Who are we?

Teachers & Advisors

Safety Questions

We participate from METU Development Foundation Private High School located at the METU campus, Ankara, Turkey. This is our school's first iGEM experience and we are very thankful to everyone who gave support. Under this field, you can find the students and the instructors name, their photo and a brief info about them.

 Hey, I'm Almira and I'm a third grader in the METU High School. Along with my science studies I also play cello professionally in the Presidential Symphony Orchestra and I study as a private student in the Music Pedagogy department of Gazi University. When it comes to my personal interests a little, I've been drawing and painting since I was very little and I also write all kinds of fictional stories. After I graduate from METU H.S, my plan is to move to Sweden to study university. Since I've always been a creative person in my own ways I'm interested in creating, designing and developing all kinds of things, which makes me interested in genetics and biology so much, because it's a study and an effort to understand the very first creation on this earth. And the reason I volunteered to join IGEM is, I thought it's a very good opportunity for me to dig a little deeper into it beforehand and get a little experience.

My name is Batuhan. I'm 16 years old and I go to METU High School. I like working as a team and I'm interested in highly biology. I have a lot of hobbies that I don't regularly do, however I play basketball and I have been doing Wing Tsun, which is known as 'Kung Fu', for years. I like discussing and bringing out new, original idea and being part of projects, and that's why I joined the iGEM team.

Hi I’m Bengisu Birer and I am a 10th grade student at METU High School. I noticed my interest in molecular biology last year. That’s why I decided to be a part of the IGEM team.  With the help of IGEM I learnt lots of thing about bacteria which I can’t learn at school. IGEM has many benefits like helping us to think more deeply and faster. Thanks to IGEM, I have improved myself in synthetic biology. Also, it helps evolve your creativity and this affects other classes, too.

Hi everyone, I’m Can Soygür. I’m 16 now and a 10th grade student in METU Development Foundation High School. At school, I've found out I have a special interest in biology, particularly in molecular biology. Therefore, I joined our school’s iGEM HS team to improve my biology and have fun with my friends. In my free times I often chat with my friends or play PC games, mostly first person shooter. I also spend time doing my new interest: archery. By the way, my favourite hobby is reading a lot, especially humorous magazines, political books and some interesting novels.

My name is Cem Anıl and I am a senior in METU Development Foundation High School. I have a great passion for science and this is the primary reason why I'm here in the IGEM High School Team. I am planning to pursue an academic career in computational neuroscience in the future. Though I find each branch of science extremely intriguing, the areas that attract my interest most are physics, neuroscience and molecular biology. My biggest intention is to contribute to the research aiming to reach artificial intelligence. I am also extremely involved in music. I play the piano, compose classical music and jazz pieces and perform in several school and regional concerts. I take great pleasure from discussing science, philosophy, arts, mathematics, music and cinema with people. As for sports, I used to play tennis a lot a few years ago and participated in numerous tournaments; now I only continue playing tennis as a hobby. I am grateful to be a part of this great science organization which gave me the chance to acquire a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge in synthetic biology.

I am Deniz Siso and I'm a senior at METU Development Foundation High School. This is our first iGEM experience as a team. I joined the team because I really want to do something good for the world and the people such as solving environmental problems. Also, I want to study biological sciences in college. This also encourages me to participate in iGEM which will enrich my biological knowledge and give me lab experience. In addition, I learn to work as a team thanks to iGEM and I believe that this will be very useful for me in the future, especially in college. I am very happy and excited to be a part of this amazing team.

Hi, I am Ece Özmen, a 10th grade student at METU High Scool. iGEM is all new to our school and to us, this is the first year of the team. iGEM helps us discover the world of synthetic biology and it is a huge opportunity for our future careers. Besides learning about synthetic biology, we also learn how to work as a team. Also I believe that to enjoy every single moment of this competition is very important. This is what I tell people when they ask the question "What is iGEM?".

Hey there!  I am Umut, and a 11th grade student at METU High School. I have had a lot of fields of interest in my life but I have never been a very great student. My grades are just a tad bit over average. To me, academic success is its own thing. You should be able to move along and still be able to work on your interests. In my free times I write some code (Java, Python, C/C++) and make some fun applications and/or games. I also really enjoy solving the Rubik's Cube, playing jazz piano improvisation, listening to technology podcasts, discussing quantum physics with my father and creating origami models. The iGEM club helped me get over my laziness and made me remember how much I enjoyed learning in the first place.

Hey! My name is Öykü Deniz Demiralay. I am a junior in METU HS. I love biology learning about new stuff, studying about it makes me happy and peaceful. I love working, being busy gets my mind off my problems. Also producing new things and being able to help people is what I mostly like about working. I believe that this will be the opportunity to take me to the upper levels in the area, in this case biology, I am working on. iGEM has so many appealing sides. I loved the experiments since I was a little child, iGEM gave me the opportunity to improve my skills. I hope for the best for all candidates.

My name is Safa Taflan. I am a tenth grader in Metu High School. As my favorite subject is Biology, I reallt wanted to take part in iGEM. I believe that iGEM will help us improve our lab skills and make us more interested in biology. As a student who has grown up with science fiction movies about biology, it is exhilarating to even take part in iGEM. I wish everyone good luck and have fun!

Hi, I am Selin and I am an eleventh grade student. It is our first year in iGEM as a team and I am pretty excited about the idea of genetically engineered machines. Examples of what could be done by synthetic biology seemed so crazy that I immediately decided on joining the newly forming iGEM team in our school. I learned about so much that I didn’t even know existed. I also deeply love chemistry and electronics. I play volleyball and have practice almost every day. Volleyball has become a big part of my life.

Hi, I'm Umay Eren Ertekin. I'm 15 and currently at 10th grade in METU High School. Science has always been one of my biggest interests, most of all chemistry and biology- so iGEM has been an amazing opportunity for me to learn about and get some practice with synthetic biology. I'm extremely glad I joined :) . I hope to continue doing what I love and have a scientific career in the future. I also really enjoy reading, writing, learning new things and playing the piano. My favourite genres in books are fantasy and science fiction, though I have many favourite books of other types as well, and my favourite sport is badminton.

Ofcourse we were not alone while doing all this. We owe a huge thanks to the ones who helped us reach to this point. They thoughtu s the fundamentals, helped us be more organized and kept things with in track.

Okan Tezcan (Msc graduate in cancer biology, Middle East Technical University):


Hello, I am the instructor of METU High School IGEM team and also one of the biology teachers in METU High School. After receiving my master degree, I have been sharing my academic experiences with the team members. Together with my team members, I am working on a biosynthetic project for showing the contribution to this field.


Students notes: We can not express our love to this person with word theirselves. Even though he was a little rough on us at times, he is very caring and his advices helped us reach to this point!

Side Selin Su Yirmibeşoğlu (Team advisor, wetlab specialist)


Hi, I'm Selin. I graduated from METU Biology department. I was a team member in METU 2012 iGEM team and team leader in METU 2013 iGEM team. This year, I am an advisor of METU HS team. METU HS team is unbelieveable. All members of the team are curious, I am really proud of all members of this wonderful and mischievous team! I really enjoyed making things with them based on synthetic biology and also I am really proud of being a part of directing young minds to the science :)


Student notes: Without the help of Selin, we would be nowhere near where we are now. She helped us with the lab work, protocols and general microbiology knowledge. Thank you for being awesome and helpful!

İlkem Kumru (IT Master, tech whiz)


Without his guidance, the wiki would look like 80's jam! Huge shoutout goes to İlkem for showing us how a team wiki should look and function like. He is that kind of person who is out scene, but has a big role in making things work seamless.

Ayça Çırçır (The professor)


We don't know what we would do without her wisdom. At the start of the year, we took lessons from her to gain basic knowledge and expertise about synthetic biology, molecular biology, biotechnology and lab equipment. We always knew that there was someone out there who we can reach to anytime, and it was for sure that she had an answer to our problems.

Kudos to her!

Melike Dönertaş (math-head, modelling)


The mathematical modelling of the system would not be possible without her. She helped us find the parameters we need and made deep reasearch about the enzyme activity. A huge thank you goes to Melike.

1.Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of researcher, public or environmental safety?


Our project works with carbonmonoxide thus we as the METU HS team had to be very careful with the amount of CO and CO2 we are dealing with while the testing. Other than the dangerous gases, there are no checimally dangerous substance used.


Also, by designing a kill-switch system, we made sure that our bacteria with modified genes can never escape were we want them to be in and cause contamination.


2. Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise any safety issues?


We have followed all the safety procedures during the isolation process from the cells we had and we successfully isolated the DNA without any problems which might have raised safety issues.


3.Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?

If yes, what does your local biosafety group think about your project?

If no, which specific biosafety rules or guidelines do you have to consider in your country?


In METU we have a biosafety and ethical research center which monitors the safety of our projects. The members of METU Biology department are also members of National Biosafety Coordinating Committee. We are able to consult to them whenever it is necessary. All the procedures that are used in the lab are also approved procedures that are used by these people mentioned above.


4. Do you have any other ideas how to deal with safety issues that could be useful for future iGEM competitions? How could parts, devices and systems be made even safer through biosafety engineering?


To us, if the goal is to provide secure bio-systems, a set of standarts and protocols should be considered. For example, integrating an automated cell-lysis system every genetic part that ship, would make sure that the bacteria are not going anywhere. Humans are very intelligent machines, but we are not perfect. If we can load the safety system into the bacteria, it will be the cell itself that deals with it, which has a lower possibility to fail compared to complexer systems like the human brain.



5. What kind of precoutions did your team took in the lab?


In the lab, we always cleared our hands and the tables with alcohol. Teammates with long hair made sure that their hair was not in the way. Also, we executed every protocol that involved contact with air, near two sets of flame beams. This way we made sure that there was no contamination to the environenment or into our experiment setup.