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. 

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.

The Group

Group Members

Cakan Lab. on Zebrafish Models

Research Group Leader

+90 232 299 41 00 (5261)

Emine GELİNCİ R&D Personnel
+90 232 299 41 00 (5262)

Çiğdem KARAKOYUN Post-Doc Researcher

Ebru ÖNAL MSc Student

Muhammet MEMON PhD Student

Meryem ÖZAYDIN Care Taker

Esra ERSÖZ MSc Student

Metehan GÜZELKAYA Undergraduate Student  None

Merve BAŞOL MSc Student

Khalid ABDALLA Researcher

Neşe BAYSAN MSc Student

Former Members

Meryem ÖZAYDIN Care Taker

Ekin DEMİRBAŞ MSc Student

Ebru ÖNAL MSc Student

Ege Seray CEYHAN Undergraduate Student

Mehmet Can KILIÇ Undergraduate Student

Selected Publications

Evin Iscan, Umut Ekin, Gokhan Yildiz, Ozden Oz, Umur Keles, Aslı Suner, Gulcin Cakan-Akdogan, Gunes Ozhan, Marta Nekulova, Borivoj Vojtesek, Hamdiye Uzuner, Gökhan Karakülah, Hani Alotaibi and Mehmet Ozturk. TAp73β Can Promote Hepatocellular Carcinoma Dedifferentiation. Cancers. 2021 February ; 13 (4) : 783. doi:10.3390/cancers13040783. Download

Saniye Gul Kaya, Seniz Inanc-Surer, Gulcin Cakan-Akdogan, Gulgun Oktay, Canan Asli Utine, Sibel Kalyoncu. Roles of matrix metalloproteinases in the cornea: A special focus on macular corneal dystrophy. Medicine in Drug Discovery. 2021 September ; 11 : 100095. doi: Download

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. Download

Topel H, Bagirsakci E, Comez D, Bagci G, Cakan-Akdogan G, Atabey N. lncRNA HOTAIR overexpression induced downregulation of c-Met signaling promotes hybrid epithelial/mesenchymal phenotype in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.. Cell communication and signaling : CCS. 2020 July ; 18 (1) : 110. doi:10.1186/s12964-020-00602-0. Download

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. Download

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. Download

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. Download

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. Download

Karakus, Erman; Cakan-Akdogan, Gulcin; Emrullahoglu, Mustafa. A guanidinium modified rhodamine-based fluorescent probe for in vitro/vivo imaging of gold ions. ANALYTICAL METHODS. 2015 ; 7 (19) : 8004-8008. doi:10.1039/c5ay01581b. Download

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. Download

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. Download

Total : 11

Selected Proceedings

Merve Arslan, Gulcin Cakan-Akdogan, Sibel Kalyoncu 2019, 'Antibody Engineerıng Approaches on Vernier Zone Residues to Develop Biobetter Antibody Therapeutics for Cancer Treatment', 2nd International Cancer & Ion Channels Congress, İzmir, Sept. 22, 2019 .

Total : 1

Open Positions

We are looking for a motivated , hardworking , succesfull young postdoc to work on development of zebrafish based technologies/ platforms for drug testing, disease modeling, personelized medicine applications. Scholarship is available upto 18 months , with a possibility of extention.


*PhD degree in life sciences

*Experience and strong knowledge in 2 of the following : molecular biology (cloning , biochemical analysis methods) , cell biology , live imaging , zebrafish model.

*One first/co-first author publication.

If interested contact me via email . Send an application including ; cover letter , CV and undergraduate and graduate transcripts.


Cakan Lab. on Zebrafish Models

Research Group Leader

+90 232 299 41 00 (5261)