Gokhan is a staff scientist working with the Kovler Diabetes team since 2015. His work focuses on generating pancreatic islets from normal and patient stem cells to understand the biology of different forms of monogenic diabetes and cell replacement therapies.
Interviewed by: Anastasia Harris
A: What inspired you to become a scientist?
G: Curiosity, finding out how things work.
A: If you could be anything else, what would you be?
G: As a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, but NASA stopped responding after my second request.
A: What is the most important thing you have learned/discovered since starting at the University of Chicago?
G: The most important thing I learned is that failure is the field for success. I think it is important to not be afraid to be wrong.
A: What does a typical day in the lab look like for you?
G: I do a lot of maintenance of maturing stem cells because they require constant care. By using recent technology in stem cell research, we are trying to address the individual differences that factor into the treatment of monogenic diabetes. I also drink a lot of coffee.
A: What is your favorite hobby?
G: Baking different types of breads for my family, brewing beer to share, and wishing I had time to travel.
A: What advice do you have for students interested in science and research?
G: I would tell them a few things; do not be afraid to fail, challenge dogma, be patient, be open-minded, and follow their heart because they should enjoy what they do.