EventsAyça Arslan Ergül

Stem cells in aging zebrafish brain

Brain stem cells are long thought to be effective in processes such as cognitive aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and amnesia, however, our knowledge is not adequate. In our project, we isolate stem cells and investigate cellular changes during the aging process. Our hypothesis in this project is; in the aging brain stem cell numbers do not decline, however they lose their efficacy by activating cellular senescence programs and this leads to cognitive decline by reducing the levels of neurogenesis. In order to test this hypothesis, we isolate stem cells from the zebrafish brain which harbors the hippocampus, and maintain them in cell culture. We characterize these cells with stem cell markers and investigate the differentiation process into neurons and glia.  In order to understand the global gene expression levels, we employ RNA sequencing methods. Also, in neural stem cells, by senescence inducing gene knock-outs, we conduct transplantation into zebrafish brain.

About The Speaker

Dr. Ayça Arslan Ergül was born in 1979 in Çanakkale, Biga. She graduated from Boğaziçi University, department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. She earned her MSc degree from Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Basic Hepatology department, and did PhD in Bilkent University Molecular Biology and Genetics department, on liver cancer and cellular senescence. In Scotland, Glasgow, she worked on cell-targeted therapies. For four years, she has been working in Bilkent University as a postdoc in Michelle Adams lab, on brain aging and new cell formations and teaching for the Neuroscience program. She is running the “Friends, let’s do science” project as a volunteer. She is married, and living with her husband Özgür Ergül, three cats, and a dog.