Neurodegeneration Research Laboratory: NDAL
NDAL, established in 2005, is the first example of a collaborative initiative, a public-private partnership, in the field of health sciences between a state University and a private foundation in Turkey. The prestigious Kıraç Foundation gift supports the lab in enhancing neurosciences in Turkey and contributes to its efforts in becoming a center of excellence in neurodegenerative disease biology. In addition to the Kıraç fund, NDAL is supported by Boğaziçi University Research Funds, The Scientific and Technological Research Council and The State Planning Department of Turkey (TUBİTAK and DPT). Boğaziçi University and NDAL are recognized as leading academic centers, not only throughout Turkey, but also on international platforms for the establishment and successful application of molecular technologies in the analysis and diagnosis of genetic and complex disorders. The general theme of investigations currently underway is focused on biology relevant to motor neuron diseases, ALS centrally, and related disorders; it aims to understand the mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration, with the ultimate goal of developing therapies. NDAL is involved in several national and international collaborations, including multi-centered projects, that aim to unravel the cellular mechanisms underlying neuronal death, neuron regeneration and brain plasticity. Scientific collaboration protocols have been signed between Boğaziçi University, represented by NDAL, and the Neurosciences Department of Brown University. Other important collaboration partners of NDAL are Harvard University and University of Massachusetts Medical Schools. Profs. Robert H. Brown from UMass and Jeffrey D. Macklis from Harvard serve as the scientific advisors of NDAL. These collaborations aim to enhance neurobiological science in Turkey and specifically support research on neurodegenerative disease mechanisms.
A. Nazlı Basak is the principle investigator (PI) and the director of NDAL. The lab currently consists of 3 PhD students, 5 MSc students, 2 research and 2 administrative assistants, who all report to the PI. The lab also harbors several undergraduate students, who on a voluntary basis are part of different projects. The lab focuses on ALS biology and mechanisms leading to neurodegenerative disease processes; its lines of research can be compiled as:
:: Insights into ALS through genetics and genomics, in collaboration with UMass, Yale and Umea Universities
:: Impact of new genes and loci on ALS development, in collaboration with UMass, Yale and Umea Universities
:: Functional studies on Alsin
:: Accurate animal models of neurodegenerative disease, in collaboration with Brown University
:: Corticospinal motor neuron development, in collaboration with Jeff Macklis Lab
:: Application of bioinformatics and system biology to human neurological disease, in collaboration with Ozcelik Lab.