Lab Members

Ozgur Sahin (PI, Associate Professor)

Ozgur Sahin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. He earned his Ph.D. degree (summa cum laude) in cancer systems biology at German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the University of Heidelberg in 2008. Previously, he held positions as a research team leader in the Division of Molecular Genome Analysis at DKFZ, as a research faculty at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and as an assistant professor at Bilkent University. Dr. Sahin published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in the field of cancer research in high impact international journals (e.g. PNAS, Cancer Cell, Nature Communications, Cell Research, Molecular Systems Biology, Clinical Cancer Research and Oncogene, etc.) and filed several patent applications. To date, he has received several funding (as PI) for his research from the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), European Union FP7 Program, TUBITAK, American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Sahin has received many awards, including Presidential Coin for Research Excellence from the President of UofSC and TUSEB Aziz Sancar (Nobel Laureate) Science Incentive Award from the Health Institutes of Turkey.


See more at NCBI or Google Scholar or Researchgate.



Abdol-Hossein Rezaeian (Research Assistant Professor)

I am currently a Research Assistant Professor in Dr. Sahin’s Lab at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. I completed my Ph.D. with a focus on the pathobiology of the CT/CGRP gene family and related Natural Antisense Transcripts in the brain development at Tokyo University A&T in 2009. I then completed my postdoctoral training in Molecular and Cellular Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center and was then promoted to Instructor at Department of Molecular Cellular Oncology from 2009 to 2016.  I joined Houston Methodist Research Institute as a Senior Research Associate in 2017 and was awarded an instructor position. I study microenvironmental regulation of tumor progression and drug resistance and impact of activating hypoxia signaling pathways during metastatic cancer with related implications for cancer therapeutics. I develop strategies to simultaneously target both tumorigenesis and chemo-resistance in several tumor models.


Ozge Akbulut (Postdoctoral Fellow)

I graduated from Middle East Technical University, Molecular Biology and Genetics Department in 2013. In my third year, I received an Erasmus scholarship a summer internship in Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany in Developmental Biology Department for 3 months. After getting my B.Sc. degree, I got a scholarship from DAAD-TEV to conduct my master studies in Heidelberg University, Germany in the major of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology and received my degree in September 2015. My master thesis was related to analysis of Cephalic Furrow formation, an evolutionary novelty of flies, and manipulation of genetics to recapitulate evolution in flies. In 2016, I started my PhD in Bilkent University where I work on developing novel therapeutics and drug resistance in breast cancer. In February 2020, I started to work in the Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Science at the University of South Carolina as a Research associate. Since February 2021, I continue my studies as Post Doctoral Fellow on drug development for cancer treatment.


Ozge Saatci (Graduate student)

I graduated from the Department of Chemical Engineering at METU in 2013. I obtained my Master’s degree in 2016 from the Molecular Biology and Genetics Department at Bilkent University. Currently, I am a PhD student in Dr. Sahin’s lab. My research interests are identification of cancer drivers and the mechanisms by which they contribute to disease progression. I am also interested in identifying novel anti-cancer therapeutics through high-throughput screening of small molecule compounds, and deciphering their mechanism of action. My thesis project is on elucidating the molecular mechanims that lead to centrosome amplification in highly aggressive cancers and identifying novel therapeutics that inhibit clustering of these extra centrosomes and trigger cancer cell death.


Kim Tuyen Huynh Dam (Graduate student)

I am a highly motivated graduate student who is intrigued by research focused on cancer biology, cancer biomarkers, and their application in diagnosis and/or therapeutics. My future goal is to develop some potential treatments to improve cancer patients’ lives. With the Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology in Vietnam National University (Ho Chi Minh city) and Master’s degree in Medical Sciences in University of Tsukuba, Japan, I have had a chance to immerse in dynamical scientific environment. I got well-training in basic and advanced molecular biotechnology involving RNA, DNA and protein analytic systems, mammalian cell culture system, in vitro synthesis and purification of RNA and protein, and phase display technology. I joined Dr. Sahin’s Lab in August 2020 as a PhD student and my project is on tamoxifen resistance and metastasis in breast cancer.


Ozlem Sener Sahin (Lab manager)

I obtained my bachelor degree in Biology from the Department of Biology at Erciyes University and completed my MSc degree in Teaching Biology at Baskent University. Later on, I started my “Diplomarbeit” at the Department of Biology at University of Heidelberg; however, I had to quit my study due to maternity leave. During my education, I actively participated in biological research, especially in cancer research. I worked as a part-time research assistant at German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) where I mainly focused on functional genomics studies in the identification of novel oncogenes. Then, I joined the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bilkent University as a research lab manager/technician. During my stay at Bilkent University, I actively participated in breast cancer research to identify novel drug targets overcoming resistance to standard chemo- or targeted therapy agents. I have extensive experience in breeding genetically engineered mice, genotyping, xenograft generation, oral, IP and IV injections for drug treatments as well as mice surgery. In addition to bench work, I have long-term experience in ordering lab material, arranging shipments, organizing laboratory and generating and updating animal and biosafety protocols.