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Department of Pharmacology


An Interview with Dr Begüm Akman-Tuncer


Dr Begüm Akman-Tuncer obtained her PhD in molecular biology from The Middle East Technical University (METU), Turkey in 2013. Following a two-year post-doctoral position, she joined Dr. Catherine Lindon’s group at the Department of Pharmacology. Begüm’s scientific successes have recently enabled her to win a prestigious CoCirculation2 fellowship that will allow Begüm the fantastic opportunity to reintegrate into the Turkish Scientific Community, at METU.


Who are you and what do you work on?


My name is Begüm and I am a Research Associate in the Lindon Lab at the Department of Pharmacology and a Postdoctoral affiliate at Newnham College. I’m a molecular cell biologist and my work focus on ubiquitin signaling and how it controls the cell cycle and cell proliferation.

What do you love about your job?

That my job brings acquiring knowledge and asking new questions together.

How/why did your research lead you to Cambridge?

I completed my PhD at METU in Turkey where I worked on post-transcriptional gene regulation to understand control of cell proliferation. I applied to this position as a postdoc as it transformed my focus to post-translational control mechanisms of the same question. I feel very grateful that I’ve been working in the Lindon group for 6 years now.

Other than science what is most important for you in life?

Family and friends!

Do you have any advice to early-career women scientists?

My advice would be to find supportive PIs and mentors along your career. People who challenge you but also appreciate your hard-work.

Did you have to face any hurdles as a woman in science?

I have been lucky to work with two strong women PIs and a mentor who supports Women in STEM. I’m fully aware the difficulties women face in STEM and I’m very well-prepared!

What/Who first sparked your interest in Science?

Let’s say I’ve been into sci-fi from a very young age, reading books and watching movies. I just wanted to become the cool scientist.

When did you decide to become a research scientist?

Although I did not know “how to become a research scientist” at the time, I started my MPhil after my undergraduate studies. I made my “decision” to become a scientist during my PhD studies as I discovered being in the lab is my happy place.

Why is science fun?

Science brings acquiring knowledge and solving problems together and gives you the freedom to ask new questions. I think as cell biologists we are trying the find the pieces to solve the big jigsaw puzzle, and I love jigsaw puzzles!

What and when was the last experiment you did in the lab?

I did an electroporation to knock down one of my favorite proteins yesterday. Fingers crossed it would work!

If you were to choose a laboratory superpower what would it be?

Teleporting in and out of the lab when necessary!

How do you relax?

Video games! I have been a gamer for a long time and I prefer MMORPGs.