Our lab member Ahmet Hınçer won the 2nd Best oral presentation award for his work to develop an innovative synthetic mRNA platform for Vaccine and Drug development in #4thVaccinology Congress.

We developed a genetically engineered protein nanomaterial using #syntheticbiology tools to capture viral particles, including Sars-CoV2. It is highlighted on the cover of Advanced Materials Interfaces

We are happy to see our lab member Anooshay Khan successfully defended her MSc thesis and graduated from Bilkent U. Neuroscience program. IN her thesis she worked on understanding the inhibition mechanism of protein aggregates in Huntington’s disease using peptide therapeutics.

Dr. Seker and visiting Dr. Esra Yuca have prepared a book chapter on “how to monitor bacterial amyloid formation, and biofilm assembly in real time”. You may reach the chapter from here: link.springer.com/protocol/10.10


A new book chapter is published by our lab “Design, Principle and Application of Self-Assembled Nanobiomaterials in Biology and Medicine” , our chapter is entitled “Design and construction of protein and peptide-basedself-assembled nanostructures” https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780323909846/design-principle-and-application-of-self-assembled-nanobiomaterials-in-biology-and-medicine

Our paper “Engineered Bacteria with Genetic Circuits Accumulating Nanomagnets as MRI Contrast Agents” is published in Small and highlighted in the inner cover. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/smll.202200537


Developing a Sars-CoV-2 blocking lectin protein is out, highlighted from the front cover of ACS Infectious Diseases
The potency of GRFT proteins on blocking Wuhan strain, Delta and Omicron variants without causing an immune response pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/ac

The textbook “New Frontiers and Applications of Synthetic Biology” is now out, our lab has contributed with two chapters:
  • Chapter 17 – Design of synthetic biological devices for detection and targeting human diseases
  • Chapter 22 – Design and applications of self-assembled soft living materials using synthetic biology

Our PI, has been awarded the “TÜBA COVID-19 Global Outbreak First Prize” for our work on the “Development of RNA Switch Systems for SARS-COV-2 Diagnosis”


Gökçe has successfully defended her MSc thesis: “Engineered Biofilm Proteins For Antibiotic Degradation and Sars-Cov-2 Capture”. Congrats Gökçe! She engineered biofilm backbones as modular molecular systems. She demonstrated how to use this system to capture Sars-CoV-2 virus for sample concentrations by genetically fusing GRFT protein, and also by fusing an enzyme she managed to show how we can degrade antibiotics with help of genetically fused enzymes. Her work is going to be part of two papers and patent applications. She’s going to continue with us as a PhD student. Good luck Gökçe!


Eray has successfully defended his masters thesis. He has re-engineered the glycosylation pathway in E. coli to create physically and chemically more stable proteins/enzymes for biotech drugs. He is going to pursue a PhD at the Technical University of Denmark. Congratulations and good luck Eray.


Today we celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.


Ebru Kehribar has successfully defended her PhD thesis: “Microbial Amyloids as Functional Biomaterials” with success. Congrats Dr. Ebru Kehribar! We are happy to announce that she will continue to work with us at UNAM as a postdoc and as a researcher at Synbiotik Biotechnology (where she’s also a co-founder). We wish great success to Dr. Ebru Kehribar in her future endeavours!


Our PI recently gave an interview (in Turkish) to Habertürk about our ongoing COVID-19 research:


Büşra Merve Kırpat has successfully defended her master thesis: “Genetically programmed engineered cells for Biomaterial synthesis”.  She will pursue her PhD studies at the University of Freiburg in Germany. Good Luck Büşra!


Sıla Köse has successfully defended her master thesis: “Multiplexed Cell-Based Diagnostic Devices for Detection of Kidney Disease Pathological Markers”.  She will pursue her PhD studies at the University of Konstanz in Germany. Good Luck Sıla!


Our PI recently gave an interview (in Turkish) to CNN Turk about our COVID-19 detection kit:

Our work on creating a Toehold based Covid-19 testing kit has been uploaded to the preprint server medRxiv:
SARS-CoV-2 detection with de novo designed synthetic riboregulators


Our lab at UNAM was visited by the head of Tübitak: Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal. We updated him on the recent developments on our COVID-19 testing kit.

Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal’s tweet about his visit to our lab can be seen below:


Behide Saltepe has successfully defended her PhD thesis: “Synthetic Genetic Circuits to Monitor Nanomaterial Triggered Toxicity” with success. Congrats Dr. Behide Saltepe! She will soon be working as a postdoc in the UK. We wish great success to Dr. Behide Saltepe in her future endeavours!


Our lab at UNAM was visited by the Turkish minister of industry and technology: Mustafa Varank. We updated him on our COVID-19 research.

After his visit, the minister tweeted about his visit to our lab:


We had our annual Synthetic Biology Day event with multiple speakers from around the world, covering various topics from helping the environment to developing new treatments to fight diseases.


Our joint work with Prof. Dr. Aykut Özkul (Ankara University Institute of Biotechnology) on developing new treatments for COVID-19 has recently been covered by the Turkish media.
Anadolu Ajansı (Turkish): Türk bilim insanları Kovid-19’a karşı yeni nesil ilaç için çalışıyor

More of our recent work on developing treatments for COVID – 19 has been covered by the media:

Bilkent News: Bilkent Researchers Work to Develop a Next-Generation Drug for Use Against COVID-19

Sabah Daily News: Scientists in Turkey developing drug that prevents COVID-19 multiplication in humans

BBC News (Turkish): Koronavirüs aşısının bulunması neden uzun sürüyor?

Yeni Şafak News: Turkey’s scientists to produce coronavirus cure within 6 months


Elif has successfully defended her master thesis: “Peptide Drug Discovery for Pathogeneic Amyloids”.  We are happy that Elif will continue her PhD studies with us. Congrats Elif!


Our work on  living sensor to detect/ report toxicity in real-time  in  ACS Synthetic Biology :

“Genetic Circuits To Detect Nanomaterial Triggered Toxicity through Engineered Heat Shock Response Mechanism”


co-authored by Behide Saltepe, Eray Ulaş Bozkurt, Nedim Hacıosmanoğlu, Congrats !


Anooshay (Neuroscience Grad program), Eray (MSN Grad Program), and Murat (MSN Grad Program) joined our research group. Murat will pursue his PhD with us for the applications of Control Theory on Synthetic Biological systems, Anooshay will work on neurodegenerative disease proteins, and Eray will be focused on living therapeutics systems. Welcome guys, wish you a happy and productive research time at SBL !


Our work on programming amyloid patterning using genetic logics gates is highlighted on the cover of Advanced Materials :

“Genetic Logic Gates Enable Patterning of Bacterial Nanofibers”


co-authored by Ebuzer Kalyoncu, Recep Erdem Ahan, Cemile Elif Özçelik, Congrats !


Efe  has successfully presented his master thesis work on a synthetic glycosylation pathway for protein materials. He designed a new generation of protein materials.


Özge has successfully defended her master thesis “A Peptide Based Drug Discovery Platform Targeting Neurodegenerative Diseases”. She completed construction of a yeast display library, genome edited cells expressing Huntingtin, AB peptides and a-synuclein. Congrats Özge!

Our work on an engineered protein secretion machinery is highlighted on the cover of ACS Synthetic Biology

” A Self-Actuated Cellular Protein Delivery Machine”


co-authored by Recep Erdem Ahan, Behide Saltepe and Büşra Merve Kırpat, Congrats !


Nedim has defended his master thesis with success, he developed engineered bacteria those can sense changes in glucose level and secrete necessary biomolecules to control glucose level. Congrats Nedim !

He will pursuing his PhD  with us, we are thrilled ! 


Elif Duman defended her PhD thesis with success, Congrats Dr. Elif Duman. She will be working as staff scientist Matriks Biotek, we wish great success to Dr. Elif Duman in her future endeavours!

Our work on catalytic biofilm secreting synthetic genetic circuits is highlighted on the cover of ChemBioChem

” Cellular Biocatalysts Using Synthetic Genetic Circuits for Prolonged and Durable Enzymatic Activity”


co-authored by Recep Erdem Ahan, Behide Saltepe and Onur Apaydın, Congrats!

Our group member Sila Köse  won Early Carrer Researcher Talk Award at the Designer Biology 2019 Conference . Congrats Sila !

Ozge and Sila delivered talks on their works  at the Designer Biology 2019 conference at Newcastle organized by EFB Bioengineering and Bioprocessing Section.


Dr. Şeker gave an invited talk at the GRC (Gordon Research Conferences) Synthetic Biology 2019 Meeting in Waterville Valley, NH, USA


SBL lab members attended 4th International Biosensor Congress organized by Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University. Dr Şeker delivered an invited talk on “Genetic Circuits Based Programming for Whole Cell Based Diagnosis”. Other groups members also delivered oral presentations :

Sıla Köse : “Cellular Biosensors with Engineered Genetic Logic Circuits for Biomedical Applications”

Nedim Haciosmanoğlu: “A Theranostic Bio-Device for Type II Diabetes”

İlkay Çisil Köksaldı : “Heavy Metal Detection with Whole Cell Biosensors for Biomedical Applications”

Dr. Şeker was interviewed by the Turkish Popular Science Journal TÜBİTAK Bilim Genc about Synthetic Biology, please follow the Youtube link (unfortunately only in Turkish :(( )


SBL group members Ebru and Behide attended to the 2019 Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design (SEED) Conference in New York USA. Both graduate students made poster presentations at SEED and they really enjoyed the meeting a lot :))!

SBL lab has attended to the International Molecular Medicine Symposium by the Bosphorus organized by Bahçeşehir University Medical School. Dr. Seker presented an invited talks and our group member Behide presented a contributed talk, also Nedim and Elif made poster presentations at the symposium. (16-18 May 2019- İstanbul)

Behide, won oral presentation prize for her talk on “Synthetic Genetic Circuits to Detect Nanomaterial Triggered Nanotoxicity” …Congrats Behide!

Dr. Şeker gave invited seminars in Germany and also 28 April – 4 May 2019 :

28 April 2019 : Max Planck Institute for Medical Research – Self-Actuated Synthetic Biomachines

2 May 2019 : Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

3 May 2019 : Technical University of Munich Department of Physics Synthetic Biological Systems

Our paper “A Self-Actuated Protein Delivery Machine” is highlighted on the cover of ACS Synthetic Biology’s April issue!


The paper is co-authored by Recep, Büşra and Behide, Congrats guys !

(image credit: Mete Duman dumanmete@gmail.com)

8 April 2019 We took the opportunity of the great weather and had a group picnic and barbecue party, Welcome spring !

21 Mart 2019 Our group member, Recep Erdem Ahan (PhD Student) presented his poster  at EMBO Symposium on Synthetic Morphogenesis: From Gene Circuits to Tissue Architecture :

UNAM and Nobel Pharmaceuticals Collaborate in the Fight Against Cancer : Researchers at the Bilkent University National Nanotechnology Research Center (UNAM) and an industrial partner, Nobel Pharmaceuticals, are collaborating on a project that aims to develop a new generation of bifunctional antibodies for clinical use in the treatment of cancer. Details  Appeared in Bilkent News

Dr. Şeker gave an invited seminar at the Hacettepe University Medical School Neurology Institute entitled “Programming Cellular Devices for Protein Delivery” 12 April 2019

Dr. Şeker is interviewed by Medyascope TV’s (an internet-based News portal)  “Science for the Curious” program co-organized by Science Academy for his views on Synthetic Biology and Genome Engineering. You may find the video at the following link (only in Turkish). 28 February 2019.

Dr. Şeker gave an invited seminar at the Hacettepe University Medical School Neurology Institute entitled “Synthetic Biology : A Tool for Biomedical Engineering” 7 january 2019


Dr. Şeker won METU Parlar Foundation Encouragement Award. The prize awarded to scientists under 40 to celebrate the achievements of young scientists. Dr. Seker got the prize for his contributions in Synthetic Biology. 19 December 2018

Dr. Şeker gave an invited talk at the Gebze Institute of Technology- Kocaeli. The title of his talk was “Synthetic Genetic Circuits for Self-Actuated Cellular Devices”. 15 November 2018.

Dr. Şeker won the Aziz Sancar Incentive Prize of Turkish Health Institutes (TUSEB) . The award is named after 2015 chemistry Nobel laureate Aziz Sancar, and celebrates Dr. Sancar’s achievements in science.  Dr. Şeker received the award for his work in synthetic biology and genetically engineered biosystems. His main research interest is cellular programming, accomplished through the employment of synthetic genetic circuits, with the goal of addressing disease conditions by developing cellular devices as living therapeutic modalities and designing a new generation of living biomaterials and whole-cell biosensors for biomedical applications. 29 October 2018.

urartu seker tüseb ile ilgili görsel sonucu



SBL lab has attended the 4th Applied Synthetic Biology in Europe Congress, which took place in Toulouse France 24-26 October 2018. Dr. Seker delivered a talk, SBL group members Ebru Kehribar, Busra Merve Kırpat, Sıla Köse, and Musa Efe Işılak presented their poster and presented 3 minutes flash talks.

UNAMBG Team received Silver medal at iGEM competition held in Boston with their project that aims to capture antibiotic contaminants from waste water (October, 2018).

SBL members spent a great afternoon with Senem Donatan (member of SEIBA-the story telling center) talking about “Science through narrative”.

Merve, Recep (Phd Students), Julian, Gökçe, Zafer and Çisil (MSc students) joined our lab. Welcome all!

Our lab member Recep Erdem Ahan defended his M. Sc. thesis with success. Congratulations! (4 August 2018)

Recep will continue his PhD studies in our lab. We wish Recep a continued success in his career !

Dr. Seker gave an invited seminar at Bogazici University Molecular Biology and Genetic Department entitled : “Genetic Circuit Design for Bottom -Up Biosystem Assembly” (13 April 2018)

SBL Group members celebrated coming of spring with blooming sakura trees. We wish everyone a successful spring term!

Dr. Seker is invited by Science Academy to gave a public popular science talk entitled ” Synthetic Biology : An Intro to Life Engineering” in Istanbul Turkey. You may find the video of the talk at the following link (only in Turkish) : goo.gl/e4gGcU
(20 January 2018)


Our lab member Ebuzer Kalyoncu defended his Ph. D. thesis with success. Congratulations! (25 December 2017)

Ebuzer is moving to Kocaeli / Turkey for working as a researcher scientist in TUBITAK-MAM, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute. We wish Ebuzer a continued success in his career !

SBL members attended to the Turkey- Israel Workshop on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the Weizmann Institute of Science (19-21 December 2017).

Dr. Seker gave a talk during the workshop and SBL members (Behide Saltepe, and Büşra Kırpat) presented their poster during the workshop.


Dr. Seker gave a talk at Ben Gurion University at the Negev (Beer Sheava, Israel) entitled: “Synthetic Biogenesis of Engineered Bacterial Biofilms”

(18 December 2017).

Our lab member Tolga Tarkan Ölmez defended his Ph. D. thesis with success. Congratulations! (November 2017)

Tolga is moving to Yale University Department of Molecular, Cellular and Devolepmental Biology for his postdoctoral studies. We wish Tolga a continued success in his career !

Dr. Seker was interviewed by European Federeation of Biotechnology -Bioengineering Section (10 December 2017)

You may find the interview here

Our lab member Onur Apaydın defended his master thesis with success. Congratulations! (September 2017)

Onur is moving to Max Delbruck Centrum for Molekular Medicine for his PhD studies. We wish Onur a continued success in his career !

Behide, Selin, Recep and Ebru attended to the 42nd FEBS (From Molecules to Cells and Back) Congress organized at Jerusalem – Israel and made their poster presentations (September 2017)

Merve, Büşra and Sıla joined our group as M.Sc. Student, Welcome! (September 2017)

Nanoday 2017 which includes NanoPoster and Nanopicture contests organized by UNAM. Our lab member Musa Efe Işılak is awarded as the winner of NanoPicture contest.

His award-winning SEM (Scanning-Electron Microscope) image “The Nano Prince” can be seen at the left picture frame.

Our lab member and PhD candidate Tolga Tarkan Ölmez also took the 2nd place in NanoPoster contest. Dr. Seker accepted the prizes for him.

Congratulations! (May 2017)

Dr. Seker presented an invited talk entitled as “Synthetic Genetic Circuits at the Bio-Nano Interface” at IEEE-Nano/Micro Engineered and Molecular Systems (NEMS) 2017 Conference at UCLA (April 2017)

SBL Group celebrated coming of SPRING with a barbecue picnic (April 2017)

Cemile Elif joined our group as a MSc. Student, Welcome Cemile Elif! (January 2017)


Our lab member Tugce defended her master thesis with success. Congrats Tugce! We wish Tugce continued success in her career! (September 2016)

Özge and Nedim joined our group as Master Students, Welcome Özge and Nedim! (September, 2016)

Ebuzer gave a talk entitled  “Genetically programmed functional bacterial biofilms” at the 252nd American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition at Philadelpia (PA) with presentation (August, 2016)

Dr. Urartu Seker became a  board member of  European Federation of Biotechnology, Bioengineering Section (August, 2016)

Dr. Şeker has co-organized “Physical, Biological and Chemical Foundations of Bioelectronics, Biophotonics and Biosensors Workshop” with Dr. Zareie from IZTEC Materials Science and Engineering Department. The workshop took place in IZTEC (Izmir Institute of Technology)  İzmir, Turkey on 26-29 July 2016.

Efe Musa Işılak joined our group as a Master Student. Welcome Efe!

Ebru Sahin Kehribar (PhD Candidate) won Nanoday Poster Prize  (Runner up) with her poster presentation entitled “Micro-robots : Theranostic gene circuits”. Congrats Ebru !

Dr. Urartu Şeker received Science Academy Distinguished Young Scientist Award (BAGEP 2016). The awards are given by the Science Academy Association (Bilim Akademisi Derneği), which was established in 2011.  The objective of the program is to recognize the most promising young scientists and assist them in furthering their investigations.

Tuğçe Önür gave a talk at MRS 2016 Spring Meeting entitled :” Engineered Bacterial Functional Amyloids as Bionanomaterials” (January, 2016)

Onur Apaydın joined SBB group as a Master Student. Welcome Onur! (January, 2016)

Our group members attended to “IV. International Congress of the Molecular Biology Association of Turkey“. Ankara, Turkey (November 2015)


Behide Saltepe, PhD student, gave talk in “International Biomedical Science and Technology Symposium” titled as Synthetic Biology Enabled Nanotoxicity Monitoring in Real-Time. (October, 2015)

Recep Erdem Ahan joined our group as Master Student, Welcome! (September, 2015)

Ebru Şahin Kehribar joined our research group as a PhD student, Welcome Ebru ! (July, 2015)

SB2L is awarded on The Scientific & Tech. Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) grant for “Whole Cell Sensors for Biomedical Applications Using Synthetic Biology Tools”  (July, 2015)

Dr. Urartu Şeker wins FABED Eser Tümen Outstanding Young Scientist Award for his achievements in the area bionanotechnology and synthetic biology enabled systems. (July, 2015)

The awards are presented to young scientists in recognition of their exceptional achievements and research productivity, in honor of influential engineers Feyzi Akkaya and Eser Tümen.

SB2L is awarded on The Scientific & Tech. Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) grant for “Programmable Synthetic Genetic Circuit Design for Cascased Enzymatic Reactions for Biomineralization Process” (April, 2015)


Dr. Urartu Şeker wins TÜBA-GEBİP Outstanding Young Scientist Award for his achievements in the area of biological engineering (May, 2014)