Asst. Prof. Urartu Şeker from Bilkent University’s National Nanotechnology Research Center (UNAM) has been awarded funding for his project, “Design of a Probiotic Bacterial Strain Producing Human Milk Oligosaccharide with a Synthetic Biology Approach for Functional Food Applications.” The project comes as a result of the 1003-Agricultural Research Joint Call, a collaborative effort between the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies (initia).
Dr. Şeker and his research team aim to apply synthetic biology methods to develop a probiotic bacterium capable of producing milk oligosaccharides with customized biological properties. Using synthetic biology allows for the modification of genetic material in living organisms to achieve predetermined traits by customizing the genetic codes of the probiotic bacteria. The objective of the project is to enable these bacteria, which are also naturally found in breast milk, to produce oligosaccharides that are beneficial to human health, particularly intestinal health. In essence, the goal is to create a functional food that is structurally and nutritionally equivalent to breast milk.