The focus of Ayla ’s doctoral research was the molecular analysis of the GABAA receptors (GABAA Rs), the major sites for brain inhibition. By the use of diverse techniques such as genetic engineering, bioinformatics, cell biology and microscopy, she specified molecular domains of the GABAA Rs receptor subunits, likely to be involved in the receptor’s localization.
This was particularly interesting since the precise inhibitory events were known to play a role in tuning the oscillatory network activity by synchronizing the spikes of pyramidal neurons, for example. As the neuronal synchronization is critical for various cognitive functions such as sensory integration and attention, it was during her doctorate that Ayla has developed an interest in the analysis of mental phenomena in different levels of complexity. Eventually, this and other experiences have led her to develop research interests, cutting across the borders of molecular neuroscience.
Consequently, as a neurobiologist Ayla’s ongoing research has a focus on molecular neuroscience(1,2,3) but she has also maintained research and academic activities related to conceptual and methodological issues in the context of “genes, brains and behavior”. This is well reflected by her studies related to the identification of interdisciplinary research methodologies in psychiatry(4,5,6).
In the near future, Ayla is willing to have the chance to work and collaborate on the societal implications of emerging developments in molecular biology, neuroscience, technology and industrialization. The special topics include but not limited to:
- Genes brains and behavior:
- Genome editing: the attempted influence on human genome (and mind), in the light of the possible impact of genome editing technologies.
- Epigenetics: Feminization by endocrine disrupting chemicals combined with social transformations: A war on men?
- Moral responsibility and free will: examining the existing assumptions in light of new developments.
- Science and democracy
- Sustainable development, democracy and biotechnology: Fostering (youth) (bio) technology entrepreneurship as a weapon to fight against the social injustice.
- Other topics related to the societal implications of emerging developments in molecular biology, neuroscience, technology and industrialization
See also: https://www.draylaarslan.com/research
1 Oflaz FE, Son ÇD, Arslan A. Oligomerization and cell surface expression of recombinant GABAA receptors tagged in the δ subunit. J Integr Neurosci. 2019 Dec 30;18(4):341-350.
2 Arslan A, von Engelhardt J, Wisden W. Cytoplasmic domain of δ subunit is important for the extra-synaptic targeting of GABAA receptor subtypes. J Integr Neurosci. 2014 Dec;13(4):617-31.
3 Goetz, T., Arslan, A., Wisden, W., & Wulff, P. (2007). GABA(A) receptors: structure and function in the basal ganglia. Progress in brain research, 160, 21–41. doi:10.1016/S0079-6123(06)60003-4
4 Arslan A. Genes, brains, and behavior: imaging genetics for neuropsychiatric disorders. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2015;27(2):81-92.
5 Arslan A. Imaging genetics of schizophrenia in the post-GWAS era. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Jan 3;80(Pt B):155-165.
6 Arslan A. Mapping the Schizophrenia Genes by Neuroimaging: The Opportunities and the Challenges. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jan 11;19(1).