- B.S., Bosporus (Bogazici) University
- M.S., Biology, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Dec. 2009
Entered program in 2011
The focus of my project is to understand the molecular and neuronal basis of Drosophila chemoperception. Flies use gustatory organs, hair-like structures on the legs and labellum, to evaluate potential food sources and detect harmful and toxic chemicals. I am specifically focusing on how the eight gustatory receptors proteins (Gr5a, Gr61a, Gr64a-f) function together to detect different sugars, such as glucose, fructose, maltose, sucrose etc. In addition, I am also interested in the possible role of these gustatory genes in places other than chemosensory organs.
Broader Impacts of Research Project:
Feeding behavior has impact on an animal’s health, fitness and survival. Understanding of how we identify and perceive foods that affect feeding behavior are of relevance to human health. Drosophila melanogaster,a prime genetic model system, has striking similarities in the organization of the sensory systems to mammals.Drosophila has been central in providing novel insights into the basic molecular and neurobiological processes that define these sensory systems.