Ezgi Özkurt

Zwei Studenten und eine Tasse Kaffee

Research interest

I am interested mainly in the domestication-driven phyllosphere microbiome evolution of wheat. The central question is how domestication shaped the genetic diversity, composition and function of wheat phyllosphere associated eukaryote microbes. We aim to characterize evolutionary change in wheat microbiome both over long (10.000 - 12.000 years) and short evolutionary times (across 30 growing seasons). For this, I will compare metagenomics of wild (Triticum dicoccoides and Aegilops speltoides) and domesticated wheat (Triticum aestivum). This project is in collaboration with Tal Dagan (Kiel University).

I'm also working on a project about genome evolution of hybrid species Zymoseptoria pseudotritici. This plant pathogen species shows peculiar nucleic diversity pattern: Its genome is mosaic of non- variable and highly variable long genomic regions. Furthermore, highly variable regions are organized into two haplotypes. These genomic patterns signal to an hybridization event between two individuals (~3 % diverged from each other) which gave rise to Zymoseptoria pseudotritici hybrid species (For more information see Stukenbrock et al., 2012, PNAS). Recently, I am analyzing 27 individuals genome sequences and identifying newly accumulated variations and detecting positively selected genes. This project is in collaboration with Mikkel Heide Schierup (Aarhus University, Denmark).



Fungi genome evolution, population genomics, metagenomics, computational biology



B. Sc. at the department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, Middle East Technical University, Turkey (2009 - 2014)

M. Sc. at the Biology department, Middle East Technical University, Turkey (2014 - 2015)

Phd student at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology (started 2016, January)



Özkurt, E. & Acar, O., Demir, G., Saraç, H., Alkan, C., Esen, T., Lack, N. A. & Somel, M (2015). Determining the origin of synchronous multifocal bladder cancer by exome sequencing. BMC Cancer, 15, 871. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-015-1859-8 

Saglican, E., Özkurt, E. , Hu, H., Erdem B., Khaitovich P., Some,l M. (2014). Heterochrony explains convergent testis evolution in primates. Submitted, Available on bioRxiv doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/010553