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Home » Discover Rackham » Student Spotlight: Seçkin Akgül

Seçkin’s research is dedicated to understanding the biology of brain tumors and the development of the cerebral cortex. More specifically, he tests the effects of various genetic modifications on inhibition of a malignant brain tumor and at the same time tries to understand how they are formed. The ultimate goal of his research is to provide the clinical field with necessary information and methodology that will eventually be helpful in therapeutic interventions. “I have an insatiable ambition to understand how a perfectly normal cell transforms into a tumor and what I can do to help people with cancer.”

“When I was an undergrad, I realized that there were a significant number of important, scientific articles from the University of Michigan, and I was amazed by the broad spectrum of scientific topics being studied here. Studies related to cancer biology and stem cell biology, two of my favorite areas, are remarkably advanced at U-M. The idea of joining this terrific community, contributing to the scientific progress and ultimately serving the society really motivated me to apply to Rackham.”

“Rackham has a distinctive place in my life because this is where I have shaped myself into a young scientist full of ambition and goals. Rackham not only gave me the training that I needed but also provided me with confidence, values, and a clear agenda. I think about Rackham as a family that supports you not only when you are at home but especially when you are away.”

“Rackham funding gave me the opportunity to meet and listen to many scientists from all over the world who are experts in their field. I also had the chance to present my own work and as a result received a postdoc offer from a professor who was interested in my study. I think that Rackham provided me with a unique experience that is very essential in my scientific training and career development.”

Being a graduate student is not without its challenges. “I think that keeping your motivation, patience and persistence is the biggest challenge during a doctorate study. There are many occasions that the experiments will tell you the opposite of what you have been thinking all along. I’ve learned the importance of staying motivated, reevaluating ideas and continuing to test a new hypothesis. Sometimes I have to wait over a year in order to analyze the results because that is when you will see the effects of an experiment. And you have to be persistent because you might fail more than you succeed. However, ultimate success is of those who keep going.”

Coming to Michigan was the right choice for him. “It was actually a nice coincidence that the officer who was reviewing my visa files in Turkey was from Michigan, and she was as excited as I was by the fact that I was going to move to Ann Arbor and be a U-M student. That was the first time I heard the magic phrase “Go Blue!’. I knew that I made a correct decision at that moment, even before coming to Ann Arbor.”