Fall '22 Department Seminars with Dr. Sündüs Erbaş Çakmak

Title: Fine Molecular Engineering to Build Information Processing Therapeutic Agents

Speaker: Dr. Sündüs Erbaş Çakmak

Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Necmeddin Erbakan University, Konya, Türkiye

Date: Dec 27th, 2022, Tuesday

Time: 12:30

Place: Departmental Seminar Room (SB-Z14)


Personalised therapeutic approaches require fine molecular engineering to enable precise spatiotemporal control over the action of the drug. Molecular encryption requires application of each input, that unlocks the key, or in other words activates the agent, in a pre-determined order. A keypad lock decoding the molecular password has no defined biological application in literature up to date. In the project, for the first time such molecular systems are developed for the potential treatment of drug resistant tumours. Entering the biological codes in correct order leads to activation of the drug leading to oxidative cell death.

Nucleic acids can form dynamic local folding patterns which are critical for many biological functions. Guanine rich regions of DNA and RNA hydrogen bond with one another to form three stacked planes called G quadruplex. These structures are shown to be located at DNA telomeres and promoter regions of certain genes. G quadruplex structures are shown to fold and unfold dynamically and their association with certain proteins are important for the regulation of transcription and translation. In the project, environment responsive G-quadruplex stabiliser is developed. Significant decrease in the expression of master transcription factors and oncogenes are observed. By silencing the master cell regulators, critical biological behaviours are shown to be changed. Significant decrease in cell migration, hence metastasis, and cancer metabolic shift is observed. In the talk, ongoing research on the integration of molecular machines to obtain dynamic biological responses, artificial enzymes, and future goals to develop therapeutics with advanced information processing capacity will also be discussed.

Short Biography of the Speaker:

Sündüs Erbaş Çakmak obtained her B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics Department from Boğaziçi University. She got her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Materials Science and Nanotechnology Program of Bilkent University, investigating concatenation and the use of molecular logic gates for the activity modulation of photodynamic therapy agents. She worked at Indiana University in United States of America, as a TÜBİTAK PhD-abroad scholar for 6 months during her Ph.D., with a research focus on the development of fluorescent anion sensors. In 2013 she started to work at University of Manchester in United Kingdom, as a Marie-Curie Intra-European Post-Doctoral Fellow. She has been working as an Assistant Professor at the Molecular Biology and Genetics Department of Konya Food and Agriculture University and currently at Necmettin Erbakan University. She received L’oreal UNESCO for Women in Science (2018) and BAGEP (2019) awards. Her research interests include artificial molecular machines, artificial enzymes, and chemical biology.