TA Spotlight – Busra Turgu

Busra Turgu
Photo source: Busra Turgu

I always wanted to be a scientist, to understand the mechanism of diseases and find a new treatment since I was a kid. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Biology at ODTU in Ankara, Turkey where I am from. I also did a minor degree in Department of Chemistry during my bachelors. During this time, I specialized in Cell & Molecular Biology and Tumor Biology.

I did my master’s degree in Biology at LMU in Munich, Germany. For my master’s thesis, I worked on whole proteome microarrays for prediction and early diagnosis of gastric cancer at German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany. Afterwards, I joined Dr. Poul Sorensen’s Lab at BC Cancer Research Centre, doing my PhD in Molecular Oncology, Faculty of Medicine at UBC. I am working on the role of a tumor-suppressor gene called HACE1 on major signalling pathways in the cell in Wilms tumors and lung cancer.

I have TA’d BIO 200 5-6 times, and I’ve also TA’d BIOL 335, BIOL 112 and BIOL 111. I love teaching BIOL 200, as it can be seen from the number of times I have been a TA in this course. 😀

What do you most enjoy about being a TA?

I love the interaction with the students, sharing my enthusiasm and knowledge. I love to make learning fun for them, to see the moment they actually enjoy learning and see the spark in them out of their curiosity towards science. I can say teaching is also my fun time during the week because it is a unique opportunity to interact with bright minds, enjoy science and step away from my lab work and PhD stress. Although I definitely prefer to teach in person, I still love to teach in the online setting and keep that interaction. Everybody is doing their best, and hopefully we will be back to teaching in person someday in the near future.

What has been an interesting outcome of your TA experience?

Receiving most wonderful letters from students after the semester is over. To hear that I was able to make the tutorials fun, which made them more motivated, and that they did very well and became enthusiastic in a topic they weren’t interested in before.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have two dogs so I am a regular at dog beaches. 😀 I love kayaking, swimming, visiting islands, traveling or hiking with my dogs! I also like to paint and do clay work in my spare time.

What is a fun fact about you that people may not know?

I have listened to heavy metal music since high school and find it very soothing. 😀 It does help me focus while working or studying.

What are your plans following graduation?

I would like to continue doing research in a post-doc position with teaching opportunities. I really would like to make sure that I can also continue teaching because it gives me joy and is such a nice fun experience.

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