Tugce Paksoy, 16, a German high school senior has been chosen for a full scholarship to attend the Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) program. The program, which is one of the most prestigious in the world, is sponsored and hosted by Yale University and is targeted at outstanding high school students across the globe. Paksoy was one of only two students from Germany being chosen to attend the program.
YYGS was founded 14 years ago as a pre-college summer program and continues to educate international and American students and exposes students to global issues. This summer, due to overwhelming interest in STEM subjects and entrepreneurship, YYGS ran six distinct sessions: Politics, Law, and Economics; International Affairs and Security; Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship; Applied Science & Engineering; Biological & Biomedical Science; and Sustainability, Energy, & Environment.
“I am glad that I got into my first choice session that the program offered, the Biological and Biomedical Science session, which is a field I have been working on for the past two years, she recounts. After the daily lectures and seminars – whether on Malaria and Philanthrocapitalism, the global AIDS epidemic, Alzheimer’s disease or leadership in global health, we were placed in groups where we debated the topic for the day. Occasionally, I was able to have lunch with a few of the professors to discuss an issue.”
“Attending the YYGS program was definitely a once in a life time experience that I will never forget and I can genuinely say that my time at Yale helped me to strengthen my career focus in molecular medicine and connect with other passionate young minds“.
Students who participate in the program often go on to attend very selective colleges and universities, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Cambridge, Oxford. For the last four semesters Paksoy has been a dual enrollment student taking chemistry classes, in particular biochemistry and organic chemistry, at the University of Cologne in conjunction with her regular schooling at Heinrich-Mann-Gymnasium. Moreover, at the Institute of Molecular Neurophysiology, University of Cologne she did research on voltage-gated calcium channels and their molecular properties including their structural and functional features.
She is currently doing research on inflammation dependent degradation of calcium binding proteins in axons with principal investigator Yüksel Korkmaz at the Institute of Neuroanatomy, University of Cologne. “Inflammation dependent degradation of calcium binding proteins is a project that I have worked on over a year now, using immunohistochemical methods to identify protein localizations in non-inflamed and inflamed free floating sections of human tissues. I will publish my first research paper this fall with two other scientists, showing how inflammation affect the calcium binding protein parvalbumin that regulates calcium buffers in the cell. It is great to gain more experience in the lab and learn new research methods. Every experiment, the ones that work and especially the ones that don’t, help me move forward.“
The straight-A student has skipped 8th grade and is currently ranked No. 1 in her class. She was also offered a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School for next year where she will work on molecular biological mechanisms of the protein biosynthesis and the dysregulation of mRNA translation in disease states. With an interdisciplinary spirit, Paksoy wishes to be part of the neuroscience community and contribute to the development of new medical treatments and vaccines. Therefore, she will apply to Harvard with the aim to become a neurosurgeon. She hopes to advance our current understanding in neurology and to advocate for the lives of adversely affected people.