Aziz Sancar, a Turkish scientist working in the United States and co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was honored in Turkey on Thursday with a new campus complex named after him in the capital Ankara. Sancar, for his part, pledged to share his discovery in cancer research with his native country.
Professor Sancar was in Turkey to attend the inauguration of Aziz Sancar Education Campus in the capital Ankara, a complex which hosts a nursery school, a science high school and a science and arts center catering to high achieving students. The complex, which will house nearly 500 students, is furnished with science workshops, a huge library, labs and classes dedicated to biochemistry, mechatronics, archaeology, creativity and design.
Sancar has been a highly revered name in Turkey since his 2015 win. Several schools are named after him across the country while the government provides research grants to future scientists through its Aziz Sancar Scholarship Program.
The professor spoke to Anadolu Agency (AA) on Thursday before attending the opening of the complex and said he has made a "very exciting" discovery in cancer research.
"This study is about DNA repair and it is a new method. I will be able to transfer the new method to Turkey within a year," he said. The professor said he was continuing the work that got him the Nobel prize. "We are researching the effect of a biological clock on cancer through mapping (genes). The circadian clock, we are working on, is used on the timing of the impact of cancer-stricken tissues on healthy tissues and it helps us to optimize the treatment method by better scheduling of cancer treatment," he said.
Turkey, which seeks to curtail dependence on abroad technology, hopes research grants will keep more scientists in the country. Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said at the inauguration ceremony of the Aziz Sancar campus that they have so far received 217 applications for post-doctoral studies research grants bearing the name of Sancar. "Today's youth are more eager in the field of technology and it is our mandate to provide them a sustainable environment to help them expand their horizons," Varank said.
The minister said the campus would not only serve the students of the school but it would be open to all the young people interested in research and development. The minister added that professor Sancar accomplished so much thanks to the Turkish education system and his endeavor. He emphasized that Turkey's education quality has improved significantly since Sancar's early years in Turkey. "I am assured that the youth will continue on the path of Aziz Sancar," he added.