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Can Aztekin

As a Branco Weiss Fellow, Dr. Can Aztekin will develop new approaches to study limb regeneration, and investigate how some animals can regrow their lost arms or legs; meanwhile, mammals fail to exhibit this ability.



Academic Career

  • Research Group Leader/ELISIR Scholar, ISREC, EPFL, Switzerland, 2021-Present
  • PhD in Developmental Biology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2016-2021
  • MSc in Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, Koc University, Turkey, 2014-2016
  • BSc in Biological Sciences and Bioengineering, Sabanci University, Turkey, 2010-2014

Major Awards

  • British Society of Developmental Biology (BSDB), The Beddington Medal, 2nd place Runner-Up, 2021
  • EPFL Life Sciences Early Independent Research Scholar (ELISIR) to start an independent research group, 2020
  • Association of British Turkish Academics Doctoral Researcher Award (ABTA DRA)Honorable Mention, 2020
  • Young Embryologist Network, The Sammy Lee Short Talk Runner-Up Award, 2019
  • BSDB 1st Prize Student Poster Award, 2019
  • University of Cambridge and Cambridge Trust Scholarships for PhD studies, 2016-2021
  • Koc University Merit Scholarship, 2014-2016
  • Participation to the Harvard Stem Cell Institute Internship Program, 2013
  • Sabanci University Scholarship, 2010-2014


Branco Weiss Fellow Since

Research Category
Regenerative Biology

Research Location
Institut Suisse de Recherche Expérimentale sur le Cancer (ISREC), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

In our society, a significant number of people suffer from limb loss or deformities and this number is expected to increase due to the rise in diabetes and vascular diseases. Yet, we do not have treatment options, other than using prosthetics. Investigation of amphibians (frog tadpoles and salamanders) that can regrow their lost arms and legs could inspire development of therapies. However, regeneration research is almost exclusively performed using animals, creating practical problems and hindering rapid advances. Moreover, it remains unclear why this ability is observed in only a select number of species and not mammals.
Details of Research
Dr. Can Aztekin will use bioengineering approaches to develop new simplified models to study limb regeneration, overcoming the impracticalities of in vivo experimentation. These models will establish high-throughput and physiologically relevant experimental systems to dissect mechanisms of regeneration. Moreover, Dr. Aztekin will perform cross-species comparisons, using computational biology approaches, to delineate the underlying reasons for limb regeneration-competency and -incompetency. Ultimately, these projects will accelerate limb regeneration research and reveal new insights into the determinants of limb regeneration.