Meet Duygu Yilmaz – Senior Scientist

Enter into Duygu's world as a Molecular Scientist - exploring and coming up with experimental strategies

Medicines Discovery Catapult

Which team do you work in and what does that team do?

I work in the Target Engagement & Validation team – our goal is to help companies develop better drug molecules that have meaningful effects in the clinic.

We design experiments to demonstrate that a drug molecule engages with its molecular target and affects the biology of the target cell, as intended.

What’s your role within your team?

I am a molecular biologist – I have 5 years’ experience in drug discovery and development. I really enjoy research on mechanistic biology to understand how complex processes occur inside cells.

My role is based around exploring and devising experimental strategies to understand how drug molecules are taken up by the cells, where do they traffic inside the cell, and what kind of molecular changes they cause.

In three words, what would best describe your team?

Diverse, committed, and collaborative.

What attracted you to the drug discovery industry and Medicines Discovery Catapult?

It was the concept of accelerating drug discovery by helping small companies and academics to progress their ideas and products faster to patients.

Coming from a small biotech background myself, I am familiar with the difficulties small companies face. Bringing a diverse set of expertise together to support SMEs in developing better therapeutics can really advance drug discovery.

To date, what’s the most extraordinary or interesting job/project you’ve had in your career?

As we are living in extraordinary times right now with the pandemic, I am working as a volunteer in the Lighthouse Lab – we are testing patient samples for COVID-19. This is definitely the most extraordinary thing I have done, and as a scientist, it is exciting to see the immediate effect of our efforts.

If you could swap your job with anyone in the world, who would you swap with?

I would swap my job with a yoga instructor who lives by the beach in a warm country.

Tell us something you like doing outside of work.

I enjoy a bit of yoga in my spare time, and some day I may swap my job – I can dream!

Read Duygu’s blog on ‘Drug Delivery: Towards making drugs that work better’ to understand how to overcome the drug challenges.