Photo:

Ozge Ozkaya

Favourite Thing: To talk about my work with children and people who are not scientists. It makes me realise how cool what I do really is!

My CV

School:

Lycee Charles de Gaulle Ankara-Turkey 1993-1996

University:

Ankara University-Turkey 1996-2000 BSc. Biology. Leicester University 2000-2001 MSc. Molecular Genetics. Queen Mary University of London 2001-2006 PhD Developmental Biology

Work History:

I worked as a Research Assistant at Queen Mary for a few months and then as a Research Associate at Leicester University

Employer:

University of Leicester

Current Job:

Research Associate

Me and my work

I try to understand how an internal biological clock controls the behaviour of krill, the most abundant life form in the antarctic ocean.

Krill are little shrimp like creatures that live in the Antarctic Ocean and there are loads of them! In fact they are the largest animal biomass on the planet; their total mass equals twice to that of humans. In other words if we were to divide equally all the krill among everybody alive on the planet today, everybody would get twice their weight worth of krill!! myimage1Krill are at the bottom of the food chain meaning that a lot of other animals like whales, penguins, dolphins, fish and humans (!) eat them. Unfortunately their numbers are in decline and we think that this might be due to over fishing (by humans) and global warming. Krill live in huge swarms and move up and down in the ocean every 24 hours. At night they go to the surface of the ocean to feed and during the day they go back to the ocean floor to avoid visual predators. We think that an internal circadian (meaning almost 24 hour) clock controls this behaviour.myimage2We like all other animals and plants also have a circadian clock. We all get up more or less at the same time each day, we get hungry more or less at the same time and if we travel to America for example, we are jet lagged because our circadian clock is messed up. We know very well how this clock works molecularly in mice and fruit flies (the small flies you might have seen in your composting bin-they are actually a very nice genetic model organism) myimage3.

We try to understand if the circadian clock of krill works in a similar way. The more we learn about krill biology the better we can understand why their numbers are declining and we can try to do something about it.

My Typical Day

Plan experiments, set-up experiments, analyse results of experiments, try to make some sense of it (!), plan more experiments according to results…

 

 

What I'd do with the money

Donate to a school to buy science lab equipment OR Go to a scientific meeting to present my results to other scientists OR Go to a science communication course?

As you can see I am quite undecided about it, there is so much that can be done. I would probably end up splitting the money between things and try to make it go as far as possible…

I will definetely give some of the money to a campaign called “Daddy send me to School”. In Turkey there are loads of girls who  are not sent to school at all, so they can’t even read and write. Some of this money can change  the lives of many little girls!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Curious, Critical, Perseverant

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Sade

What is the most fun thing you've done?

I actually flew on a piper (a lightweight aircraft)

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

To be healthy, To be recognised, To be happy!

What did you want to be after you left school?

Ever since our Biology teacher brought some owl pellets to class for us to dissect, I wanted to be a Biologist, I was 11.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Oh yes!

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I found 4 clock genes in krill and cloned them! Nobody knew much about krill genes before.

Tell us a joke.

A dog thinks: “These people I live with feed me, keep me warm, love me… they must be god!”. A cat thinks: “These people I live with feed me, keep me warm, love me… I must be god!”