Betül Kaçar

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Betül Kaçar
Born Istanbul
Alma mater

Emory University

Marmara University
Known for Astrobiology
Scientific career
Institutions

University of Arizona

Earth-Life Science Institute

Betül Kaçar is an Assistant Professor of Astrobiology at the University of Arizona. She is a NASA Early Career Fellow.

Education[edit | hide all | hide | edit source]

Kacar was born in Istanbul, where she attended Cavusoglu High School.[1] Her parents were immigrants to Istanbul from the Black Sea region, and no women in her family had received a formal education.[1] She studied Chemistry at Marmara University, but was dissatisfied with the amount of free time in her schedule and began to volunteer.[1] Whilst volunteering at an international meeting about Alzheimer's, she learned about how the molecular properties of enzymes could change with age.[1] This inspired her to apply to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where she spent a summer conducting scientific research in Emory University.[1] She returned to Emory University in 2004, and eventually earned a PhD in Biomolecular Chemistry in 2010.[2]

Career[edit | hide | edit source]

Kaçar is interested in how we can understand the molecular mechanisms of evolution. She was award a NASA postdoctoral fellowship, followed by an Early Career Fellowship and funding from the NASA Astrobiology Institute and Exobiology Branch.[1] She was appointed as a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology in 2010.[3] In 2011 she became a member of the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science.[4]

She joined Harvard University in 2012, where worked in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.[5][6] Here she looked to identify how to reconstruct historical enzymatic intermediates between global geochemical reservoirs and biological activity.[7][8] She appeared on the Science for the Public, where she spoke about trying to reconstruct ancient genes about how they developed over millions of years.[9] At Harvard, Kaçar managed to revive an ancient protein and managed to get it to evolve inside a Escherichia coli.[9][10][11][12][13] She is a member of the Harvard Origins Initiative.[14]

In 2017 Kaçar was appointed to University of Arizona, where she is an Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Molecular and Cell Biology.[15] She is also an Associate Professor at the Earth-Life Science Institute at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.[16] Her husband, Zach Adam, works in the Lunar and Planetary Institute.[17] She has been described as a "prominent member" of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.[18][19] She has received over $1 million of grant funding.[20]

Kaçar is interested in public engagement and outreach.[21][22][23] During her PhD she began to translate articles about evolution into other languages.[18] In 2012 she co-founded SAGANet, an astrobiology social network.[24][25] She is on the Board of Advisory Committee of the MIT BioBuilder Foundation.[26] In 2016 she was named Way Cool Scientist by the Science Club for Girls.[27] Her work has featured on PBS.[28] She was interviewed in the magazine Turk of America.

References[edit | hide | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 TOA, Admin. "Betül Kaçar Invokes the Past in Modern Bacteria". Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  2. "An Interview with Betul Kacar, a PhD student at Emory University". Extreme Biology. 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  3. "The Scientist is In: Dr. Betul Kacar". The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program. 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  4. "Betul Kacar – Blue Marble Space Institute of Science". www.bmsis.org. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  5. "Betul Kacar". edwards.oeb.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  6. "Betul Kacar | Santa Fe Institute". www.santafe.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  7. "Reconstructing Ancient Phenotypes". Kacar Lab. 2015-11-22. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  8. "Molecular Mechanisms of Cellular Evolution". Kacar Lab. 2015-11-22. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "NASA Astrobiology". astrobiology.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  10. "NASA Astrobiology Institute". nai.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  11. "Biologists Invoke the Past in Modern Bacteria | Quanta Magazine". Quanta Magazine. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  12. "Resurrecting Ancient Proteins and Simulating Evolution in the Lab". 2016-04-19. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  13. "Can You Teach an Old Gene New Tricks?". 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  14. "Betul Kacar". scholar.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  15. "Betul Kacar". www.as.arizona.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  16. "Kacar, Betul | ELSI". www.elsi.jp. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  17. "MCB Heads to the Stars with Astrobiologist Dr. Betul Kacar | Molecular and Cellular Biology". mcb.arizona.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 NASA Astrobiology (2017-09-08), Early Career Spotlight Series: Dr. Betul Kacar, retrieved 2018-03-30 
  19. "Betül Kacar: İstanbul'dan NASA'ya Uzanan Başarı Hikâyesi » Girisimci Kafası". Girisimci Kafası (in Turkish). 2018-03-15. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  20. "Research Center A Hub For Origins of Life Studies - Astrobiology Magazine". Astrobiology Magazine. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  21. "Betül Kacar | SU Gender". sugender.sabanciuniv.edu (in Turkish). Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  22. "ELSI, SAGANet and some thoughts on the role of Education and Public Outreach | ELSI". www.elsi.jp. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  23. "Explore Space Science Activities". www.lpi.usra.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  24. "Meet our Board of Advisors". saganet.org. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  25. "SAGANet". saganet.org. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  26. "Betul Kacar | Molecular and Cellular Biology". mcb.arizona.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  27. "Dr. Betul Kacar, faculty speaker, Scientific Excellence Through Diversity Seminar Series". projects.iq.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  28. Watch now: MontanaPBS Presents | Search for the Origin of Life | MontanaPBS Video, retrieved 2018-03-30 

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