Merve Nida Baştürk


College / University

İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent University

Highest Degree

Bachelor of Science

Major Subjects

Molecular Biology and Genetics

64290-1 Bastürk



Lab Experience

Wet-lab: Cell Culture, Microscopy, RNA Isolation, Agarose Gel Electrophoresis, cDNA Generation, qPCR, PCR, Bacterial Transformation, Bacterial Inoculation, Plasmid Miniprep, Restriction Cloning, Gibson Cloning, Total Protein Isolation from Bacteria, BCA Protein Quantification, SDS-PAGE, Western Blotting, Zebrafish ache Mutant Phenotyping and Genotyping
Dry-lab: Basic Bioinformatics Tools and Skills, Analysis of Metagenomics Data, Analysis of 16S rRNA Data (via mothur in Galaxy), Analysis of NGS Data in Galaxy, GraphPad Prism Programming: Python, R and Bash

Projects / Research

  • 06/2021 – 12/2021: Internship under the supervision of Dr. Ulisses Nunes da Rocha, Microbial Data Science Group, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Leipzig, Germany (remote working due to COVID-19): Completed a senior project on apple microbiome (Apple Microbiome - A Perspective on Functional Potential), Contributed to the development of a command-line tool for metagenomics analysis (MuDoGeR), see the relevant publication.
  • 07/2020 – 08/2020: Internship on circular RNAs, Non-Coding RNA Laboratory, Izmir Institute of Technology (IYTE), İzmir, Turkey (remote working due to COVID-19)
  • 03/2019 – 06/2020: Team Member, Bilkent UNAMBG iGEM (international Genetically Engineered Machines Competition) Team, Synthetic Biosystems Laboratory, National Nanotechnology Research Center (UNAM), Ankara, Turkey: Contributed to the development of PRISMO (Probiotic Insulin Secreting Modified Organism), an alternative treatment for diabetes mellitus, under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Urartu Özgür Şafak Şeker

Scholarships / Awards

2023 – 2024: Stipend by the International Max Planck Research School
2022: Graduated as a High Honor Student from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
2022: Undergraduate Scholarship awarded by TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey)
2019: Gold Medal Winner in iGEM Competition, Boston, USA
2017 – 2022: Comprehensive Scholarship awarded by Bilkent University


I am fascinated by the biochemical diversity in nature. This makes me interested in biochemical possibilities and limits. By “biochemical possibilities and limits”, I mean “what is biochemically possible while sustaining life”. There might be unknown enzymes/pathways with functions and reaction mechanisms that we have never thought of (especially in microbial dark matter) or biomolecules with very interesting non-canonical chemistry. On the other hand, it might also be possible to design such enzymes and biomolecules. Regarding my interest, I aim to do research at the intersection of biochemistry, structural biology, computational biology, evolutionary biology, and synthetic biology. I also have a developing interest in the origin of life research.