and stress physiology. Coordinator of TRANS-LEG Consortium: Grain Legume Biotechnology Network of Turkey, 24 Institutions from Turkey and Israel, including Government Research Institutes (Ministry of Agriculture and Rular Affairs) Universities, and SMEs. All together 100 scientists are involved.

Prof.Dr. Zümrüt Begüm Ögel Completed Ph.D. in the University of Leeds, UK in 1993 on the Molecular Analysis of a Fungal Galactose Oxidase Gene. Until 1994 worked as a visiting academic in Oxford University on 'The Molecular Biology of Infection of Barley by the Barley Powdery Mildew Erysiphe Graminis'. Lecturing since 1994 in METU. Recieved the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council Scientific Motivation Award in 2003. Current research interests are mainly on the hydrolases and oxidases of thermophilic and thermotolerant fungi with emphasis on studies towards cloning-expression, production optimization and application in biotransformations.

Prof. Dr. Mahinur S. Akkaya received her Ph.D. degree in 1991 from Ohio State Biological Sciences Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, studying light regulation in higher plants. She worked at the USDA-ARS, Maryland, as a postdoctoral fellow and geneticist for over two years, where she started the development of first plant linkage map and DNA fingerprinting using microsatellite markers. She then, worked for a year as a staff scientist at the NIH, National Cancer Institute, Maryland, and studied protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions among retroviral and cellular factors. Since 1995, she is a faculty member of METU. Recent research interests are wheat domestication and evaluation, disease resistance using functional genomics approach. Her publications received more than 600 citations. Dr. Akkaya is a recipient of Young Investigator Awards of TUBITAK, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Parlar Foundation and METU.

List of recent relevant publications
1. Karabal E., Yücel M., Öktem H.A. "Antioxidant Responses of Resistant and Sensitive Barley Cultivars to Boron Toxicity" Plant Science, 164:925-933, 2003.
2. Mahmoudian M., Yücel M., Oktem H.A. Transformation of Lentil (Lens culinaris M.) Cotyledonary Nodes via Vacuum Infiltration of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Plant Mol. Biol. Rep. Vol 20 (3), 251-257, 2002.
3. Bandeoğlu E., Eyidoğan F., Yücel M., Öktem H.A. Antioxidant Responses of Shoots and Roots of Lentil to NaCl-Salinity Stress, Plant Growth Regulation, 42: 69-77, 2004.
4. Eyidoğan F., Öktem H.A. Yücel M., '' Superoxide Dismutase Activity of Hexaploid and Tetraploid Wheat Cultivars Subjected To Heat and Chilling Stress '' Cereal Research Communications 31/4/378-394, 2003.
5. N Arifoğlu, ZB Ögel , Production of avicel-adsorbable endoglucanase by the thermophilic fungus Scytalidium thermophilum type culture Torula thermophila. Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 27, 560-569, 2000.
6. ZB Ögel, K Yarangümeli, H Dündar, İ Ifrij Submerged Cultivation of Scytalidium thermophilum on lignocellulosic biomass for endoglucanase production. Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 28, 689-695, 2001.
7. İ Hasbay Ifrij, ZB Ögel, Production of neutral and alkaline extracellular proteases by the thermophilic fungus, Scytalidium thermophilum, grown on microcrystalline cellulose. Biotechnology Letters, 24(13), 1107-1110, 2002.
8. Hakki, E.E. and Akkaya, M.S. "Microsatellite Isolation Using AFLP Markers, No Cloning, No screening" Molecular Ecology, 9, 2152-2154, 2000.
9. Sudupak, M.A., Akkaya, M.S., and Kence, A. "Genetic relationships among perennial and annual Cicer species growing in Turkey assessed by AFLP fingerprinting" Theor. Appl. Genet. , 108:937-944, 2004.