Principal Investigator

Asst. Prof. Çağlar Çekiç

I graduated from Middle East Technical University in 2002 as an honor student. I received my PhD degree in 2009 from the University of Louisville, School of Medicine with Dean’s citation. For my doctoral studies I was involved in the discovery of the mechanism by which vaccine adjuvant monophosphoryl lipid A shows potent immunostimulatory activities without causing side effects (Science 2007, J. Biol Chem 2009, J. Immunol 2011). This was an important support for its approval by FDA for human use in the US. After receiving my PhD degree I joined as a post-doc fellow to one of the world renowned immunology institute La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology at University of California San Diego under Joel Linden`s mentorship. Among my important post-doctoral work are (1) discovery of a GPCR signaling pathway regulating T cell homeostasis (J. Exp. Med. 2013), (2) discovery and characterization of anti-tumor properties of an FDA-approved asthma drug (J. Immunol 2012), (3) identification of cellular targets of novel therapeutics using tissue-specific deletion of target genes (Cancer Research 2014), (4) discovery of a link between cholesterol homeostasis and tumor immunity (Nature Com. 2015). I received several awards and fellowships from organizations such as American Association of Immunologists and American Heart Association for my doctoral and pre-doctoral studies. Currently, I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Bilkent University. My  research interests in immunopharmacology include understanding the molecular basis of low-toxicity immunomodulation to develop novel immunotherapies. I am a big fun of music and history. I was the former singer and rhythm guitarist of the local band Disorient in San Diego, CA. With Disorient and other local bands I was involved  in fund raising and cultural activities in SoCal area.

İmran Akdemir 

MSc. Student - Lab Manager

I received my BSc degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Bilkent University in 2014. At the same year, I joined Çağlar Çekiç’s lab for my master studies. During my undergrad studies and internships, I have worked with therapeutic ODNs and their delivery, immunosuppressive effects of telomeric DNA on TLR9 signaling, and immunomodulatory effects of bacterial exopolysaccharides. Currently I’m studying the interactions between Adenosine and TLR signaling and the molecular mechanisms involved in this interactory pathway. Besides immunology, I have a huge interest in sci-fi and fantasy, world mythology, history of religions, history of art, archeology, and literature.

Merve Kayhan 

MSc. Student

I graduated from Istanbul University, Moleculer Biology and Genetics Department in 2013. During my undergrad studies, I did internships in several universities and institutes such as Tufts University, CSHL and Max Planck Institute. In addition to that, I joined Erasmus programme in my senior year. After I graduated, I joined Hyman's Lab in MPI-CBG as a visiting student for 6 months. Currently I am a Master's student in Caglar Cekic's Lab at Bilkent University, working on purinergic signalling and its related pathways in immunoregulation. In my free times, I play guitar, try to learn new musical instruments, have some time with my friends and play with my cat.

Altay Koyaş

MSc. Student

I graduated from Hacettepe University, Biology Department in 2014. I performed my internships at Intergen Genetic Diagnostic Centre in my third year and Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Metabolism Department in my senior year. Furthermore, during my senior year I studied in molecular biology lab at Hacettepe as a research assistant. After graduation, I joined Çağlar Çekiç’s group as a master student. My project is about immunopharmacological effects of adenosine on molecular pathways. In my free times, I like reading novels, watching movies, playing video games and spending time with my friends.