In the century that we live, there were newly emerging infections. SARS-CoV outbreak emerged in 2003. New influenza types and their outbreaks, avian flu in 2005, swine flu in 2009 were all new global threats for Public Health. Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, Hantaviruses, West Nile Fever were newly detected between 2000 and 2010.
Koç University School of Medicine founded in 2010, while we were living in the first pandemic of the 21th century, which was Influenza A H1N1. The newly founded School of Medicine with full of enthusiasm, identified three major challenging research areas to distinguish its existence. Emerging infections was one of these three major challenging areas. By this decision, Biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory was included in the construction of the new hospital building which was completed in 2015.
Besides the emerging viruses, emerging antimicrobial resistance, which became a global public health problem. Infectious diseases and clinical microbiology faculties of Koç University, School of Medicine included this field in their research agenda.
The second pandemic of 21st century started at the end of 2019 and spread with an unexpected morbidity and mortality. The humankind was not prepared in terms of diagnosis, treatment and prevention. This was the strongest stimulus for us to speed up our efforts in contribution to the struggle against infectious diseases. We moved forward to increase the research capacity of our core team. İşbank of Turkey granted the team with 25 M Turkish Liras and their priceless motivation support.
Koç University İş Bank Center for Infectious Diseases was founded in December 20 of 2020, in the middle of devastating COVID-19 pandemic. The center increased the capacity of the research team in research, education and dissemination of the information.
Infectious disease is an exciting field between the clinical medicine and microbiology. We focus on a topic that has an impact on public health, observe the clinical consequences and investigate the molecular details. Infectious diseases are located at the core of epidemiology, public health, clinical studies, microbiology and immunology. Besides the clinical work, infection control is one of our responsibilities and the heavy practice force us to bring innovative solutions.
As the clinical microbiology team, we lead projects to bring solutions for the current problems in infectious diseases by connecting the dots between laboratory, clinic and community. We combine experimental strategies with bioinformatics analysis, and clinical data in a network with clinicians from several health-care centers, basic scientists, and public health scientists. We focus on molecular epidemiology, pathogenesis and drug resistance mechanisms of emerging bacterial, viral and fungal infections. We study metagenomics, transcriptomics, and computational methods to understand surveillance of emerging infections and evolutionary root of resistance. In order to find novel targets for therapy, we examine virulence and structural profiles of pathogens incorporation with immune response mechanisms. We are also interested in biofilm formation mechanisms and biofilm inhibition strategies.