I am from Turkey.

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Pelin Kaya

I am eager to become a successful scientist and academic. Moreover, I aim to help the scientific community reach milestones which guarantee the well-being of humans everywhere. 
Researcher in Luxembourg.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Pelin Kaya. My country of birth is Turkey and is where I was raised. I also have Zaza roots from my father side. I am a biomedical doctoral researcher at the Department of Life Sciences and Medicine (DLSM), University of Luxembourg.

Tell us about your educational background.

I got BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Izmir Institute of Technology (IZTECH), Turkey. I did my MSc in Veterinary Medicine at Chungnam National University, South Korea. Currently I am a PhD researcher working on the evaluation of the biological activity of novel PDE6D inhibitors

Tell us about your science.

PDE6D (PDEdelta) is a trafficking chaperone, a class of proteins which aid in the maturation and folding of other proteins such as K-Ras. K-Ras is highly mutated in >20% of cancers and a driver of cancer cell stemness. Our aim is to determine the cellular on-target effect of new PDE6D inhibitors and their K-Ras inhibitory activity. 

When did you decide a PhD was something you wanted to do?

I started to search for job vacancies before I finish my Master studies. I have noticed that I need more experience and Dr. title to get better opportunities. Thus I accepted the challenge.

Briefly describe your average work day as a PhD student.

At the beginning of the week I create a weekly schedule to not be confused and miss any point in my research. My morning starts with checking my to-do list. Then I start to do my experiments and complete my tasks. At the end of the day, I analyze my results and record my laboratory book.

What would you say your biggest challenges have been so far in your PhD journey?

As a researcher I need to be present in laboratory to be able to produce data. However, because of COVID-19, I was not able to work. It leaded to too much stress and pressure at first. However, I was able to deal with it thanks to the help of my colleagues.

Aside from your PhD, what other things are you passionate about? What activities you do in your free time?

I like playing board games. I also host board games meeting in my place. I like painting and playing with colors also. My other passion is dance! 

What is your ideal job and what skills do you currently possess that will help you land this job? 

I was born to be a researcher! I am curious, open minded and hardworking person. I am not a person who can just sit and do the same thing for a life. Being a researcher gives you the opportunity to see the world and meet new people also. Currently I am really satisfied with my job.

Are you currently working on any side projects? Tell us about them

Another aim of our project to determine the effect of PDE6D inhibitors on primary ciliary function. It will be carried out in collaboration with Dr. Ismail from the Beatson Institue, Glasgow, Cancer Research UK, an expert in PDE6D and ciliary biology

What drives you?

I have been raised by a strong woman who sent her two daughters to University by working in hard conditions alone. I want to be a good person who she can be proud of. I want to be successful to repay my mother’s hard work and to be able to say thank you.

What is your ultimate ambition in life?

My goals include being a successful scientist and a great academic, but beyond that, my dream is to contribute a milestone for guaranteeing human well-being. 


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