Turkish Genome Project discussed at GTU

GTU recently hosted the 3rd Bioinformatics Forum on May 11, 2018. At the forum, which is titled "Genome Sequencing and Bioinformatics", the Turkish Genome Project, launched by TÜSEB (Health Institutes of Turkey) was discussed.

The forum was carried out under the leadership of the PHI Tech Bioinformatics, a company established by members of GTU faculty and with the support of GTU and TÜBİTAK Marmara Teknokent, with the aim to increase the field's recognition and discuss with the experts in the field the latest related developments. The event took place in the lecture hall of GTU's Electronics Engineering building, with the participation of academicians, sector representatives, and students. The opening speeches were made by Teaching and Researching Faculty Member and PHI Tech Bioinformatics Co-Founder Saliha Durmuş (PhD), Department of Bioinformatics, GTU, and GTU's Acting Rector Prof. Muhammed Hasan Aslan (PhD).

Turkish Genome Project is a very important step in determining the genetic structure of Turkish people to make personalized treatment solutions possible, and aims to sequence the genomes of 100,000 people. At the forum, TÜSEB President Prof. Fahrettin Keleştemur, PhD, provided information about the scope and mission of TÜSEB, and then TÜSEB Biotechnology Institute President Prof. Ali Osman Kılıç, PhD, shared with the participants the stages and objectives of the project. The Genome Project will ensure a perspective that will improve the quality of life for people living in Turkey, raise society's awareness of genetic diseases, discover new biomarkers for diagnosing complex diseasesprovide early diagnosis for genetic diseases and cancers, develop new medicine and treatment methods, and break new ground in personalized treatment.

Teaching and Researching Faculty Member Assoc. Prof. Tunahan Çakır (PhD), Department of Bioengineering, GTU, delivered a speech at the forum summarizing how genome sequencing techniques came into our lives and started changing the field of health with the support of the science of bioinformatics. Following Çakır, speeches on clinical practices of genome sequencing were made. First, Kaya Bilguvar, MD, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Associate Director, Yale Center for Genome Analysis, spoke about the great advantages genome profiling brings for clinics and the challenges that still need to be overcome. Next, Zafer Yüksel, MD, who works as a Medical Reporting and Medical Bioinformatics Director for a reputable genetic diagnosis laboratory in Germany, provided various examples of clinical practices of genome sequencing approach. The forum ended with a panel discussion where the current state of, the progress needed to be made for, and the needs of the field of genome sequencing and bioinformatics were evaluated. In the panel were Prof. Ahmet Okay Çağlayan, PhD, Faculty Member, Faculty of Medicine, Bilim University, and Prof. Zehra Oya Uyguner, PhD, Faculty Member, Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, as well as Kaya Bilguvar, MD, and Zafer Yüksel, MD. 

Bioinformatics at GTU

Personal DNA analysis, which bears vital importance for "personalized medicine" approach to become widespread, makes identifying personal risks for diseases possible by determining the changes in the DNA, and bioinformatic analyses are what make such analyses possible. As an indication of the importance it pays to this promising field of bioinformatics, GTU started offering master's and PhD degree programs in the field. These programs aim to produce professionals that can both answer  the academic needs of the field in Turkey and the bioinformatics and genome analysis-based commercial needs of the sector.