A├želya Yilmazer Aktuna

Principal Investigator

Dr. Yilmazer is working in the Biomedical Engineering Department of Ankara University as an Associate Professor. She is also the vice director of the Stem Cell Institute of the same university since 2016. In 2008, she completed her MSc degree in Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Nottingham (UK) and, in 2012, she obtained her PhD in the Nanomedicine Lab based in the School of Pharmacy, University College London (Prof. K. Kostarelos). During her PhD, she focused on artificial envelopment of adenoviral vectors and how this technology affects the in vitro and in vivo behaviour of viral particles. She also had opportunity to work with a variety of delivery vectors including carbon nanomaterials. She continued her postdoctoral study in the same lab and for the first time in literature, she showed that direct in vivo reprogramming towards pluripotency in mouse liver tissue is possible via non-viral overexpression of defined factors. This provided a proof-of-evidence of in vivo reprogramming of adult somatic cells towards a pluripotent state with high efficiency and fast kinetics. In July 2013, she moved back to Turkey where she established her own research group in Ankara University. She has been selected as the Best Young Investigator in Turkey by the Turkish Society of Medical Biology and Genetics in 2013. In 2018, she has been selected as a Young Investigator by the Turkish Academy of Sciences and in 2019 she has been awarded Scientific Encouragement Award by the Ankara University.