Cakan Lab. on Zebrafish Models


Zebrafish is a widely used, robust vertebrate model that is accessible for genetic modification, well suited for imaging, easy to manipulate, has a short generation time and low cost. Zebrafish has been increasingly used for disease modeling and cancer studies, and it has come forward as an attractive model for drug discovery and personalized medicine studies in recent years. Our group aims to develop novel zebrafish models and technology that will contribute to the zebrafish reseach mainly in the field of disease research and personalized medicine. We collaborate with scientists in various research fields at iBG , DEU, IZTECH and Ege University.

Disease Models


Zebrafish tumors are strikingly similar to human tumors both genetically and pathologically. We generate zebrafish “humanized tumors” by overexpression of human oncogenes in selected tissues such as melanocytes and liver. Various genetic tools allow us to create time and space controlled expression of such oncogenes, in significantly shorter time and reduced cost than rodent models. Xenotrasnplantation of human cancer cells to zebrafish host is another technology we use to facilitate cancer studies. We apply and improve this technology to study cancer metastasis, angiogenesis and drug response. In long term we aim to develop robust patient derived xenografts (PDX) methodology and use it as a tool for personalized medicine in collaboration with local oncologists.


Zebrafish offers several advantages for rare disease modeling, and drug discovery. We are using CRISPR/Cas9 technology to generate mutations in disease genes. We collaborate with clinicians to generate genetic models of rare diseases in zebrafish. We are particularly interested in diseases that are more common in Turkey due to consanguinity.


Team Leader: Gulcin Cakan Akdogan, PhD
Research Associate: Emine Gelinci, MSc.
Care-giver: Meryem Ozaydin

We manage the IBG-Zebrafish facility, and offer support to zebrafish researchers. We aim to facilitate transfer of know-how, support efficient use of zebrafish model in the region by creating a collaborative environment, and offering expertise on state-of-the art zebrafish technology.

IBG zebrafish aquarium is operated by with high standards in compliance with EU-regulations, monitored with local ethics committee and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. IBG zebrafish facility houses an aquarium equipped with Techniplast Zebtec Multilinking system with 300 tanks capacity. In addition, the unit has micromanipulation room that is equipped with stereomicroscopes and microinjection equipment , two imaging rooms equipped with a fluorescent stereomicroscope and a brigthfield stereomicroscope with cameras.

Group Members

Cakan Lab. on Zebrafish Models

Research Group Leader

+90 232 299 41 00 (5261)
+9 0 (232) 299 41 76

Meryem ÖZAYDIN Care Taker

Ekin DEMİRBAŞ MSc Student

Merve BAŞOL MSc Student

Büşra KORKMAZ Visiting Researcher

Ebru ÖNAL MSc Student

Esra ERSÖZ MSc Student

Mehmet Can KILIÇ Undergraduate Student

Selected Publications

Hande Topel, Ezgi Bagirsakci, Dehan Comez, Gulsun Bagci, Gulcin Cakan-Akdogan, Nese Atabey. lncRNA HOTAIR overexpression promotes hybrid epithelial/mesenchymal phenotype through suppression of c-Met Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Signaling in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells. Cell Communication and Signaling. 2020 June ; 18 (110) . doi:10.1186/s12964-020-00602-0.

Sumeyra Cigdem Sozer, Tugce OZmen Egesoy, Merve Basol, Gulcin Cakan-Akdogan, Yasar Akdogan. A simple desolvation method for production of cationic albumin nanoparticles with improved drug loading and cell uptake. Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology. 2020 December ; 60 : 101931. doi:10.1016/j.jddst.2020.101931.

Begüm Demirkurt, Gulcin Cakan-Akdogan, Yasar Akdogan. Preparation of albumin nanoparticles in water-in-ionic liquid microemulsions. Journal of Molecular Liquids. 2019 December ; 295 : 117713. doi:10.1016/j.molliq.2019.111713.

Aysim Gunes, Ezgi Bagirsakci, Evin Iscan, Gulcin Cakan-Akdogan, Umut Aykutlu, Serif Senturk, Gunes Ozhan, Esra Erdal, Deniz Nart, Funda Yilmaz Barbet, Nese Atabey. Thioredoxin interacting protein promotes invasion in hepatocellular carcinoma. Oncotarget. 2018 ; 9 (96) : 36849-36866. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.26402.

Moraru A, Cakan-Akdogan G, Strassburger K, Males M, Mueller S, Jabs M, Muelleder M, Frejno M, Braeckman BP, Ralser M, Teleman AA. THADA Regulates the Organismal Balance between Energy Storage and Heat Production. Developmental cell. 2017 April ; 41 (1) : 72-81.e6. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2017.03.016.

Akdogan Y, Emrullahoglu M, Tatlidil D, Ucuncu M, Cakan-Akdogan G. EPR studies of intermolecular interactions and competitive binding of drugs in a drug-BSA binding model. Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP. 2016 August ; 18 (32) : 22531-9. doi:10.1039/c6cp04137j.

Pallares-Cartes C, Cakan-Akdogan G, Teleman AA. Tissue-specific coupling between insulin/IGF and TORC1 signaling via PRAS40 in Drosophila. Developmental cell. 2012 January ; 22 (1) : 172-82. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2011.10.029.

Lecaudey V, Cakan-Akdogan G, Norton WH, Gilmour D. Dynamic Fgf signaling couples morphogenesis and migration in the zebrafish lateral line primordium. Development (Cambridge, England). 2008 August ; 135 (16) : 2695-705. doi:10.1242/dev.025981.

Total : 8

Open Positions

We have positions for  MSc student /PhD student/ postdoctoral researcher to join our team to work on exciting and collaborative projects. Interested candidates shall contact Dr. Cakan Akdogan via e-mail.


Cakan Lab. on Zebrafish Models

Research Group Leader

+90 232 299 41 00 (5261)
+9 0 (232) 299 41 76