Ozge Begli

DC9: Targeting of nucleic acid drugs: a new mitochondrial RNA therapeutic strategy
About me

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree from the Molecular Biology and Genetics Department of Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey in 2016. The multidisciplinary nature of my Bachelor’s, which included a minor program in Psychology and an internship at the School of Mental Health and Neuroscience of Maastricht University, helped me gain a better understanding of molecular psychiatry.

After graduation, I started my Master’s degree at Bilkent University’s National Nanotechnology Research Center (UNAM). For my Master’s thesis, I studied the discovery and development of peptide-based therapeutics against neurodegeneration. From academia I transitioned to industry, working as an R&D scientist at Intergen Genetic Diagnosis and Research Center in Ankara for three years.

As a young scientist with experience in both academia and industry, joining the MITGEST project as a doctoral candidate is the perfect next career step for me. It is a great privilege to be supervised by my advisors and be in close exchange with them throughout the project. I am also eager to learn new technologies at baseclick, which I believe will enrich and give a new meaning to my current knowledge and experience.

Above all, I am extremely excited about the scientific possibilities MITGEST offers. Join me as I strive to discover mitochondrial dysfunction, a possible underlying factor in metabolic and neurological diseases as well as mood disorders.

About my project

In this project, using Baseclick’s patented click chemistry technology in association with different conjugation technology, we will explore the targeting of RNA/oligonucleotides to the mitochondrial matrix. Furthermore, we will also pursue the conjugation of mitochondria-targeting peptide sequences from nuclear genes encoding mitochondrial proteins to deliver oligonucleotides to the mitochondrial matrix. These mitochondria-targeting agents will be combined with known cellular targeting agents, such as lipid nanoparticles or receptor-specific ligands, and will be tested in cellular contexts for the ability to target oligonucleotides to the mitochondrial matrix.