Üsküdar University offers scientific opportunities for aspiring students
Ludovica Santarelli – News Interview
Much of the opportunities that Üsküdar University offers can be found in the BrainPark Technology Transfer Office and BrainPark Incubation Center, located inside the Altunizade Main Campus. They serve under the umbrella of Üsküdar University R&D and Innovation Policies (ARGEYEP) Directorate, whose aim is to expand Üsküdar University's R&D, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. Students can bring their ideas to the start-ups inside the organization to conduct their researches through projects.
To better understand how this process works, I interviewed Mohammad Amin Seyed Nazarzadeh, an international Iranian student majoring in Molecular Biology and Genetics, who is carrying out a project inside the TRGENMER (Transgenic Cell Technologies and Epigenetics) laboratory.
What is your study background and how did you come across this Üsküdar University program?
After I finished studying biology in high school in Iran, I was interested in continuing my studies in a more specific approach in the field of molecular biology and genetics. I started searching for esteemed professors and lecturers in promising fields, which led me to be interested in Prof. Dr. Cihan Taştan, the leading scientist in Turkey for utilizing Crispr technologies in his company, TRGENMER, and Prof. Dr. Sevim Işık & Prof. Dr. Muhsin Konuk in the field of stem cell technologies and biology, hence choosing Üsküdar University to study in.
What was your experience learning in the laboratory as a student?
As you progress through routine lectures in molecular biology & genetics, you will practice using lab equipment and techniques such as Microscope, PCR, DNA Nano Drop, Electrophoresis, Bacteria Inoculation and Cultivation in lessons such as Physiology, Microbiology, Chemistry and Molecular Cell Biology.
After learning the basic understanding of biology and relative techniques, you could start expanding your knowledge and experience by using the opportunities Üsküdar University offers you with the examples such as mentioned professors to work on specialized and specific projects to further your ambition.
How did you come into the position of working on a specific project?
After advancing through the same lessons as other students, I enrolled in the Radichal Rare Disease challenge organized by Prof. Dr. Cihan Taştan, by showing adequate performance and initiative; after the competition, I presented my own idea, which prompted us to engage in a duo partnership in developing this project.
Could you explain what your project is about?
The name of the project is “Developing A Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) kit for detection of FecB gene variants in sheep's blood.” The goal is to create a low-cost, portable kit to manufacture in the field of biotechnology and bring it to the market. In this project, we innovate by using a very prominent covid detection method and bring it to a different area to detect genes in animals; this method could be used for different purposes in the future.
What kind of experience have you gained from working in such a project and how do you think it will affect your professional growth?
By working on this project, I managed to have an advantage in my field, especially biotechnology, more than my peers, study in more diverse subjects and be under direct tutoring on how to manage a project by my respective professor. One of the most important opportunities that came with this project was of it to be accepted by TÜBİTAK organization. TÜBİTAK is a government organization which supports and backs selected student projects worthy of future investment and prosperity, by officially backing and funding the project; every aspiring student, both national and international, can benefit from this funding.
Another highly important benefit from doing such a project was the material that it gave me to add in my resume, which helped me in netting a highly prestigious internship in SciLifeLabs, in Stockholm (Sweden).
Which other benefits do you expect from this project besides the main goal of the original idea?
Besides the scientific knowledge and experience that comes from such projects, we could expect that investment revenue related to this project’s goal will help us in creating a launch platform for future joint/independent projects in different fields, strengthening the scientific bond between Turkey & Iran’s scientific community and other internationally interested parties, and to bring attention to what we can offer in the vast scope of our abilities in TRGENMER, Üsküdar University.