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Turkey in SESAME & SESAME in Turkey: a “Physics Matters” Relationship by Prof. Zehra Sayers

By Christine Marie-Therese Darve posted 16 days ago


On Monday August 22 at 4 pm CET (10 am ET), join us us and Prof. Zehra Sayers to know why “Physics Matters” in the Relationship between Turkey and SESAME !



SESAME ( is an intergovernmental synchrotron radiation laboratory in the Middle East. It is established by member countries (Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Palestine, Pakistan and Turkey) from the region supported by observer countries from all over the world. Turkey, which does not have a history of close scientific cooperation in the Middle East, was one of the founding members of SESAME and has been an active partner, providing numerous scientists for various advisory committees, a steady financial support for its establishment and sustainability, and a steady stream of users carrying out successful experiments. It is also setting an example by being the first member to commit itself to building a beam-line/experimental end station on the SESAME storage ring. How did this happen? In this talk I will seek answers to the questions such as “What are the foundations of the special relationship between Turkey and SESAME?”, “Whether the Turkish experience can provide lessons for possible new members and, if so, in which ways?” and “Can the relationship be fostered to grow to be even stronger in the future regardless of internal turmoils in the country and/or in the international scene?”

Biography: Prof. Zehra Sayers Sabanci University,
Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Orhanli, Tuzla 34956 Istanbul, Turkey.

Zehra Sayers is a molecular biophysicist with research focus on synchrotron X-ray structure analysis of biological macromolecules, including chromatin, cytoskeletal proteins and more lately metal homeostasis and metal binding proteins from different organisms. She is also interested in implementation of modern pedagogical approaches for teaching interdisciplinary curricula. She completed her BSc in Physics, in Bogazici University, Turkey and her PhD in Biophysics, in the University of London, UK. She worked in the UK and Sweden and at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Hamburg Outstation, Germany, before joining Sabanci University (SU), Turkey, as a founding faculty member. Here she served as the Director of Foundation Development Program and as the interim President. After a sabbatical at the EMBL Hamburg Outstation, currently she continues research and teaching at Sabanci University as an emeritus professor. She has been the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the international synchrotron radiation facility project SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) between 2002 and 2018. Her scientific achievements and contributions to the realization of this project have been internationally recognized with the Rammal Award in 2017 and AAAS Science Diplomacy Award in 2019. She was included in the BBC list of 100 Most Inspiring and Influential Women of 2019. She is also an honorary member of the Science Academy of Turkey.