October 27th 2014 – Özge Özkaya, University of Leicester

Ozge OzkayaÖzge Özkaya was born in Ankara, Turkey. She moved to the UK after her first degree and lived in Leicester and London. She has a BSc. in Biology, an MSc. in Molecular Genetics and a PhD in Developmental Biology.

Currently she is working as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Leicester on developing a new model of Huntington’s disease in the fruit fly. Huntington’s disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disease for those affected and their families.  It is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder meaning that individuals who have the faulty gene will certainly develop the disease some time in their life. To date there is no known cure but Özge and her colleagues are working on a model to understand the early stages of the disease long before the symptoms (which are involuntary movements, depression and dementia) appear. Studying the early stages of the disease can help better understand the biology and progression of the disease and help finding a cure.

When she is not working on the bench, Özge enjoys engaging in outreach activities and communicating her findings to the general public and school children.

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