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Science Q&A: “RNA processing is directly related to health issues”

Cemre Manav performs baseline scientific research in RNA processing that paves the way for new treatments of many diseases, such as heart failure, as well as for therapeutic processes, for example gene silencing.

Cemre Manav, PhD, was one of the recipients of the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s postdoctoral fellowships 2019 for research abroad in the field of bioscience and basic biomedicine. Manav will receive DKK 3,998,207 over four years.

What does this grant mean to you and your research?

“I have been studying and working as a researcher in Aarhus/Copenhagen for the last six years. I have always appreciated the work ethics here in Denmark. There are also so many good opportunities for scientists when it comes to networking and funding. That is why I would like to contribute to the Danish research environment and develop my life and career here in Denmark. For a postdoc, having your own funding is an amazing thing. Having huge funding, such as the NNF funding, is a blessing for me because it is very, very convenient and it helps me come back to Denmark, which is just perfect for me. For my research career I am very certain that this postdoc will improve my skills tremendously. I will be working with very brilliant people who contribute to the area amazingly and some of whom are Nobel Laureates. Being in such a work environment will help me become an independent and good scientist.”

Where will you conduct your postdoc?

“I will be working at the Medical Research Council – Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC-LMB) in Cambridge, England, with the group of Lori Passmore.”

What applications could your research have?

“My research focuses on RNA processing. This is directly related to health diseases, bone marrow diseases and gene expression. If we can control this process, we can control which genes are expressed. This means that if we know a specific gene is causing a specific disease, we can just stop that gene from being translated from the very beginning.”

What is the best thing about being a scientist and about your area of research?

“The best thing is the idea of helping people! What we do is very baseline scientific research, which paves the way for the clinical researchers to develop treatments for diseases such as infections, heart failure etc. Knowing that I might be helping humanity feels amazing and it is the driving force for me to just keep working and learning.”

Do you have any advice for students out there wanting to pursue a career in science?

“It might feel overwhelming and tiring. Their lab work will not always yield good results. Most of the time we get negative results, but we never give up. Always look for a reason and look for a different way of doing it. There is always a way of getting the results, it’s just a matter of hard work and reading what other people are doing. And always discuss your studies with other people, see what they think about it. Science is fun!”

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