Turkish scientist shortlisted for Newton Fund’s Chair’s Prize 

Turkish scientist shortlisted for Newton Fund’s Chair’s Prize 

Turkish scientist shortlisted for Newton Fund’s Chair’s Prize

An associate professor from the Sabancı University of Istanbul has been shortlisted for the Chair’s Award of Newton Prize, one of the leading funds of Britain, for her project that improves outcomes for breast cancer patients by training surgeons in a technique that removes tumors while retaining healthy tissue.

If Newton Prize selects her project, Özge Akbulut will be funded with 500,000 Pounds ($671,000 – 5 million Turkish Liras). 

“Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women. Our breast models teach surgeons breast protecting techniques,” said Akbulut to daily Milliyet, explaining about the thought behind the project and forming it.

“Due to pandemic, across the globe, all the surgeons started online training and all the face-to-face teachings were canceled. So, we started thinking about the ways on how we can combine online and face-to-face training and we set up the project.”

According to the project, while surgeons work on the breast models, their eye and hand movements will be screened and, in this way, their performances in training surgery can be evaluated.

“Such training has never been done. With this system, surgeons anywhere in the world can be trained. We will also form a platform where all the surgeons who get the training will be able to chat with each other and ask questions.”

Akbulut added that she has worked with leading British experts like Sue Down from East Anglia University, Mel McKendrick from Heriot-Watt University and officials from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

“We want everyone to reach surgical education,” said Akbulut, depicting her project, which is also supported by the British Association of Breast Surgery.

Akbulut, who is also the founder of Surgitate, a company that produces synthetic tissue and organ models for surgical simulation platforms, said she can actualize the project in one and a half years. 

“The project is based on breast models. But if the results come out as we expect, then we can work on models for other organs.”

Newton Prize will announce the winner of the Chair’s Award in November.

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