Ercument Dirice, PhD




Update: April 10, 2014



ercchildI was born in Bremen - Germany in a rainy  morning on September 7, 1977. With my sister together, who was also born in Germany, we started our primary education in Bremen and got a good schooling with learning German as a native speaker. My parents moved to Germany in the late 60s and they spent almost a quarter of their life, working for our future. Due to my parents hectic period I have been grown up until 5 years of age by my mama Ingrid DUIN.  Although I dont remember everything, the most beautiful memories that I carry from those days are the time I spend with mama, her daughter Anja and playing with my friends in the neighborhood. I always felt the love from this German family but could never expect that it is so huge (When I visited them 17 years later, everyone started crying while I got shocked unexpecting this kind of love.

Four years after I started my primary education, my family decided to move back to Turkey. Leaving my father alone for additional 3 years, I continued my education in Cumhuriyet Primary-School in Sinop - Turkey. Switching from a culture to a completely different one was very difficult, a common problem for kids moving back to their parents home country. I was lucky not to have any language problems due to my extra training for Turkish in Bremen. I spent less than 6 months for adaptation and successfully finished primary school.

I started my Middle and High-SchooI at Sinop Anatolian High-School. In Tukey, every student starts an incredibleERC-1992 Antalya educational competition in the Middle-School years. Just after finishing the High-School, a single exam decides your fate. So, passing the exam with a high score is the priority for everyone. During my High-School years, Biology was my favourite class and my knowledge and curiosity let me decide to become a researcher in science.

After the matriculation exam in 1996, I was accepted to the Biology Department at Faculty of Arts and Sciences in Akdeniz University. This was the firs step in my career to become a researcher.

It was my second visit to Antalya, one of the most thrilling cities in the world to live in with its special nature and history. Although the faculty was far away from the main campus, we enjoyed this hidden place alot. Moving to the University Campus in 1997, the start was given for a wonderful 3 years including successful education and social life. Subequent to my graduation in 2000, I attended to the Department of Medical Biology and Genetics as a research assistant. While working on my master project, I also started studying Gene Therapy at Turkeys first Gene  and Cell Tharapy Center in Akdeniz University. We perfomed several projects which were published or preseneted in International Meetings. I acquired my MSc degree in Medical Genetics Program in 2003 and started as a PhD student at the same department under the mentorship of Prof. Dr Salih Sanlioglu.  Ive been lucky enough to work with him as he just came from the University of Iowa - United States, with fresh knowledge and new techniques being an expert in Gene Therapy field. In less than 3 years Dr. Sanlioglu established Turkeys first Gene and cell therap Center and his Lab was growing from day to day.

ercuHGTUgroupOur growing interest in Diabetes as a Lab started in 2004 and gets valid with my PhD thesis. I studied the effect of a recently identified molecule called TRAIL on rat / mouse pancreatic islet survival by using autoimmune diabetes mouse and rat models. We have shown that the survival of grafted pancreatic islets can be increased by complementary gene therapy modalities are employed prior to transplantation. My thesis named Adenovirus mediated TRAIL gene (Ad5hTRAIL) delivery into pancreatic islets prolongs normoglycemia in STZ-induced diabetic rats was published in Human Gene Therapy, the official journal of European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ESGCT) in October, 2009. In addition, the journal announced that October 2009 Journa Cover Award has been given to our project. I received several price and honorary awards in 2009, and the Novartis Research Award for Diabetes fellowship opened the doors for a postdoctoral training at Joslin Diabtes Center affiliated with Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Rohit N. Kulkarni, M.D. PhD. (July- 2009)