Gokhan Unlu

Graduate Student
Cell and Developmental Biology
Light Hall
2215 Garland Avenue
Room / Suite
(615) 322-7559


B.Sc. in Molecular Biology & Genetics, 2009, Middle East Technical University

M.Sc. in Biology, 2011, Middle East Technical University

Ph.D. in Cell & Developmental Biology, 2018 (expected), Vanderbilt University


Research Description

My research interests include genetic control mechanisms of basic cellular functions during development of complex tissues. I currently work on trafficking of extracellular matrix proteins during cartilage development in zebrafish. My thesis project focuses on identification of novel factors regulating collagen secretion in chondrocytes using state-of-the-art genetic and cell biology techniques.

I am particularly interested in regulation of cargo-selective trafficking pathways. I have worked on transcriptional regulation of select COPII components by Creb3L2, a chondrocyte-enriched transcription factor. Activation of specific COPII components facilitate ER-to-Golgi transport of collagen during skeletal morphogenesis. Mutations in Creb3L2 target genes have been linked to debilitating skeletal malformations as a result of impaired collagen secretion.





I use a combination of genetic and cell biology techniques to study regulation of trafficking pathways and cargo-selection during development of complex tissues.

  • CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Transmission Electron Microscopy
  • FACS
  • RNA-seq
  • Microinjection into zebrafish embryos
  • Cryosectioning
  • Microtome Sectioning
  • Microangiography
  • Promoter activity assays
  • ChIP
  • Mammalian cell culture