Demet Arac-Ozkan, PhD

PI last name in publications: ARAÇ



ARAÇ LAB RESEARCH

Cells in multicellular organisms have the extraordinary ability of adhering to each other and exchanging information. Cellular adhesion and communication is essential for the development of all organs such as the brain, and is a key phenomenon that is disrupted in many human diseases. The Araç Lab is interested in understanding cellular communication with a special focus on the cell-surface receptors that mediate intercellular adhesion and communication. Genetic studies revealed critical roles for these surface proteins in embryonic development (especially of the brain and the heart), and in neurobiology (especially in synaptogenesis, axon pathfinding, axon-dendrite partner marching and wiring the brain); and link them to numerous diseases including neurological disorders, developmental impairments, multiple types of cancers (such as glioblastoma and ovarian cancer) and congenital general anosmia (the inability to smell). Considering that many drugs target the extracellular regions of membrane receptors to regulate receptor function, and have excellent therapeutic benefits, these proteins may be promising targets for drugs to treat numerous diseases once mechanistic details about the components that regulate their functions are understood. However, in spite of the recent exciting advances, their mechanisms of action, high-resolution structures in isolation or in complex with their ligands, and how they can mediate such broad range of functions remain majorly unknown. Our lab’s ultimate goal is to understand the mechanisms by which cell-adhesion receptors mediate communication between cells.

Stanford University
Stanford, CA
Postdoctoral - Structural and Cellular Biology
2013

UT Southwestern Med. Center
Dallas, TX
PhD - Molecular Biophysics
2006

Bilkent University
Ankara, Turkey
BS - Molecular Biology and Genetics
1999

Structures of neuroligin-1 and the neuroligin-1/neurexin-1 beta complex reveal specific protein-protein and protein-Ca2+ interactions.
Araç D, Boucard AA, Ozkan E, Strop P, Newell E, Südhof TC, Brunger AT. Structures of neuroligin-1 and the neuroligin-1/neurexin-1 beta complex reveal specific protein-protein and protein-Ca2+ interactions. Neuron. 2007 Dec 20; 56(6):992-1003.
PMID: 18093522

Fay/Frank Seed Grant
Brain Research Foundation
2014 - 2015

Big Ideas Generator
University of Chicago
2014 - 2015

Life Sciences Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
Howard Hughes Medical Center
2007 - 2010

Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellowship
University of California, Riverside
1999 - 2000