ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ELİF NUR FIRAT KARALAR

Molecular Biology and Genetics, College of Sciences

ERC Starting Grant 2015

CentSatRegFunc: Dissecting the Function and Regulation of Centriolar Satellites: Key Regulators of the Centrosome/ Cilium Complex

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Centriolar satellites are the array of granules that localize around the centrosome/cilium complex in mammalian cells. Only recently interest in the satellites has grown because mutations affecting satellite components were shown to cause ciliopathies, microcephaly and schizophrenia. Remarkably, many centrosome/cilium proteins localize to these structures and we lack understanding of when, why and how these proteins localize to satellites.

To address these questions in this ERC action, Dr. Karalar and her group aim to identify the nature of regulatory and molecular relationship between satellites and the centrosome/cilium complex, elucidate the role of satellites in proteostasis of centrosome/cilium proteins and investigate the functional significance of satellite-localization of centrosome/cilium proteins during processes that go awry in human disease. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the results of these studies will expand our knowledge of the spatiotemporal regulation of the centrosome/cilium complex and provide new insights into pathogenesis of ciliopathies and primary microcephaly.

Dr. Karalar has established the Cytoskeleton Research Laboratory at Koç University during the implementation of this ERC project.

``Starting with my undergraduate education at Bilkent University, I have been involved in biomedical research. I completed my PhD in the laboratory of Matthew Welch at UC Berkeley, where I focused on the characterization of actin polymerization pathways in cells. During my postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Tim Stearns at Stanford University, I took a multidisciplinary approach to identify the centriole proteome and address the interactions among centrosome proteins. Since June 2014, I have joined the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Koç University where my laboratory focuses on the biology of centrosomes, cilia and microtubules.``