December 10th, 2023 – We presented our Çatalhöyük results in BIAA conference
The British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara (BIAA) organized a conference in Bilkent University which was titled “Contextualizing the Neolithic: Regional Approaches to Sedentism and Domestication in the Konya Plain” and comprised lectures by leading scholars in the field. Mehmet Somel presented our recent archaeogenomics results from Çatalhöyük, with an emphasis on biological ties and mobility.
November 30, 2023 – New paper!
New publication co-authored by members of our team is now online: The time and place of origin of South Caucasian languages: insights into past human societies, ecosystems and human population genetics.
November 23, 2023 – New mouflon preprint!
Check out our newpreprint titled The first complete genome of the extinct European wild ass (Equus hemionus hydruntinus).
November 15, 2023 – Chicago workshop
We are thrilled to contribute to this workshop on the population history of Central Anatolia organized by the University of Chicago! Our collaboration with GenSCAPE_Lab is taking new heights. Here’s a snapshot from the vibrant gathering in Chicago, with part of our Ankara team joining virtually. Huge thanks to Hannah Moots, John Novembre, Maanasa Raghavan, and all attendees for the warm welcome and engaging discussions! Your hospitality in Chicago has been incredible. Looking forward to more collaboration!
November 13, 2023 – Three new preprints
Wow, another productive week! Compevo members posted three preprints in a row: Investigating DNA methylation changes associated with food production using paleogenomes, Pre-processing of paleogenomes: Mitigating reference bias and postmortem damage in ancient genome data, and Benchmarking kinship estimation tools for ancient genomes using pedigree simulations.
October 23, 2023 – New paper!
Congratulations to Zoé Pochon, Nora Bergfeldt, Emrah Kırdök, Mário Vicente, Thijessen Naidoo, Tom van der Valk, N. Ezgi Altınışık, Maja Krzewińska, Love Dalén, Anders Götherström, Claudio Mirabello, Per Unneberg & Nikolay Oskolkov for their new paper aMeta: an accurate and memory-efficient ancient metagenomic profiling workflow published in Genome Biology!
September 11, 2023 – New paper!
Meriç Erdolu et. al. published a new article titled Single hybrid population but multiple parental individuals at the origin of parthenogenetic rock lizards Darevskia sapphirina and D. bendimahiensis Schmidtler, & Eiselt Darevsky (1994) endemic to the area of Lake Van in East Turkey. Congratulations!
September 2023 – Five new TÜBİTAK projects approved!
We congratulate Gülşah Merve Kılınç, Damla Kaptan and Duygu Deniz Kazancı for the approval of their TÜBİTAK 1001 projects, and also Duygu Deniz Kazancı and Kanat Gürün for the approval of their TÜBİTAK 2218 projects!
September 4, 2023 – Hamit receives his doctorate degree!
Hamit İzgi successfully defended his PhD thesis and graduated. Congratulations!
31 August, 2023 – With our NEOMATRIX partners, we organized a session in EAA 2023!
Members of the NEOMATRIX team organized a session at this year’s meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA 2023) which was held at Belfast in Ireland on 30 August – 2 September 2023. Our session entitled “Neolithization of the Mediterranean: Integrated Approaches to Old Questions” included a total of ten paper presentations on this topic covering a broad array of disciplines including archaeology, bioarchaeology, archaeogenetics, biogeochemistry, archaeodating, and linguistics including four invited lectures by Prof. Yılmaz Selim Erdal, Dr. Eva-Maria Geigl, Dr. Alexei Kassian, and Dr. Agathe Reingruber.
August 25, 2023 – We have three more MSc graduates!
Gözde Atağ, Merve Nur Güler and Şevval Aktürk successfully defended their master’s theses and graduated this week. Congratulations!
July 23-27, 2023 – ISMB/ECCB 2023, Lyon
Merve Nur Güler attended The 31st Annual Intelligent Systems For Molecular Biology and the 22nd Annual European Conference on Computational Biology (ISMB/ECCB) in Lyon and presented her work with a poster titled “Distinguishing First-Degree Relationships From Ancient Samples With Machine Learning”.
July 23-27, 2023 – SMBE 2023, Ferrara
We were at the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) 2023 meeting in Ferrara with a big delegation from our lab and the EkoEvo Society and we contributed to this great event with our presentations. As partners of our NEOMATRIX project (Eva-Maria Geigl, Anders Götherström, Pavlos Pavlidis and Mehmet Somel), we also organized a symposium which comprised five great talks: Victoria Mullin and Torsten Günther told us about sex-biased admixture from aurochs into cattle in Europe. Elisabetta Canteri described a new modeling approach to explain the spread of plant and animal domesticates using ancestry, mobility, and climate. Audrey Lin told the dramatic story of woolly dogs raised by Native Americans and how they went extinct under cultural assimilation pressure by colonizers. Finally, Anders Bergström talked about new leads on the mystery of dog domestication. Our session also had 35 posters on various topics, from rice and agave to humans and cats. Finally, we were dismayed by news that a symposium participant from China could not join because of visa issues.
July 17-19, 2023 – 8th EEBST, İstanbul
It was great to take part in EEBST2023, where Duygu Deniz Kazancı and Gözde Atağ gave talks on Turkish red pines and wild mouflons, respectively. Merve Nur Güler, Melih Yıldız, Mehmet Somel, Eren Yüncü, Ayça Aydoğan and Gözde Atağ contributed to the symposium with poster presentations.
Also, Meriç Erdolu from our lab was deemed worthy of the “Doctoral Dissertation Honorable Mention Award” by the EkoEvo association for his doctoral thesis on the reticulate speciation of the asexually reproducing lizards of the genus Darevskia in Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus.
July 13, 2023 – Mustafa receives his doctorate degree!
Mustafa Özkan successfully defended his PhD thesis! Congratulations!
June 8, 2023 – And the award goes to Merve & Gözde!
We’re excited to share that our lab group has emerged victorious in the “Share UR Research Video Competition II” organized by METU SCT and GİSAM. Merve Nur Güler and Gözde Atağ impressed the judges with their captivating video titled “Hidden in the Bones“, where they showcased their scientific research. Congratulations!
June 7, 2023 – New preprint!
Check out our new preprint titled “The first complete genome of the extinct European wild ass (Equus hemionus hydruntinus)”.
June 2023 – Good luck, Dilek!
Dilek is leaving for Lausanne. It will be hard to get used to not seeing her around here, but she’ll always be a part of CompEvo!
May 26, 2023 – Arda receives his masters’ degree!
Congratulations to Arda Sevkar who succcessfully completed his MSc!
December 8, 2022 – New paper!
Dilek Koptekin et. al published a new article titled Spatial and temporal heterogeneity in human mobility patterns in Holocene Southwest Asia and the East Mediterranean. Congratulations!
November 30, 2022 – New paper!
We congratulate Z. Gözde Turan and other co-writers for their new article titled Somatic copy number variant load in neurons of healthy controls and Alzheimer’s disease patients.
November 29, 2022 – We presented our work in Stockholm
Mehmet Somel presented some of our recent work on ancient DNA from the Neolithic in SW Asia at the ancient DNA symposium organized by SciLife in Swedish Museum of Natural History.
November 27, 2022 – Αντίο, Stefanos!
We were delighted to have Stefanos Papadantonakis from FORTH, Heraklion visit us in Ankara under our NEOMATRIX collaboration network. We indulged in demographic inference-related work for two months, supported by plenty of beer. Looking forward to hosting other colleagues from NEOMATRIX in Ankara!
November 24, 2022 – New article on 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Mehmet penned a new article on the Nobel prize awarded to Svante Pääbo, which was published in Sarkaç -unfortunately it is only in Turkish.
November 10, 2022 – Mehmet was in IBG İzmir
Mehmet Somel gave an introductory talk on our aDNA studies in İzmir Biomedicine and Genome Center (IBG) as part of IBG Science Day. He also emphasized the importance of doing science in Turkey, and underlined that young researchers must be supported better, and that the status of our colleagues pursuing their profession on TÜBİTAK and YÖK scholarships must be updated as salaried employees. You may watch Mehmet’s talk here on YouTube.
November 9, 2022 – We talked to AA about our Neolithic Çayönü results
Yılmaz Selim Erdal and Mehmet Somel talked to Selma Kasap from AA (Anadolu Agency) about our findings from the Neolithic Çayönü site and its social implications. Full article (in Turkish) can be accessed here.
November 9, 2022 – Ezgi Altınışık wrote about her journey as a young scientist who had to fight to work on evolution. Read her story in eLife.
October 25, 2022 – We discussed the Nobel Prize awarded to ancient DNA work
Mehmet Somel, Gülşah M. Kılınç, N. Ezgi Altınışık, Arev P. Sümer and Ayshin Ghalichi were invited to the online activity aired on EkoEvo’s YouTube channel.
October 21, 2022 – We participated in HIBIT 2022 in Mersin
We were in Mersin to participate in the 15th International Symposium on Health Informatics and Bioinformatics (HIBIT 2022). Mehmet Somel gave a talk titled “Ancient Upper Mesopotamia 10,000 years ago: First genomic impressions” while İdil Taç and Hande Çubukçu made the poster presentations “A comparative analysis on ancient genomic data: The impact of variant discovery approach on population genetics tests” and “Evaluation of genotype imputation for ancient genomes from regions underrepresented in the reference panel”.
October 13, 2022 – Nobel Prize draws attention to Pääbo’s ancient DNA discoveries
In an activity organized in in METU Culture and Convention Center, Mehmet Somel was invited to talk on why this year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to research in the field of ancient DNA. After providing a summary of the hitherto research on human evolution and ancient DNA, Mehmet introduced the audience to Svante Pääbo’s seminal discoveries in these fields.
October 6, 2022 – “Kinship, Sex, and Biological Relatedness” Symposium in Halle
We presented our recent work on genetic kinship patterns in Neolithic Anatolia at the “Kinship, Sex, and Biological Relatedness” Symposium organized by the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle, Germany.
October 5, 2022 – New preprint!
You can access our new preprint titled “aMeta: an accurate and memory-efficient ancient Metagenomic profiling workflow”.
September 30, 2022 – European Researchers’ Night in Erzurum
We were in Erzurum Atatürk University for #EuropeanResearchersNight activities themed “Science from Nature to your Table” – #SCINURTURE. Mehmet Somel introduced children to ancient DNA research on human and sheep bones.
September 2022 – Futuyma’s Evolution back in Turkish & Ekin is among the translators!
A classic text for evolutionary biology, Douglas J. Futuyma’s Evolution was sold-out for a long time. We are proud to announce that Ekin Sağlıcan is among the translators of the 3rd edition, which is now published by Palme Yayınevi and back in market.
September 15, 2022 – In Arkeofili open letter we championed local aDNA workgroups
Upon the publication of three papers by Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al. featuring ancient DNA research conducted in the USA on Anatolian material, we sent an open letter to popular archaeology portal Arkeofili, where we made a call for the prioritization of on-site collaboration among local geneticists, archaeologists and anthropologists, rather thanrather than leaving the field to foreign labs that monopolize the discipline. The letter was signed by N. Ezgi Altınışık, Gülşah M. Kılınç, Emrah Kırdök, Füsun Özer and Mehmet Somel.
September 13, 2022 – Merve and Gözde taught R programming in Bird Ecology School
This year, METU hosted the first Bird Ecology School. Our lab members Merve Nur Güler and Gözde Atağ contributed to the school with a lecture titled “Introduction to Data Visualisation Using ggplot”.
September 2022 – Dilek receives her doctorate degree!
Dilek Koptekin successfully defended her PhD thesis! Congrats!
September 2022 – Rabia and Ulaş receive their masters’ degrees!
Congratulations to Rabia Fidan and Ulaş Işıldak who succcessfully completed their MSc!
August 17, 2022 – Joint NEOMATRIX symposium on domestication in ESEB, Prague
At ESEB 2022 in Prague we organized a symposium on studying domestication via ancient DNA with our good old friends Anders Götherström and Eva-Maria Geigl, as part of our NEOMATRIX collaboration. We had Laurent Franz as keynote speaker, and many exciting contributed talks from tomatoes to dogs. Füsun Özer also gave a talk about Neolithic sheep from Anatolia at the session. It is amazing to see how fast the field is developing!
June 2022 – We are hiring
We are seeking a new colleague to work with us in managing our NEOMATRIX project. The details of the position and the requirements can be seen here.
June 10-15, 2022 – NEOMATRIX partners meet in Ankara + Site visits
As we hit the 18th month of our 3-year-long international science collaboration project NEOMATRIX, a H2020 funded Twinning project, PIs and ESRs from all partners (Stockholm University, Institut Jacques Monod, Université de Paris and French National Centre for Scientific Research, The Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas, and METU/Hacettepe aDNA Lab) came together for a 5-day meeting in Ankara. We evaluated our activities up to now and planned the future of our scientific collaboration.
As part of the event, we had a two-day workshop in Hacettepe University on the Neolithization of the Mediterranean, where our ESRs presented their latest ancient DNA data to be discussed from an archaeological and anthropological point of view. Eylem Özdoğan (İstanbul University), Tristan Carter (McMaster University) and Michael Ilett (CNRS) also contributed to the workshop with their presentations -we thank them very much! And thanks to all Hacettepe Anthropology members for being great hosts!
In an event open to all students at METU and other Ankara universities, the esteemed PIs of the NEOMATRIX network delivered fascinating bioarchaeology talks on popular topics. Anders Götherström talked on Vikings, Eva-Maria Geigl on the domestication of cats, Argyro Nafplioti on the bioarchaeological uses of isotopes and Thierry Grange on the domestication of donkeys & horses. Students from numerous Ankara universities made it to METU and crowded the hall despite heavy rain. Million thanks to Yıldıray Ozan, Head of METU Department of Mathematics for helping us arrange the Cahit Arf Auditorium and all the technical equipment! See below video for excerpts from the seminars.
The Ankara meeting also included visits to Aşıklı Höyük in Aksaray, and Boğazköy & Alacahöyük in Çorum. In each of these sites we were hosted and guided by the esteemed site directors: Mihriban Özbaşaran & Güneş Duru in Aşıklı, and Andreas Schachner in Boğazköy. We cannot thank them enough for sparing their valuable time to us; both visits were very fruitful and interesting, and you may see a more detailed article in NEOMATRIX website featuring videos and photos fom the visits.
Last but not the least, we’d like to thank our colleagues Argyro Nafplioti, Angeliki Papadopoulou, Charikleia Karageorgiou & Nikolaos Psonis (FORTH), Eva-Maria Geigl, Thierry Grange, Fabien Fauchereau, Caitlin Martin, Jeanne Mattei & Oğuzhan Parasayan (IJM-CNRS), Anders Götherström, and Anna Linderholm, Mário Vicente, Reyhan Yaka & Petter Larsson (SU) who came all the way to Ankara to participate in the event! We do expect this meeting to further enhance our scientific collaboration!
May 25, 2022 – Symposium in Denizli
As members of CompEvo, Human-G Lab, and Hacettepe University Department of Bioinformatics we participated in the 42nd International Symposium on Excavations, Surveys and Archaeometry held in Denizli by the Ministry of Culture, to present our aDNA results.
May 24, 2022 – New preprint!
You can access our new preprint titled “CONGA: Copy number variation genotyping in ancient genomes and low-coverage sequencing data”.
April 2022 – Eren explains our sheep results in the latest bulletin of EkoEvo
In the recently released bulletin of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Association (EkoEvo) Eren Yüncü penned an article explaining our latest research concerning the domestication of sheep. Eren was among the authors of the Communications Biology paper “Archaeogenetic analysis of Neolithic sheep from Anatolia suggests a complex demographic history since domestication”.
April 20-22, 2022 – Synthesis workshop in METU
We came together with some of the most prominent archaeologists of Turkey in METU for a 3-day workhop where we presented our aDNA results and had many fruitful debates!
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.
January 2022 – Arkeo Atlas is back after almost ten years with an issue completely dedicated to the Neolithic in Anatolia. Dilek and Mehmet penned an article summing up ancient DNA research pertaining to Anatolian sites, whereas Ezgi, Füsun and Kanat wrote an article focusing on kinship. The issue also features articles by our collaborators Çiğdem Atakuman and Y. Selim Erdal.
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 29 – December 2, 2021 – Computational methods workshop in Crete
From November 29th to December 2nd 2021, we had a computational workshop in Heraklion, Crete, as part of our NEOMATRIX project. The workshop was led by Dr. Pavlos Pavlidis and hosted by the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) Institute of Computer Science (ICS). The scientific program focused on the computational inference of kinship of ancient samples. Furthermore, the program included activities like hiking, and a visit to the archaeological site of Faistos.
Many thanks to our colleagues from FORTH (Dr Pavlidis, Dr. Nafplioti and others) for organizing such a lively, instructive and warm-hearted event!
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 staff of the Municipality of Datça, Tunç Pansiyon and Baba Lokantası for making our stay and meetings possible!
September 2021 – HIBIT’21
Hamit and Kanat presented their research at HIBIT2021 (The International Symposium on Health Informatics and Bioinformatics). You can reach the symposium programme and presentation abstracts here.
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 25, 2021 – Ekin gives mammoth talk in MBG Turkey Platform
We presented our talk entitled “Ancient DNA: What does the 1.2 million years old mammoth DNA tell us?” for the online conference organized by the MBG Turkey Platform, an organization founded by students of various universities. It was incredibly fun to introduce the topic of ancient DNA to students from different scientific backgrounds.
April 10, 2021 – Sevgi does Q&A with undergraduate students at İstanbul Kültür University
We gave a presentation on the current status of ancient DNA research aimed at undergraduate students at the “Bio Kultur” event organized by the IEEE society of Istanbul Kültür University. We thank the organizers for their invitation!
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 – New paper by Ulaş!
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!
November 2020 – Outreach activity in highschool
Meriç gave a talk about “Biology and Evolution” at a highschool event.
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 Sci–hub project, which helps access scientific articles for all. Thanks to Sci–hub 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 Sci–hub. Support Sci–hub!
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 2018 – NEOGENE is featured in ODTÜ Kampüs
The magazine “ODTÜ Kampüs” featured an interview with Çiğdem Atakuman and Mehmet Somel.
April 19, 2018 – Anders Götherström visit
It’s always a pleasure to host Anders – good time, good work and a great 50K run!
March 2018 – Good luck Eren!
Eren Yüncü leaves for the Czechia. We will greatly miss her!
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 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 2018 – aDNA is in METU CEC “Half Term Break Seminars”
Çiğdem Atakuman and Mehmet Somel take the stage in this year’s “Half Term Break Seminars” organized by the METU Continuing Education Center (CEC).
February 2018 – Dilek visits Stockholm
Dilek Koptekin pays visit to Stockholm University, our long term scientific partner in ancient DNA research.
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 Biodulogical 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 23-24, 2017 – Dilek, Duha & Mehmet helped organise a popular evolution symposium in Istanbul (2017 Evrim, Bilim ve Egitim Sempozyumu, Boğaziçi University), where Mehmet and Dilek gave talks on the teaching of evolution.
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 2017 – Running in Cappadoccia with Anders!
With Anders visiting us again, we had a great time working, having fun and even running 35k in Cappadoccia!
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.
Eylül 2017 – Dilşad leaves for Oklahoma
We wish good luck to Nihan Dilşad Dağtaş in her ongoing career.
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.
Mayıs 2017 – Gülşah goes to Stockholm
Gülşah Kılınç goes to Stockholm University to work together with Anders. At least she will not be too far away…
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 2017 – CompEvo contribute significantly to the drafting of a report on “Why Evolution Needs to be Covered in the Compulsory Education Curriculum” (in Turkish), published by the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey and other associations.
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 (EkoEvo). 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).
September 2016 – Summer school in Şirince
We took part in the “Computational Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Summer School” organized by Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Association of Turkey and ESEB in Şirince.
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 26-28, 2016
Dilek & Mehmet helped organize an “Evolution for Teachers” activity in Izmir.
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: https://ekoevo.org/
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 Kinşiali 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 below! 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.
2014 – Gülşah gave a popular science talk on ancient DNA at a meeting organized by the METU student club.
2014 – Mehmet gave a popular science seminar on human evolution at the Aykut Kence Evrim Konferansi, METU (organized by the METU student club).
2013 – Mehmet helped organize a popular evolution symposium in Istanbul (2013 Evrim, Bilim ve Eğitim Sempozyumu, Boğaziçi University) and talked on human evolutionary genetics; plus gave a similar talk to for teachers (Eğitimde Sınıf Tavrı, İstanbul).
2012-2013 – Mehmet was part of the Rasmus Nielsen lab team (organized by Rori Rohlfs and Emilia Huerta Sanchez) teaching evolution at a Berkeley High School biology class.