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Institute of Life Sciences and Biotechnology Opened at the Historical Barracks​


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Our university is implementing a project that will bring together experts in the field of human resources from abroad to Turkey. At the Bezmialem Vakif University Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, biological, genetic studies and cancer researches will be carried out to contribute to our society and science.

​Bezm-i Alem Gureba-i Müslimin Hospital, established by Bezmiâlem Valide Sultan as a health and education center in 1845, continues to provide education in the field of health as Bezmialem Vakıf University. As an innovative step, our university will bring in experts in the fields of human resources from abroad to Turkey by carrying out a valuable project.

The History of Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, founded by a team of academicians who have completed their specialist training in the world's top universities, is home to the Historical Beykoz Barracks. In our institute, industrial enzymes and Hepatitis B vaccine production, malaria, Crimean Congo and parat hormone productions are being carried out. These studies are both an important step for reverse brain drain and they aim to create a serious resource for reducing health imports. 

Ahmet Akça, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Bezmialem Vakıf University, explained about the history of the Beykoz barracks from past to present day : "The building which was established during Selim III era at the beginning of the 1800s has served as a cholera center for a period of time.

Now, it has become the institution of molecular medicine research of modern times. I spent my childhood here. This was the barracks of the Navy soldiers' officers.

It has stayed out of business for many years. 

In 2011, when we were looking for a place for Bezmialem, our Second Regional Directorate of Foundations showed this building.

I am very excited about Beykoz.

Metropolitan Municipality has restored this place, they were about to give it to a foundation. We immediately contacted and obtained this place for our foundation. It was disfunctional. Restoration lasted 2 years. Chemicals were injected into the stone walls, walls were pieced together. We designed the steel columns.

This building has a 200-year history and we wanted to build a building that will survive for the next 200 years.

Our goal is : here, today beyond meeting the daily needs of the community of Bezmialem or society, to carry out the possible needs of Turkey in 30-50 years." 

Ahmet Akça, the first faculty member of Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute who stated that Dr. Serdar Uysal came in from Harvard University, said, "As soon as he arrived he said to us, 'I produce the enzyme'. And as we continued with the restoration he established his laboratory in the basement and produced the enzyme.

Turkey annually imports $ 150 million worth industrial enzymes. Industrial enzymes have a $ 300 million market, and they are not produced in Turkey. But now it is produced in Turkey. We have teachers coming in from Canada and America." ​

Our Rector Prof. Dr. Rümeyza Kazancıoğlu, who stated that the only multidisciplinary hospital performing parathyroid gland transplantation in the world is Bezmialem ;  "Patients who have undergone thyroid surgery also have their parathyroid glands removed as a complication of this operation and they require continuous medication.

In this case, we perform parathyroid transplantation in patients who are suffering from this condition and carry out an operation that does not require patients to receive any medication.

We are one of the two healthcare organizations in the world who can carry out this operation and we are the only ones who perform in a multidisciplinary structure. ​

We have received our license to perform this operation from the Ministry of Health in Turkey, and in this sense, we are the first and only health institution to do so. Patients from Germany come in for this treatment. In addition, , we are working on producing parathormone secreted by the parathyroid glands in our laboratories at the Beykoz Institute and we are in the process of producing. This production is very limited in the world and can be offered to patients at very high costs. We conduct our studies to offer this to our society at a much more accessible cost."

Dr. Serdar Uysal, who gave information about industrial enzyme research, spoke as follows, "Research has two aspects. The first one is ;  in countries going back 25-30 years in biotechnology, such as Turkey, and in order for them to catch up with the foreign countries, where the progress of the developed countries is between 8 to 10 years, with the advancement of technology, to be able to cover the gap in two to three years and to complete the patented products through reverse engineering with local resources.

Second, to invest in the fundamental sciences and to build technologies for 20 years later. We need a strong upbringing of the human resources to feed both areas in parallel and to feed these two areas. That's what we want to do at this institute. We employ highly qualified human resources trained abroad in such a special place and nurture them with expert human resources and aim to proceed in parallel in the two areas mentioned above. The industrial enzyme R & D and production is a good example of university-industry cooperation.

With industrial enzymes following 30 years behind, we use microbes as factories to produce valuable chemicals. Valuable chemicals may be insulin, Hepatitis B, or amylase used in bread. Products produced by recombinant DNA and microbial systems are sectors that reach over $ 100 billion. In Turkey, all of them are imported.

We are transforming the microorganisms, which are found in our body or around us and accepted as GRAS status, to the factory in accordance with world standard food and environmental regulations. We design the circuit from DNA , just like electronic circuits, into the organisms we have transformed into factories.

We place a circuit into the microorganism and order the organism to ; ' Produce  that enzyme at this temperature, at this pH level, using the carbon and nitrogen source … '

Here we carry out the production R & D here. With the pilot system we have established at our laboratory, we carry out the production conditions necessary for the production to be industrially meaningful. It should also be known that the value added of all biotechnological products, from the enzyme we produce in this way to pharmaceutical drugs, is too high to be comparable to other industries.

To summarize; in this institute, we have been carrying out biotechnological products that we have followed behind 20 years by reverse engineering, and we are doing local studies to replace imported products locally. On the other hand, we carry out the basic scientific research of the technological products of 20 years ahead."

There are 10 laboratories in the Institute of Life Sciences and Biotechnology where research is planned to be conducted in the field of health and biology. In the first phase of the institute, which will consist of approximately 100 academic staff, 6 faculty members from different universities in the United States and Harvard University, took office. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ziya Doymaz, MD, head of the Department of Medical Microbiology at Bezmialem Vakif University, who stated that various faculty members, specialists, doctors and graduate students and technicians will work together with each faculty member, continued as ; "The Institute's faculty researcher needs will be completed on the contrary to the worlds prestigous universities, through the brain drain.

We are still in the process of getting faculty members. We have announced our ads abroad."