Sabri Ülker Science Award presented to Turkish Scientist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elçin Ünal

The 10th anniversary of Sabri Ülker Foundation, established in memory of Sabri Ülker, the doyen of the Turkish food industry, to help convey information on food, nutrition and health to society, was celebrated at the Sabri Ülker Science Award ceremony held online on October 22. This year, the jury, chaired by Prof. Dr. Gökhan Hotamışlıgil, awarded the Sabri Ülker Science Award, which supports young scientists contribute to the future of public health, to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elçin Ünal of the University of California, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Berkeley (UC Berkeley).

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ünal: "This award is priceless in reminding me that I am not alone in my scientific studies."

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elçin Ünal, the recipient of the Sabri Ülker Science Award, and whoattended the digital ceremony live, and was declared the winner by Begüm Mutuş the General Manager of Sabri Ülker Foundation. SAssoc. Prof. Dr. Ünal: "I was honored to be deemed worthy of the Sabri Ülker Science Award. This award is priceless for me as it reminds me that I am not alone in my scientific work. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone, especially the Jury of Sabri Ülker Science Award. I hope that my work can contribute to further research and discoveries.

The possibilities of developing diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer's may decrease

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elçin Ünal, who built her scientific career on the relationship between meiosis and aging, is investigating how damage sustained by cells as a result of aging can be treated naturally. Indeed, the main aim of Ünal and her team is to understand and reverse cellular aging. Ünal, first inspired by a high school teacher, and who studied Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bilkent University, began to focus on meiosis while doing her doctorate at Johns Hopkins University in the USA. Following the doctorate, while Ünal, who focuses on the topic of meiosis at MIT, one of the world?s preeminent universities, was investigating the "effect of aging on meiosis." But by reversing that, she decided to investigate "the effect of meiosis on aging". Ünal, who aimed to define the principles of meiotic differentiation, joined the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley in 2014 and continued her innovative research in the laboratory she established under her own name. Stating that factors such as eating style, exercise, sleep patterns, smoking, alcohol use and stress affect both cell and organism aging, Ünal observes that, ?As a result of aging, a decrease in protein quality control and organelle functions is observed in cells. The reproductive cells in our body can naturally neutralize these damages. If we are able to understand how reproductive cells achieve this, we can apply these mechanisms to other cells. Aging is the primary risk factor for various kinds of diseases such as cancer or Alzheimers. "If we can treat the damage caused by aging at the cellular level, we can reduce the incidence of various types of disease."


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