Lab Blog

February 24, 2022 – We support Sci-Hub!

This month we made another humble donation to Sci-Hub, a project which liberates scientific literature from profit-driven publication monopolies. For furher information we recommend this interview (subbed EN/TR) with founder Alexandra Elbakyan.

February 22-23, 2022 – 16th Aykut Kence Evolution Conference, Ankara

This year METU hosted the 16th Aykut Kence Evolution Conference, with the participation of Ahmet Acar (METU), Andrés Aravena (İstanbul University), Anne Frary (Izmir Institute of Technology), Ali Osmay Güre (Acıbadem University), Kaan Kerman (Bilkent University), Ogün Adebali (Sabancı University), Serdar Mayda (Ege University), Steven Footitt (Boğaziçi University), Şakir Önder Özkurt (Ahi Evren University), Thomas Zimmermann (Bilkent University) and Viktor Müller (Eötvös Lorand University). Compevo member N. Ezgi Altınışık (Hacettepe University) gave a talk titled “Evolution 101” and Compevo partner Emrah Kırdök (Mersin University) did a presentation on ancient microorganisms. All talks in the general session were broadcasted on YouTube. We congratulate and thank METU Biology and Genetics Society for this wonderful organization!

February 17, 2022 – New article!

We congratulate Ezgi and Eren who are among the writers of a new article titled “Indian genetic heritage in Southeast Asian populations“!

February 2022 – Domestication symposium for ESEB

We are excited to announce our symposium titled “Domestication: Fresh insights from ancient genomics” to be held during the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) meeting in Prague on August 14-19, 2022. The syposium will be co-organized by Mehmet Somel, Anders Götherström and Eva-Maria Geigl.

February 7-11, 2022 – aDNA Data Analysis Workshop
We organised a workshop for ancient DNA data analysis together with Hacettepe University Department of Bioinformatics and HumanG Lab. It was very productive and fun -you can access some of our notes here. Thanks all for contribution by attending and teaching!

February 2022 – New preprint!

You can use the link to access our new preprint titled “A genomic snapshot of demographic and cultural dynamism in Upper Mesopotamia during the Neolithic Transition“.

January 2022 – New article!

We congratulate Hamit İzgi and other co-writers for their new article titled “Inter-tissue convergence of gene expression during ageing suggests age-related loss of tissue and cellular identity“. They studied gene expression across mice lifespan, to show that tissues diverge from each other during development but tend to converge back during ageing -potentially losing tissue identity.

December 2021 – New book chapter!

We penned the chapter titled “From Bones to Genomes: Current Research on the Population History of Prehistoric Anatolia” in The Archaeology of Anatolia, Volume IV: Recent Discoveries (2018–2020). The chapter covers a review of recent ancient DNA research in Anatolia.

December 2021 – New preprint!

You can access our new preprint titled “CONGA: Copy number variation genotyping in ancient genomes and low-coverage sequencing data“.

November 2021 – New paper!

We congratulate Erinç Yurtman and other co-writers for their new paper titled “Archaeogenetic analysis of Neolithic sheep from Anatolia suggests a complex demographic history since domestication“.

September 2021 – Ancient DNA retreat in Datça

The joint ancient DNA team of METU and Hacettepe University had a lab retreat in Datça on 13-18 September 2021, with the participation of Anders Götherström from Stockholm University and Emrah Kırdök from Mersin University, to evaluate the intermediate results of our European Research Council (ERC) funded project “NEOGENE”. Our thanks go to the the staff of Municipality of Datça, Tunç Pansiyon and Baba Lokantası for making our stay and meetings possible!

September 6, 2021 – Seda completes her MSc degree!

S. Seda Çokoğlu successfully defended her thesis and completed her master’s degree. Congrats!

August 2021 – Reyhan receives award with her thesis

We congratulate Reyhan Yaka whose doctoral thesis was found worthy of the Serhat Özyar Award by METU! Her thesis investigates kinship among the Neolithic people of Anatolia using ancient DNA.

July 2021 – TÜBİTAK projects

We congratulate Gülşah Merve Kılınç for the approval of her TÜBİTAK 3501 project titled “Analyzing the Dynamics of Change in Genetic Structure Associated with Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes within the Last 10.000 Years in Anatolia with Ancient DNA and Population Genetics Approaches”, and Ezgi Altınışık for the approval of her TÜBİTAK 1001 project titled “Archaeogenomic Analysis of Roman Period Coastal and Midland Communities’ Population Histories in Anatolia”.

July 2021 – New Paper!

You can use the link to access our new paper titled “Human inbreeding has decreased in time through the Holocene“.

April 24-28, 2021 – Aegean Seminars for CompEcoEvo

Our lab members attended the Aegean Seminars for Computational Ecology and Evolution, which was held online this year. Mehmet Somel and Gülşah Merve Kılınç contributed to the seminars with their lectures on transcriptomics and genetic simulations.

April 2021 – New Paper!

We congratulate Reyhan et. al for their new paper titled “Variable kinship patterns in Neolithic Anatolia revealed by ancient genomes“.

March 2021 – The mammoth paper is on press

We spoke to Independent Turkish about mammoths, and more on the paper featuring the oldest ancient DNA.

March 2021 – New paper!

Congratulations to Ulaş Işıldak for his new paper titled “Distinguishing between recent balancing selection and incomplete sweep using deep neural networks“.

February 2021 – TÜBİTAK Scholarship

Ayça Aydoğan received TÜBİTAK 2211/B PhD Scholarship. Also, Şevval Aktürk, Merve Nur Güler and Gözde Atağ received TÜBİTAK 2210/A Masters Scholarship. Congratulations!

February 1-5, 2021 – 6th Evolutionary Genomics Winter School

The 6th Evolutionary Genomics Winter School, organized by Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey, was held online this year. While Ayça Küçükakdağ Doğu, Merve Nur Güler and Gözde Atağ took part as students, Reyhan Yaka and Eren Yüncü contributed to the lectures as assistants. We thank everyone who helped organize a quite informative and productive event. It was a great experience!

October 2020 – For Women in Science Programme

İdil Yet was granted a L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science National Fellowship. Congratulations İdil!

October 22-23, 2020 – HIBIT’20

Our lab members participated in the 13th International Symposium on Health Informatics and Bioinformatics, which was held online. Dilek Koptekin and Melike Dönertaş contributed to the symposium with oral presentations. Also, Yetkin Alıcı, Mehmet Somel, Igor Mapelli, Fatma Rabia Fidan and Gözde Atağ presented their posters.

September 2020 – Sci-hub 

CompEvo members regularly benefit from the Scihub project, which helps access scientific articles for all. Thanks to Scihub we can read papers that we could otherwise not obtain, or would have needed to pay unreasonable sums to publication monopolies. This month we made another donation to Scihub. Support Scihub!

June 2020 – Melike and Ezgi have received a doctorate degree!

Congratulations to our friends Ezgi Özkurt and Melike Dönertaş, who successfully completed their PhD!

April 2020 – Not every hero wears a cape

Our colleagues Reyhan Yaka and Sevgi Yorulmaz have volunteered to run qPCR tests at TUSEB to help fight against Covid-19. Meanwhile, our close collaborator in Spain, Francisco Ceballos, has also been running Sars-Cov-2 tests at a hospital lab in Santiago de Compostela. We’re proud of our friends – thank you, and keep safe!

March 2020 – eTwinning

We’re happy to announce that we received a H2020 Twinning grant for 2021-2023 with the NEOMATRIX Project! This is a special fund for institutional networking, and will allow us to bolster collaboration with colleagues in Stockholm (Anders Götherström), Crete (The aDNA group of our late colleague Dimitris Kafetzopoulos and Pavlos Pavlidis), and Paris (Eva-Maria Geigl and Thierry Grange)! The common theme will be the Mediterranean Neolithic.

November 15-17, 2019 – Workshop

We had a busy weekend with Computational Analysis of Ancient Genomes workshop. It was an informative and fun experience where we had the opportunity meet colleagues and learn essential stuff for free thanks to our amazing members Ekin, Dilek, Mehmet, Kıvılcım, Ezgi and everyone who generously spent their time and energy to help and prepare this workshop.
Thank you! You can access workshop content from the github page!

September 06, 2019 – Erinç completed his MSc degree!

Erinç Yurtman successfully defended his thesis and completed his master degree. Congrats!

August 26, 2019 – We have a new lab!

We have a new lab at Biology building attic. From now on, you can find former lab 234 residents there.

July 29, 2019 – Evrim and Elif completed their MSc degrees!

Evrim Fer and Elif Bozlak successfully defended their theses and completed their master degrees. Congrats!

July 10-12, 2019 – 6th EEBST, Ankara

Lab members participated in 6th Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Symposium in Turkey, which was held in Ankara University, getting the opportunity to meet the colleagues from all around the world and to learn about their studies. Handan Melike Dönertaş and Ulaş Işıldak contributed to the symposium with their oral presentations; while, Mehmet Çetin and Meriç Erdolu did so with their poster presentations.

June 2019 – 41th Symposium of Excavations and visits to the excavation sites in the vicinity

Kisses from Diyarbakır!

Lab members participated in 41th International Symposium of Excavations, Surveys and Archaeometry, which was held in Dicle University. Mehmet Somel, Mustafa Özkan, Erinç Yurtman, Reyhan Yaka, Füsun Özer, Dilek Koptekin, Mehmet Çetin, Fatma Rabia Fidan, Sevim Seda Çokoğlu ve Ali Akbaba contributed the symposium with their oral presentations. Then, the group visited the archeological sites in the vicinity, including Çayönü, Göbeklitepe and Hasankeyf.

September 16-22, 2018 – 1st Aegean Seminars for CompEcoEvo, Izmir

CompEvo members help in organizing an Aegean Seminars for Computational Ecology and Evolution in Izmir, with the generous support of  the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey.

August 29 – September 1, 2018 – Wenner Gren Symposium “Age of Humans in Europe”, Stockholm

Mehmet Somel talks about ancient DNA in Wenner Gren Symposium.

July 18-20, 2018 – 5th EEBST, Izmir

Our lab participated to 5th Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Symposium in Turkey which was held in Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir.  Hamit won the “Best Poster Award” and Reyhan won “Best Research Article Award” from EkoEvo Society.

August 19-22, 2018- II Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology – Montpellier

Evrim Fer presented a poster titled “Determining Frequency Changes in Phenotype-Associated Alleles between Ancient and Modern-day Anatolian Populations”.

July 10, 2018 – Duha finished her Msc

Duha Alioğlu defended her thesis and completed her master degree successfully. Congrats to Duha!

June 2018 – New paper from our lab!

We congratulate Gülşah, Reyhan, Arev, Eren and Mehmet for their new paper titled “Investigating Holocene human population history in North Asia using ancient mitogenomes“.

May 2018 – Art in Science Mention

Elif Bozlak won “Art in Science Mention” with her project “The Music Inside You” in METU Informatics Institute Open Research Day. Congrats!

May 2018 – Erasmus Mundus Mater’s Program

Arev P. Sümer was accepted to the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology. Congrats, Arev!

May 2018 – Archaeology conference at Çanakkale

Ali Akbaba, Ayshin Ghalichi, Erinç Yurtman, Füsun Özer, Hamit İzgi, Mehmet Somel, Reyhan Yaka and Sevgi Yorulmaz present at the annual Archaeology Meeting at Çanakkale. Nice city!

May 2018 – Musical mutations by Elif Bozlak

Elif prepares a spectacular art piece describing de novo genomic mutations (her thesis topic) for the Art Innovation Prix. The piece will be on exhibition between May 3-18, and later at METU.

April 2018 – Poorya Parvizi leaves for the UK

We will dearly miss “King” Poorya – CompEvo member since 2014.

April 19, 2018 – Anders Götherström visit

It’s always a pleasure to host Anders – good time, good work and a great 50K run!

March 13, 2018 – ESEB Conference Travel  Award 2018

We congratulate Evrim for receiving ESEB’18 Conference Travel Award!

March 12, 2018 – YÖK Scholarship 

Gözde, Mustafa and Meriç obtained PhD scholarships from YÖK!

March 12, 2018 – TÜBITAK 1001 

We congratulate Füsun and Mustafa for receiving TÜBITAK 1001 support for the project titled with “Horse Archaeogenomics and Population Demographics in Anatolia”.

February 7-9, 2018 – Population Genetics Simulation with R

Our lab members Yetkin, Elif, Erinç and Evrim organized a workshop titled “An Introduction to Population Genetics Simulations with R” at ODTU Biological Sciences. Yetkin gave lectures about theoretical background of population genetics models and practiced some of the models using R while Elif, Erinç and Evrim helped the participants with their codes. It was a quite productive and intense course about population genetics.

February 8, 2018 – A dinner with interns!

We had five super cool and curious interns (Eda, Asena, Ulaş, Barış and Halis) during this semester break. Before the day of their return, we had a dinner with them.  We really nice to meet you and hope to see you again!

February 5, 2018 – New Paper from our lab!

We congratulate Reyhan, Poorya and Mehmet on their new paper titled “Archaeogenetics of Late Iron Age Çemialo Sırtı, Batman: Investigating maternal genetic continuity in north Mesopotamia since the Neolithic“.  It provides a further understanding about demographic history in North Mesopotamia.

February 1, 2018 – Elif Bozlak’s project accepted for BANG’18 

Elif Bozlak’s project about mutations and music in genome is accepted to Bang Art Innovation Prix i2018 Programme. Congrats!

January 4, 2018 – Ekin finished her Msc

Ekin Sağlıcan defended her thesis about testis transcriptomics and completed her master degree successfully. Congratulations to Ekin!

December 7, 2017 – Yetkin Alıcı got teaching assistant position

We congratulate Yetkin Alıcı as he got a TA position at our Department.

November 28, 2017 – ERC Consolidator Grant to NEOGENE!

Our project NEOGENE about Neolithization in Anatolia has been chosen for support from the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant! Thanks to all collaborators and friends that made this possible.

November 22, 2017 – New paper from our lab!

We congratulate Gülşah, Dilek, Çiğdem, Arev, Reyhan and Mehmet on their new paper titled “Archaeogenomic analysis of the first steps of Neolithization in Anatolia and the Aegean“. Their paper provides a reanalysis on how Neolithic culture moved westward.

November 2, 2017-  WGF grant goes to Dilek

We congratulate Dilek Koptekin for receiving a $20k “Dissertation Fieldwork Grant” from the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

October 13, 2017 –  New paper from our lab!

Our paper titled “Variation and functional impact of Neanderthal ancestry in Western Asia” was published in Genome Biology and Evolution. Özgür, Duha, Melike, Evrim and Mehmet worked with Ömer Gökçümen from Buffalo University. Apparently, Middle Easterners are slightly less Neanderthal than other Eurasians, but their Neanderthal-derived alleles may still have interesting functional impact.

September 15, 2017 –  Ayshin finished her Msc

We have a new master of science! Ayshin Ghalici defended her master thesis successfully. We congratulate Ayshin!

August 2017 – TÜBİTAK funding for aDNA project!

Our TÜBİTAK proposal on Neolithic aDNA gets funded!

August 15, 2017 – Yetkin and Poorya finished their Msc

Our master students Yetkin Alıcı and Poorya Parvizi defended their master theses successfully. Kudos to Yetkin and Poorya!

July 26, 2017 – Skype with Pavlidis Lab

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

July 20, 2017 – Çatalhöyük visit

Mehmet, Dilek, Dilşad, Mustafa and our collaborator Ali Metin from Hacettepe University visited Çatalhöyük 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!

July 19, 2017 – Skype with Pavlidis Lab

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

July 13, 2017- EEBST’17 Best Master Thesis and Best Poster awards go to Gözde!

Congratulations to Zeliha Gözde Turan for receiving both “The Best Master Thesis Award” and “The 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 Neolithization 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, Dilek was selected as vice president responsible for education and membership, and Duha was selected as representative member. We congratulate them!

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

July 12, 2017 – Füsun lectures in Aktopraklık Archaeology School

Füsun Özer gave a talk on aDNA at Aktopraklık Archaeology School.

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 participated to 85th annual meeting of the American Association of  Physical Anthropologists 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 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 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 and Gözde 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!

September 1, 2016 – EEBST Best Poster Presentation winner is Ayshin

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 University. Mehmet Somel gave a speech about “Autism spectrum disorder in context of human brain evolution”.  Arev P. Sümer,  Dilek Koptekin, Ayshin Ghalichi and Duha Alioğlu presented their posters, too. Anders Götherström also joined us for the EEBST 2016.

August 4, 2016 – Our first archaeogenomics paper is out -it also gets press coverage

We congratulate our lab members Gülşah M. Kılınç, Füsun Özer, Melike Dönertaş, Ayshin Ghalichi, Reyhan Yaka, Dilek Koptekin, Poorya Parvizi, Eren Yüncü, Nihan Dilşad Dağtaş and Mehmet Somel for publication of their paper “The Demographic Development of the First Farmers in Anatolia“. They were working on this project with the collaboration of Anders Götherstörm, Mattias Jakobsson, Jan Stora and Togan lab. It was also covered in Science Daily.

July 2016 – Visit of Zohre and Fuad

We’re happy to host Zohre Fakhari and Foad Abazari coming from Tehran.

May 2, 2016 – Ozan Tuğluk gives seminar

Thanks to Ozan Tuğluk for his seminar on high performance computing.

April 2016 – EkoEvo web site is launched!

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 Tuğçe 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!

We congratulate Melike Dönertaş on the publication of her new paper titled “Characterising complex enzyme reaction data“! She was working on this during her summer practice in EMBL, Cambridge, UK in 2013.

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

With İnci Togan, Ayşegül Birand, Fusun Özer 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, titled “Determining the origin of synchronous multifocal bladder cancer by exome sequencing“. They were working on the project with Nathan Lack and Can Alkan since 2013.

November 1-4, 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”.

October 14-16, 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. The support team 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 finished her MSc

Ezgi Özkurt 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 in 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!

January 16-17, 2015 – EMBO/MBD Winter Retreat 2015 in 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”.

October 30, 2014 – Our testis evolution paper covered by ScienceShot

Our testis evolution paper covered by ScienceShots with the genius illustration above! Here’s the link to the preprint version. Meanwhile, Rori Rolfhs is helping out in modeling testis expression evolution. Thanks Rori!

September 15-21, 2014 – Quantitative Evolution Workshop in İzmir


Ezgi, Gözde 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.

September 10-12, 2014 – Molecular Biology Association Congress in İzmir

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.

July 12-13, 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!

July 7-9, 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.