Dr. Sureyya Ozcan Kabasakal from METU in Turkey visits Malta
Dr. Sureyya Ozcan Kabasakal from the Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara, Turkey had a short term scientific mission at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Malta. She was hosted by Prof Jean Calleja Agius, Head of Department of Anatomy and Prof Neville Calleja, Head of Department of Public Health and Director of the Department of Health Information and Research within the Ministry of Health in Malta.
The aim of the STSM was to investigate the underlying pathophysiology of endometrial cancer in women with polycystic ovaries (PCOS) using proteomics.
Current data suggest that women of all ages with PCOS are at an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer is rare among women under 40 years, but it is especially more prevalent in women with PCOS. However, different studies show conflicting results. Dr Ozcan Kabasakal's team at the Middle East Technical University of Ankara, Turkey (METU) aims, by using proteomics, to further investigate the underlying pathophysiology and potential biomarkers that indicate the subgroup of women with PCOS who are at increased risk of endometrial cancer. At METU, Dr Ozcan Kabasakal's team have recruited over 300 samples, but we are experiencing difficulties in getting part of the experiments done, particularly those related to mass spectrometry and statistical analysis.
This STSM has enabled Dr Ozcan Kabasakal, as the team leader on this project at METU, to establish collaborations with different teams of researchers, academics, and clinicians at the University of Malta, in order to be able to complete this study and eventually even lead to more publications and collaborations.
Here is the outline of what was carried out during the 5-day visit to the University of Malta. The host, Prof Jean Calleja Agius, Head of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Malta gave a tour of the Campus at the University of Malta, specifically visiting the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Biobanking at the University of Malta. Dr Ozcan Kabasakal inspected the facilities and met Dr. Riccardo Di Fiore, Scientific Officer, and Dr. Sherif Suleiman, Lab Manager in charge of the tissue culture lab, flowcytometry, and other facilities.
She also visited the Department of Applied Biomedical Sciences at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Malta and at the labs at Mater Dei Hospital in Malta. Specifically, she met Prof Melissa Formosa, who showed her around the zebrafish facilities that she set up. This was followed by a discussion on further collaborations. She also met Prof Richard Muscat, Director of the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Biobanking and Head of Physiology and Biochemistry at the University of Malta.
Dr Ozcan Kabasakal also met the Director of the Department of Health Information and Research within the Ministry for Health, Prof Neville Calleja, who leads the team working on the registration of cancer and rare diseases.
Dr Sureyya Ozcan Kabasakal achieved all the goals and expected outcomes that were planned during this STSM. It was a wonderful opportunity to pave the way for future collaborative research work and exchange of students, and even co-supervision of PhD and Masters and undergraduate students.