Dilek Colak, PhD
Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College
2011 NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellow Alumna
PhD, Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich, Germany
Postdoctoral Training, Weill Cornell Medical College
Dr. Colak aimed to model Fragile X Sydrome (FXS), the most frequently inherited form of mental retardation, in stem cells in order to explore how the disease manifests in humans. Human stem cells are instrumental for this particular syndrome because the protein responsible for FXS is not detectable in regular cultured cells. In addition, FXS is unique to humans and therefore, scientists cannot use animals to study it. Dr. Colak was able to locate a small molecule that prevents the silencing of the FXS gene, in theory, eliminating FXS, and has expanded her efforts to studying other neurological disorders in her independent position. She completed her postdoctoral studies at Weill Cornell in Dr. Samie Jaffrey’s lab.