MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Prof.Dr. Gürkan ÖZTÜRK

Almost all medical disorders involve loss or dysfunction of cells, tissues or organs. As humans, we have the capacity to replenish the lost, but only to a limited extend. On the other hand, there are more successful examples of tissue regeneration in other living beings in nature. Hints from these organisms and ever-expanding knowledge on stem cells, growth factors and extracellular matrix encourage us to develop strategies to regenerate lost body parts and restore their functions. Engineering has made tremendous progress in recent years and contributed to medicine more than ever. From fabrication of biomaterials to the construction of robotic prostheses regenerative and restorative strategies heavily depend on and boosted by new technology.

At Medipol, as we shaped the research vision of our young university we chose the regenerative medicine as a strategic field for research. Within a couple of years we achieved establishment of the core units of a thematic research center, which was supported by a government grant from The Ministry of Development. Medipol Regenerative and Restorative Medicine Research Center (REMER) is organized to harbor multiple core facilities and labs with the highest technology available and has already started to attract many high profile researchers from all over the world. We have a vision to cover all main areas of the regenerative medicine by encouraging formation of several topic-specific research groups led by prominent scientists.

Initially, we have given priority to four main areas of research within regenerative domain. The first one is repair and regeneration in nervous system disorders that cover a wide range of pathologies from degenerative diseases to stroke and trauma. Though regeneration in the nervous system involves stem cells as in other tissues, re-growth of degenerated neuronal processes and re-establishment of synaptic connections are much more significant for functional recovery. The second main topic is regeneration in the cardiovascular system that entails repair of damaged cardiac tissue and management of vascularization. Studying an extreme animal model of regeneration, the complete re-growth of lost limbs (epimorphic regeneration) and successful repair of damaged organs in a salamander (Ambystoma mexicanum, common name “axolotl”) make our third major research area. Finally the involvement of stem cells in cancer pathogenesis, the dark side of the regenerative biology is among our first four research areas with priority.

The “restorative” part of REMER’s theme has a broad spectrum from neuroprosthetics to the complimentary medicine. In this sense, while we approach to the traditional medicine applications analytically to elucidate their potential effects and mechanism of action, we develop projects to understand the physiology of vital behaviors like feeding and sleeping, which will eventually help to design strategies to correct related disorders and restore the normal function and to make life style recommendations for better health. The engineering promises substantial contribution to restoration of impaired body functions. At REMER we create an environment that encourages development of common research projects that will bring together researchers from basic and clinical medical sciences and engineers. We are open to collaboration offers, new ideas and welcome applications for potential positions for talented scientists.

Sincerely,