Two Turkish women among ‘Ten Outstanding Young Persons’
Ece Emre – ISTANBUL
The Junior Chamber International (JCI), which is a global network for young professionals and entrepreneurs in their 20’s and 30’s, has selected two Turkish women to add to their list of “Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World.”
Gözde Durmuş, 33, and Duygu Yılmaz, 31, will receive their awards during the JCI Awards Ceremony on Nov. 7 in Tallinn, Estonia.
Durmuş is currently an assistant professor of radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. She did her undergraduate degree at the Ankara-based Middle East Technical University’s department of molecular biology and genetics, her master’s at Boston University and her PhD training at Brown University.
Durmuş’s research in the field of antibiotic-resistant infections has made a broad impact on the medical industry for both doctors and patients, according to press statement released by the JCI. “Her innovative work continues to make an impact on the future of engineering and medical devices,” said the statement.
“Techniques used in the early diagnosis and treatment of many health problems are unfortunately currently not enough. For example, in this technology era, in which we live with smartphones, most of the hospitals in the world are still using old analysis methods. My aim is to develop new technologies that are simple, cheap and can be accessed by everyone for big health problems,” Durmuş told daily Hürriyet in an interview.
A group of scientists at Stanford University, including Durmuş, devised a disease-diagnosing microchip. The innovation can analyze cells for research and clinical applications. “The really surprising thing about it is that production only takes 20 minutes,” said Durmuş.
“Also, it [the microchip] can determine the sensitivity of cancer cells to medications. This innovation will make the early diagnosis of cancer as well as the use of patient-specific medication possible,” she said.
Duygu Yılmaz is another honoree of the JCI Awards. Pursuing a career in biological engineering, she launched Biolive in 2016, a company that develops the technology to recycle waste products from olive oil products into biodegradable plastic products.
“Driven by her mission to protect our environment, Yılmaz provides awareness on matters of good health and well-being. Her studies are making it possible to develop an alternative material that can lead to eliminating plastic waste and bettering our planet,” said a statement issued by the JCI.
Yılmaz told daily Hürriyet that no one had initially believed in her or her two partners when they said they were working to come up with a way to turn olive seeds into environmentally-friendly bioplastics.
“But we worked for years; we have received investments and then became a company. The biggest advantage of our products is that as environmental friendly products, they disappear in nature in one year and do not put the lives of Earth and sea living beans in danger,” she said.
Each year, JCI honors ten outstanding young people under the age of 40. Through innovative actions, extraordinary achievement and dedication to serving others, the 2019 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World Honorees create sustainable impact in their communities across the globe.
Along with the final judging panel, JCI members and active citizens around the world voted online to select the 2019 JCI Honorees.
The final judging panel was comprised of 2019 JCI President Alexandar Tio; singer, songwriter and co-founder of E.P.I.C JCI Ambassador Tennille Amor; actor, producer and founder of Koyamada International Foundation, Shin Koyamada and the Global Youth Empowerment Fund Board Chair, Anthony Parkes.
After nearly 61,876 votes were cast and the judging panel reviewed the top 20 finalists, 10 young active citizens have been selected to receive this honor for exceptional service, creativity and the positive change they have created.