Dr. Belkaya obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Middle East Technical University, Ankara in 2007 and his Master’s degree in Biological Sciences and Bioengineering under supervision of Prof. Batu Erman at Sabanci University, Istanbul in 2009. Between 2009 and 2014, he completed his PhD training in Immunology in the laboratory of Prof. Nicolai van Oers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, USA. Between 2014 and 2019, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Jean-Laurent Casanova at the Rockefeller University in New York, USA.
Dr. Belkaya has received numerous prestigious awards during his graduate studies including Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award (2015), American Heart Association Postdoctoral Scholarship (2016), Jeffrey Modell Foundation Specific Defect Research Grant Award (2017), and American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Foundation Clinical and Translational Research Fellowship (2018). He is also recipient of TUBITAK’s 2232 International Fellowship for Outstanding Researchers (2020), EMBO Installation Grant (2021), Science Academy’s Young Scientist (BAGEP) Award (2021), and Isil Berat Barlan Award in Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases Research (2021). Dr. Belkaya also worked as an adjunct professor at Fordham College at Lincoln Center in New York City. As extracurricular activities, Dr. Belkaya is interested in outdoor recreation, nature documentaries and racket sports.
We aim to discover novel genetic and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying rare life-threatening diseases of childhood. Our research program combines genome-wide approaches and detailed mechanistic studies. Candidate disease-causing variations in such patients are discovered by whole exome sequencing and functionally investigated in vitro and ex vivo, characterizing the impact of mutant alleles in patients’ cells and relevant cell lines by various biochemical and cellular assays. In parallel, in vitro disease models are established utilizing virus infections, co-culture systems and gene-editing technologies such as RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9.
Tepe, Z. G., Yazıcı, Y. Y., Tank, U., Köse, L. I., Özer, M., Aytekin, C., & Belkaya, S. (2022). Inherited IRAK-4 Deficiency in Acute Human Herpesvirus-6 Encephalitis. Journal of clinical immunology, 1–14. Advance online publication.
Béziat, V., Rapaport, F., Hu, J., Titeux, M., Bonnet des Claustres, M., Bourgey, M., Griffin, H., Bandet, É., Ma, C. S., Sherkat, R., Rokni-Zadeh, H., Louis, D. M., Changi-Ashtiani, M., Delmonte, O. M., Fukushima, T., Habib, T., Guennoun, A., Khan, T., Bender, N., Rahman, M., Belkaya, S. … Casanova, J. L. (2021). Humans with inherited T cell CD28 deficiency are susceptible to skin papillomaviruses but are otherwise healthy. Cell, 184(14), 3812–3828.e30.
Belkaya, S., Michailidis, E., Korol, C. B., Kabbani, M., Cobat, A., Bastard, P., Lee, Y. S., Hernandez, N., Drutman, S., de Jong, Y. P., Vivier, E., Bruneau, J., Béziat, V., Boisson, B., Lorenzo-Diaz, L., Boucherit, S., Sebagh, M., Jacquemin, E., Emile, J. F., Abel, L., … Casanova, J. L. (2019). Inherited IL-18BP deficiency in human fulminant viral hepatitis. The Journal of experimental medicine, 216(8), 1777–1790.
Belkaya, S., Kontorovich, A. R., Byun, M., Mulero-Navarro, S., Bajolle, F., Cobat, A., Josowitz, R., Itan, Y., Quint, R., Lorenzo, L., Boucherit, S., Stoven, C., Di Filippo, S., Abel, L., Zhang, S. Y., Bonnet, D., Gelb, B. D., & Casanova, J. L. (2017). Autosomal Recessive Cardiomyopathy Presenting as Acute Myocarditis. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 69(13), 1653–1665.