I completed my BSc in Genetics and Bioengineering at Izmir University of Economics where I was involved in research projects about hepatocellular carcinoma. During my undergraduate, I have developed an interest in stem cell research, tissue engineering, and development of 3D tissue culture models/organoids. After my bachelor’s degree, I obtained my MSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Izmir International Biomedicine and Genome Centre, Turkey. I studied in the Therapeutic Bioengineering lab and gained skills working with human induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs) and on organoid models. My master’s thesis was on generation of lacrimal gland organoids using iPSCs. Currently in my PhD, I am working on generation of limb-like cells using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) and limb organoid models which excites me because not much is known how this complex morphology of limbs develop. So that, I can combine my previous skills with chick embryology techniques and try to find the optimal culture conditions for generating limb progenitors from hPSCs.
The vertebrate limb has a complex anatomical structure formed by the interaction of various signalling pathways, which makes it a good candidate model for developmental biology and gene regulation studies. However, due to the limitations in in vivo models, not much is known about this highly conserved mechanism of limb development. Thus, there is a critical need to develop better vertebrate limb models that will recapitulate the events of limb formation in vitro. In my project, the main focus will be the differentiation of hPSCs into fore- and hindlimb progenitors. Generated limb models will be tested for their capacity to develop into in vitro 3D limb bud-like organoids (limboids) and integration within chick limb buds will be tested. The developed model can be further used for disease modelling or tissue engineering studies. Moreover, the production of human limb cells may pave the way for the induction of other complex tissues from iPSCs for future studies.