Asst. Prof. Halil I. Okur of the Department of Chemistry and UNAM has been awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Individual Fellowship grant for two years. The MSCA program, an initiative of the European Commission, provides grants for all stages of researchers’ careers and encourages transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. This is the ninth such grant awarded to a researcher at Bilkent.
The main focus of Dr. Okur’s current research is to elucidate chemical processes occurring at biological surfaces by probing the adjacent interfacial water molecules using nonlinear optical techniques. While the leading scientific approach to investigating biological surfaces has been incorporating dye molecules to probe their optical response, Dr. Okur has adapted an alternative, noninvasive approach: employing water molecules as a probe to report on the chemical processes at these biosurfaces. The underlying principle is that biological surfaces, being naturally bathed in aqueous solutions, are always in contact with the adjacent water molecules; such a method can thus be applied to numerous biosurfaces.