Özlem Akkaya

I got my PhD degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Gebze Technical University in Turkey. I joined the Victor’s lab in January 2013 as a post-doctoral fellow.

The goal of my project is to accelerate the evolution of biodegradative pathways for persistent organic pollutants. In addition to studying evolution of degradative pathways in Pseudomonas putida and E. coli cells, I am involved in searching SOS system of Pseudomonas putida.

It is very important to understand how metabolic networks have evolved throughout the history of life to cope with new xenobiotic chemicals. In order to adapt to new environments, organisms can control their mutation, thus enabling them to a rapid evolvement. Even though beneficial mutations rarely occur, it is well known that an increasing mutation rate during times of stress is beneficial both to individual cells and the overall population. There are some mechanisms that can favor the adaptive evolution. For this reason, in our project, we try and find possible mechanisms (SOS, ROS etc.) that do trigger the evolution of 2,4-dinitrotoulene (2,4-DNT) catabolism as a model of degradative pathways.


E. coli strain carrying recA::GFP fusion on a solid surface. Plate was visualized under a blue-light lamp after 48 h of incubation at 37 °C. Induction was observed as a fluorescent band around the inhibition halo produced by NOR.