Lab Blog

August 15, 2017 – Yetkin Alıcı and Poorya Parvizi finizhed their Msc

Our master students Yetkin Alıcı and Poorya Parvizi defended their master thesis successfully. We congratulate them!

July 26, 2017 – Skype with Pavlidis Lab

We did the second meeting  with  Pavlidis Lab. We continued to explain the projects from each lab briefly.

July 20, 2017 – Catalhöyük visiting

Mehmet, Dilek, Dilsad, Mustafa and our collobrator Ali Metin from Hacettepe University visited Catalhöyük excavation site.

July 19, 2017- New paper from our lab!

A paper titled with “Gene expression reversal toward pre-adult levels in the aging human brain and age-related loss of cellular identity” was published in Scientific Reports. We congratulate Melike, Hamit and Mehmet for their new paper! You can access the article from here.

July 19, 2017 – Skype with Pavlidis Lab

We meet the people in Pavlidis Lab from Crete, Greece. For the first meeting, some research projects of each lab were explained briefly.

 July 11-13, 2017- EEBST’17 Best Poster Award winner, Zeliha Gözde Turan

Congratulations to Zeliha Gözde Turan for receiving “Best Poster Award” of 4th Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Symposium.

July 11-13, 2017 – 4th Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Symposium

This year 4th EEBST was organized at Istanbul Technical University Ayazaga Campus. Mehmet, Gözde, Hamit, İdil, Dilek, Duha, Elif and Evrim participated. They presented their posters and Dilek gave a talk about “Investigation of the Neolithisation in Anatolia and the Aegean by using ancient DNA”. Elif gave a small guitar concert before the sessions.

In the annual meeting of EkoEvo society, Mehmet was selected as president and Dilek was selected as vice president that responsible for education and membership and Duha was selected as representative member. We congratulate them!

In the closing ceremony, Gözde presented her master thesis since she was choosen for  the “Best Master Thesis Award”. Also we congratulates her since she won the “Best Poster Award” of the symposium!

The symposium was very productive and we are looking forward to participate the next symposium in Izmir #EEBST18.

July 6, 2017 – The Best Master Thesis Award 

Zeliha Gözde Turan won “The Best Master Thesis Award” from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey.  We congratulate her!

June 28-30, 2017- HIBIT’17, Northern Cyprus

Our lab members, Mehmet, Hamit, Poorya and Elif participated to 10th  International Symposium on Health Informatics and Bioinformatics which was held at METU Northern Cyprus campus. They presented their posters and also Elif gave a talk in the symposium.

May 12, 2017 – HU-METU Journal Club 

The second journal meeting was held at Hacettepe University on May 12.  The selected articles were presented by METU students  and discussed. The next meeting will be held in METU.

April 19-22, 2017- 85th AAPA, New Orleans

Mehmet Somel and Dilek Koptekin patricipated to 85th annual meeting of the American Association of  Physical Antrophologists and they gave speeches about “Mobility in Neolithic Central Anatolia: A Comparison of Dental Morphometrics and aDNA”, “Mechanisms of convergent testis transcriptome evolution in primates” and “Genome-wide cytosine methylation differences between ancient hunter-gatherers and farmers” in different sections.

April 7, 2017- HU-METU Journal Club

The first journal club meeting between Hacettepe University and METU was held at METU on April 7.  The selected articles were presented by master and Phd students from HU and discussed.  The second meeting will be held at Hacettepe University next month.

March 15-18, 2017 – 6th Programming for Evolutionary Biology , Leipzig

Mehmet Somel participated to 6th Programming for Evolutionary Biology Course which was held at Leipzig University on March 4-20th, 2017. He gave a lecture about “Comparative analysis of expression data”.

February, 2017 – ESEB Conference Travel  Award 2017

We congratulate Zeliha Gözde Turan for receiving ESEB’17 Conference Travel Award!

February 3, 2017- Hamit İzgi finished his Msc

Hamit İzgi defended his MSc thesis “Meta Analysis of Alzheimer’s Disease at The Gene Expression Level”.  We congratulate him!

January 30 – February 4, 2017 – Evolutionary Genomics Winter School’17, Hacettepe:

The 2nd Evolutionary Genomics Winter School was organized at Hacettepe University by Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Association (eko-evo).  Gülşah Dal Kılınç  gave a lecture about “Ancient DNA and Paleogenomic Analysis” with the assistance of Dilek Koptekin.

December, 2016 – Hamit İzgi got research assistant position

We congratulate our lab member Hamit İzgi as he is accepted for research assistant position by Graduate School of Natural and Applied Science, METU.

September, 2016 – Melike Dönertaş and Zeliha Gözde Turan finished their MSc

Melike Dönertaş defended her MSc thesis “Meta-analysis of gene expression reversals in ageing brain” and Zeliha Gözde Turan defended her MSc thesis titled with “Notable decrease in transcriptome conservation during mammalian aging”. We congratulate them!

August 31-September 1, 2016 – EEBST Best Poster Presentation winner, Ayshin Ghalichi

We congratulate Ayshin Ghalichi for receiving “Best Poster Presentation Award” of 3rd Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Symposium (EEBST’16).

August 31 – September 1, 2016 – 3rd Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Symposium

Our lab participated to EEBST’16 that was held at Hacettepe Univesity. Mehmet Somel gave a speech about “Autism spectrum disorder in context of human brain evolution”.  Also,  Arev Pelin Sümer,  Dilek Koptekin,  Ayshin Ghalichi and Duha Alioğlu presented their posters.

August 4, 2016 – New paper from our lab

We congratulate our lab members Gülşah Dal Kılınç, Melike Dönertaş, Dilek Koptekin,  Ayshin Ghalichi, Poorya Parvizi and Mehmet Somel for publication of their paper. They were working on this project with the collaboration of Anders Gotherstörm, Mattias Jakobsson, Jan Stora and Togan lab. You can access the article from here.

“The Demographic Development of the First Farmers in Anatolia”

Gülşah Merve Kılınc, Ayça Omrak, FüsunÖzer, Torsten Günther, Ali Metin Büyükkarakaya, Erhan Bıçakçı, Douglas Baird, Handan Melike Dönertaş, Ayshin Ghalichi, Reyhan Yaka, Dilek Koptekin, Sinan Can Açan, Poorya Parvizi, Maja Krzewinska, Evangelia A. Daskalaki, Eren Yüncü, Nihan Dilşad Dagtaş, Andrew Fairbairn, Jessica Pearson, Gökhan Mustafaoglu, Yılmaz Selim Erdal, Yasin Gökhan Çakan, İnci Togan, Mehmet Somel, Jan Stora, Mattias Jakobsson and Anders Götherström.

May 2, 2016: Thanks to Ozan Tugluk for his seminar on high performance computing.

April 2016: The  website for the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey is finally launched!

February 1-5, 2016 – Evolutionary Genomics Winter School, METU:

We hosted the Evolutionary Genomics Winter School, organized and taught pro bono by Tugce Bilgin (Uni Zurich) and Emre Karakoc (MPI Evol Biol and Medipol Uni). The course took place at METU, and Dilek Koptekin and Meric Kinali also took part as students, along with 25 others from different regions of Turkey. Mehmet gave a one-hour lecture on transcriptomis. We hope this will the first of a series of annual genomics winter schools, organized by the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Association of Turkey. (Thanks to Tarik Dinc and METU IE for sharing their computer lab.)

February 3, 2016 – new paper by Melike Dönertaş

We congratulate Melike Dönertaş on the publication of her new paper! She was working on this during her summer practice in EMBL, Cambridge, UK in 2013. You can access the article here

   Characterising Complex Enzyme Reaction Data
Handan Melike Dönertaş, Sergio Martínez Cuesta, Syed Asad Rahman, Janet M. Thornton

November 28-29, 2015 – First Archaeogenomic Insights into Near Eastern Neolithic Populations Workshop

With Inci Togan, Aysegul Birand, Fusun Ozer and Evangelia Piskin, we organized a two-day workshop at METU, with the participation of both local and international archaeologists, anthropologists, and aDNA experts, where we discussed results from recent analyses and the way to proceed. The meeting, we hope, served to develop a common language between archaeology and genetics communities.

November 27-29 , 2015 – IV. International Congress of the Molecular Biology Association of Turkey

Molecular Biology Association of Turkey (MBD) organizes scientific meetings annually on various fields of Molecular Biology since it was established in 2011. Dilek Koptekin, Melike Dönertaş and Hamit İzgi attended the 4th Congress of MBD held in Ankara, Turkey. They presented posters about their work. Dilek’s poster was about genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of 8000 years old hunter gatherers. Melike and Hamit presented a poster about biological network entropy that can predict loss of cellular differentiation in the ageing brain. It was a great opportunity to share and exchange scientific information in such a wonderful congress.

November 9, 2015 – New Paper by Ezgi and Mehmet

We congratulate Ezgi and Mehmet for publication of their paper on the evolution of bladder cancer tumors. They were working on the project with Nathan Lack and Can Alkan since 2013. You can access the article here

  Determining the origin of synchronous multifocal bladder cancer by exome sequencing
      Ömer Acar, Ezgi Özkurt, Gülfem Demir, Hilal Saraç, Can Alkan, Tarık Esen, Mehmet Somel, and Nathan A. Lack

November1-4, 2015- EMBL Conference – Cancer Genomics

Melike and Hamit prepared a poster about “gene expression reversal related to ageing and its possible link to cancer”. Melike attended EMBL Cancer Genomics Conference, in Heidelberg, Germany. We are honored to announce that she earned “EMBL Advanced Training Centre Corporate Partnership Programme Fellowship”.

October14-16, 2015 – NETTAB IB 2015

Melike attended International Workshop on Network Tools and Applications for Biology and Integrative Bioinformatics International Symposium, NETTAB IB in Bari,Italy. Melike(first author) and Hamit (second author) prepared a poster about their work on biological network entropy at GO functional groups level. We congratulate Melike for being selected one of the 10 young researchers that NETTAB IB granted with free tutorial registration.

August 6-7 2015 – EEBST 2015 – The 2nd Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Symposium  

It was a thrilling, intense, yet beautiful experience  to host the 2nd international Ecology-Evolutionary Biology Symposium (EEBST) this summer. The goal of this annual event, which started in 2014, is to promote cutting edge research in ecology, evolutionary biology, and related interdisciplinary areas in Turkey and in the region. Meeting organizers were Mehmet Somel and Ayşegül Birand and support team was consisted of many grad students of Mehmet Somel, Ayşegül Birand and İnci Togan. As keynote speaker we had Rasmus Nielsen, Sergey Gavrilets, Resit Akcakaya, and Daniel Simberloff!


The meeting was a big success, with more than 160 participants from institutions in 13 countries. Gönensin Ozan Bozdaǧ and Eti Levi won the best presentation and best poster prizes. We also used the meeting as opportunity to organize the first meeting of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey.

July 2015 – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey established!

We are excited to have the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey finally established. This has been a long journey of organization that started in 2008. We hope it will help accelerate research in evolution and ecology in Turkey. Mehmet, Gülşah and Ezgi were among the founding members. We should particularly thank Çağatay Taşvanoğlu, who has been key in making this happen.

June 2015 – Ezgi Özkurt finished her MSc

Ezgi successfully defended her MSc (in 1.5 years) with a thesis titled “Evolution Of Bladder Cancer Investigated Using Exome Sequencing”. Congratulations! She already has a position at the MPI for Evolutionar Biology in Plön.

February 21-22, 2015 – 9th Aykut Kence Evolution Conference, Ankara:

We participated at the 9th Aykut Kence Evolution Conference, an annual popular science event organized by METU biology and genetics students, and dedicated to one of the first evolutionary biologists of Turkey, Aykut Kence. Mehmet participated in a forum about the role of the political struggle on the evolution education. Ezgi made oral presentation about sperm competition and Ekin about her work on testis transcriptome evolution. It was nice to meet so many young people craving to learn more on evolutionary biology.

February 7-8, 2015 – Evo-Eko Workshop,  Mersin:


Ezgi, Ekin, Mehmet, Gözde and Yetkin participated in the Evolution-Ecology Meeting in Odtü Institute of Marine Sciences Campus, Erdemli. Gözde represented her work about brain ageing mutation accumulation and Ekin talked about testis transcriptome evolution. We had great time while seeing seascape of Erdemli and talking about our evolution & ecology work!

January16-17, 2015 – EMBO – MBD Winter Retreat 2015, Ankara:


We were at the Embo – MBD Winter Retreat, in Bilkent University. Ezgi presenting her work “The Evolutionary History of Synchronous Urothelial Tumors Revealed by Exome Sequencing”.

Our testis evolution paper covered by ScienceShot

…with a genius illustration! Here’s the link to the preprint version.

Meanwhile, Rori Rolfhs is helping out in modeling testis expression evolution. Thanks Rori!

September15-21, 2014 – Quantitative Evolution Workshop, Izmir:


Ezgi, Gozde and Mehmet participated in the Quantitative  Evolution Workshop held at the Nesin Math Village. It was particularly nice to meet young scientists working on transcriptome and genome evolution – we got plenty of good ideas through discussions, and might set up new collaborations there.

September10-12, 2014 – Molecular Biology Association Congress, Izmir: 

We presented our work at the  were 3rd MBA Congress, Ezgi presenting the testis project, Gozde the aging evolution project, Poorya, the mice results, and Ozgur, his Neanderthal admixture test plan, and Mehmet, talking about cancer phylogenomics.

July12-13, 2014 – EEBST: 

We were at the Ecology & Evolution Symposium in Istanbul, the first such meeting organized in Turkey. Ekin talked on primate testis evolution, Mehmet on genome-wide mutation biases; Ezgi presented a poster on her work on urothelial cancer evolution, and Babur on his daphnia stress response. Was great to meet young researchers from the field, both local and foreigners. Thanks to the organizers!

July7-9, 2014 – Çatalhöyük: 

Mehmet visited the Çatalhöyük excavation with Füsun, Dilşad and Reyhan from İnci Togan’s lab. Can Alkan from Bilkent, as well as Anders Gotherstrom and Jan Stora from Stockholm also joined. We hope to start a collaboration with the Çatalhöyük human and animal remains groups in the near future. Thanks to Anders and Jan for coming all the way to Konya, for Nicola Lercari for initiating the contact, Chris Knusel, Scott Haddow, Clark Larsen, Ian Hodder and Yildiz Dirmit for their hospitality, fruitful discussions and enthusiasm for collaboration.