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Turkish Doctor's Work With Newborn Screening Will Help Her Home Country

Dr. Tijen Tanyalcin and Newborn Screening Laboratory Manager

Gary Hoffman.

MADISON, Wis. – A continent and ocean away from her homeland of Izmir, Turkey, Dr. Tijen Tanyalcin (pronounced Tee-jenn Tann-yall-gin) spent three weeks this August working with the staff of the WSLH Newborn Screening Laboratory.

"On behalf of the newborn screening staff, we really enjoyed having Dr Tanyalcin in our laboratory," said Gary Hoffman, the WSLH Newborn Screening Laboratory Manager.

"Her enthusiasm and dedication to screening newborns for metabolic diseases is most impressive. We really appreciate her compliments regarding our laboratory operation and  are excited about the possibilities of a long and rewarding collaboration with Dr. Tanyalcin's group in Turkey."

Both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Biochemistry, Tanyalcin traveled to the United States on August 1 to study the administration, science and processes of the WSLH's laboratory to, in her own words, "help save the babies of my country".

"There are a lot of sick babies in Turkey," she said. "Our country is not at the same level of development (as the U.S.). I would like to bring the Newborn Screening panel to Turkey.

"It was the right time to come here. It has only been three weeks, but it feels like three years. The wonderful, talented staff here has effectively delivered their knowledge that they have here in their hands. I greatly appreciate all of them."

A professor of Biochemistry at the Ege University Medical School, Tanyalcin also works in Newborn Screening and Metabolism in her own laboratory with her husband, Orcan. They have two children, a son, 19-year-old Ibrahim, and a daughter, 11-year-old Zeynet.

Through conferences in laboratory quality in Antwerp, Belgium, Tanyalcin met University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Sharon Ehrmeyer (Pathology and Laboratory Medicine), who with her husband Jerry, helped Tanyalcin contact the WSLH and stay here in Madison.

Ibrahim, a second-year university student in Turkey, also traveled with his mother to Wisconsin and worked with the staff of the UW's Molecular Biology and Genetics laboratory. The younger Tanyalcin hopes to return to the UW for school in the future.

Through her time in the NBS Laboratory, Tanyalcin credited the staff for their fast and reliable work, advanced equipment such as the Mass Spectrometer, the control methods, checking systems and blind controls that "catch all of the sick babies".

"Everyone has been so hospitable in sharing their knowledge to help me serve my country," she added.

After returning home, Tanyalcin plans to work on continuous collaborations with the WSLH on hemoglobinopathies, research experiments, publishing papers and developing new methods. She will also be sending samples from Turkey back to Madison for testing with the Mass Spectrometer.

During her final week at the laboratory, WSLH Director, Ron Laessig, Ph.D., also took her to the new UW Health Sciences Learning Center. She met with the Dean of the UW Medical School, Phillip Farrell, M.D., Ph.D., and brought patient samples from her country for mutation analysis of children with Cystic Fibrosis for the study of new mutations from the Turkish population.

"I am deeply impressed and congratulate Dean Farrell and the UW Medical School on their new facility."

The doctor and her son also enjoyed their time exploring the city and trying Wisconsin's beer and cheese. Ibrahim also learned to play golf with his new friends from the laboratory.

"Madison is very quiet, green, comfortable and friendly ... a calm city," Tanyalcin said. "You have big roads, big cars and big hearts."


Dr. Tanyalcin and her son, Ibrahim, wish to thank Gary Hoffman and the entire WSLH Newborn Screening staff of the WSLH, Dr. Ron Laessig, Dr. Sharon Ehrmeyer and her husband Jerry, the staff of the Molecular Biology and Genetics Laboratory and also Dean Phillip Farrell of the UW Medical School. They truly appreciated their time here in Madison, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and WSLH.

Photo Gallery of WSLH Staff and Dr. Tijen Tanyalcin:

Dr. Tijen Tanyalcin and the staff of the WSLH Newborn Screening Laboratory.





Written By: Jessica D. Burda, WSLH Public Affairs

Date: September 5, 2005

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