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A Turkish Female Scientist Has Joined
the American Academy of Sciences

For the first time in the 157-year history of the American Academy of Sciences, a Turkish scientist became a member of the academy.

Professor Ivet Bahar, president of the founding board of the School of Biological Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which works on pharmaceuticals, is the first Turkish woman to join the International Academy of Sciences.

Professor Ivet Bahar is currently working on a project to develop medicine of COVID-19.
In 2016, she also spoke at the White House at the invitation of former US President Obama.
Molecular Biology Professor Ivet Bahar has been a great success and has been selected as a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the world's most prestigious science academy due to her scientific research. 
The US National Academy of Sciences, based in Washington, has honored 120 scientists in the US this year and 26 scientists outside the US. 


After the announcement made as of April 27, the total number of domestic members of the US National Academy of Sciences became 2,403 and 501 outside the country. Professor Bahar continues her studies as the Founding President and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer and Systems Biology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School.


Bahar is known for her theoretical and computational models developed to explain the functional dynamics of biological systems on a molecular scale, signal transmission, and regulation among neurons, their alignment, and functions in proteins.


Current position


Distinguished Professor and John K. Vries Chair, Department of Computational and Systems Biology, School of Medicine (SOM), University of Pittsburgh (Pitt)
Associate Director, University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute




  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey, 1986
  • M.S. in Chemical Engineering, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, 1983
  • B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Bogazici University, Istanbul, turkey, 1980
  • Career/Employment
  • Distinguished Professor of Comp & Systems Biol, Dec 2013-present
  • Associate Director, U of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute, 2010-present
  • Director/PI, MMBioS, NIGMS Biomed Technol & Res Center,
  • Joint Center between Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, PSC & Salk Inst, 2012-present
  • John K. Vries Chair, Dept of Comp & Systems Biol, SOM, Pitt, 2010-present
  • Co-Director, Clinical & Translational Sci Inst, Mol & Sys Modeling Core, 2010-2012
  • John K. Vries Chair, Dept of Comp Biol, SOM, Pitt, 2005-2010
  • Founding Chair, Dept of Comp Biol, SOM, Pitt, 2004-2010
  • Founding Director, PhD Program in Comp Biol, Pitt & Carnegie Mellon U, 2005-2009
  • Founding Director, Center for Comp Biol & Bioinformatics, SOM, Pitt, 2001-2004
  • Professor, Dept of Molecular Genetics & Biochemistry, SOM, Pitt, 2001-2004
  • Professor, Chem Eng Dept, Bogazici University, Istanbul, 1993-2001
  • Head, Adv Polymeric Matls Res Unit, TUBITAK, Bogazici U, Istanbul, 1998-2000
  • Director, Polymer Research Center, Bogazici University, Istanbul, 1992-2000
  • Fogarty Fellow & Visiting Scientist, Exp & Comput Biol Lab, NCI, 1992-2000 (summers)
  • Visiting Scientist, NATO & CNRS projects, Ecole Superieure de Physique et Chimie Lab de Physicochimie Struct et Macromol (PCSM), Paris (short-term visits) 1989-1998
  • Visiting Professor, U of Akron, Inst of Polymer Sci, Akron, Ohio (summers) 1988-91
  • UNESCO Fellow, U of Akron, Inst of Polymer Science, Akron, Ohio (summer) 1987
  • Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering Dept, Bogazici U, Istanbul, 1987-93
  • Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering Dept, Bogazici U, Istanbul, 1986-87
  • Research Assistant, Chemistry Dept, Istanbul Technical U, Turkey, 1984-86


Honors and awards


2016-2020     The Biophysical Society, Awards Committee.
2019     The 2019 Kadir Has Outstanding Achievement Award, Kadir Has University. Award Recipient. Istanbul, Turkey.
2016     Invited Speaker at the White House, Natl Strategic Computing Initiative 1st Year Anniversary
2016     Distinguished Lecturer, TIGP, Academia Sinica, Taiwan (elected by Taiwan International Graduate Program (TIGP) students)
2015     International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) Senior Member Designation
2014     Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award (U of Pittsburgh)
2013     Distinguished Professor, University of Pittsburgh.
2012-     The Science Academy, Turkey, Principal Member (Elected)
2011 - Founded by former TUBA members in November 2011 in Istanbul as an independent NGO to promote, practice, and uphold the principles of scientific merit, freedom, and integrity; officially recognized by ALLEA as an Academy of Science
2010     Executive Board Member (Elected), Biophysical Society
2008     Elected Council Member, Biophysical Society
2008     Elected Council Member, International Society of Quantum Biology and Pharmacology
2005     John K. Vries Endowed Chair, University of Pittsburgh.
2000     European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), Elected Member
1998     Excellence in Research Award, Bogazici University
1997     Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA)(*), Principal Member (Elected)
1996. TUBA is a member of ALLEA (All European Academies)
1995     TUBITAK-TWAS Science Prize
   1. TWAS: Third World Academy of Science
   2. Turkish National Science and Technology Foundation (counterpart of NSF in Turkey)
1991     Sedat Simavi Physical Sciences Prize (joint with B. Erman)
1990     Chemistry Award for Young Scientists from TUBITAK (Turkish National Scientific and Technological Research Council)


What is the American Academy of Sciences?


The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research. The NAS is committed to furthering science in America, and its members are active contributors to the international scientific community. Approximately 500 current and deceased members of the NAS have won Nobel Prizes, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, founded in 1914, is today one of the premier international journals publishing the results of original research.


The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM, formerly the Institute of Medicine) -- were founded under the NAS charter in 1964 and 1970, respectively. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.  The National Academies' service to the government has become so essential that Congress and the White House have issued legislation and executive orders over the years that reaffirm its unique role.


What is Molecular biology?


Molecular biology is the study of biology at a molecular level.
The field overlaps with other areas of biology and chemistry, particularly genetics and biochemistry.

Molecular biology chiefly concerns itself with understanding the interactions between the various systems of a cell, including the interrelationship of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis and learning how these interactions are regulated.
Researchers in molecular biology use specific techniques native to molecular biology, but increasingly combine these with techniques and ideas from genetics and biochemistry.
There is not a hard-line between these disciplines as there once was.

Molecular biology is the study of molecular underpinnings of the process of replication, transcription, and translation of the genetic material.
The central dogma of molecular biology where genetic material is transcribed into RNA and then translated into protein, despite being an oversimplified picture of molecular biology, still provides a good starting point for understanding the field.

Much of the work in molecular biology is quantitative, and recently much work has been done at the interface of molecular biology and computer science in bioinformatics and computational biology.
As of the early 2000s, the study of gene structure and function, molecular genetics, has been amongst the most prominent sub-field of molecular biology.


Professor Bahar Idea about personalized medicine


This is where personalized medicine comes into play. Personalized medicine or precision medicine is an increasingly significant approach. In this new approach, there is no ‘disease’; there is ‘patient’.  The goal is to develop treatments based on the patient’s genetic structure. Based on your genetic structure, you respond differently to different medications. Therefore, treatment methods must be developed and administered based on your genetic properties and how those properties will respond to medications rather than sticking to broad-spectrum (and with side effects) medications and treatments. In the near future, significant developments are expected. And of course, ‘computational biology/genetics’ is one of the fundamental sciences that play a significant role in these developments.


Prof. is working on Parkinson's medicine and fight against drug addiction?

Besides basic data and information, the questions we focus on in our studies include: “How does the brain work? Which signals or stimulants make communication of the central nervous system more effective or less effective? What kind of stimulants can we use to normalize the operation of the brain? With which medication can we streamline the flow of dopamine carriers or receptors during dopamine transmission which is the foundation of Parkinson’s disease?”
We approach studies regarding drug addiction similarly. At the root of addiction is the defect in dopamine transmission. We have been working on these subjects for the past 5-6 years. We have discovered many ‘potential drugs. We share our findings with clinical research specialists, and they conduct experiments similar to the ones I have mentioned before. There are new discoveries and publications being released almost every day. In approximately 10 years, we have published dozens of papers. We had demonstrated that many potential drugs are effective in mice. However, the go-to-market for a new drug takes about 30 years on average. Therefore, I cannot yet say ‘We discovered this drug’. But I can say that we are contributing to the revelation of causality on a molecular level and development of rational treatment methods.