Elvan Böke, PhD
Elvan Böke studied Molecular Biology & Genetics for her undergraduate degree at the Middle East Technical University (METU/ODTU) in her native Turkey and was the valedictorian of her graduating class of 2008. She earned her PhD at Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute (CRUK-MI) where she worked with Iain Hagan using yeast as a model system to understand aspects of mitotic exit. She then moved to Tim Mitchison's lab at Harvard Medical School for her postdoctoral studies on the organization of the cytoplasm in oocytes, female germ cells that become eggs. In 2017, Elvan started her own lab at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona. Elvan is an EMBO Young Investigator (2021) and received two consecutive European Research Council (ERC) Grants (Starting in 2017 and Consolidator in 2022).
Elvan’s lab focuses on one of the biggest problems developed nations are facing in 21st century: late-stage motherhood, and associated fertility problems. The decrease in fertility rates is leading to a population decline in the majority of the developed nations from Japan to Spain, which will have unprecedented consequences for our societies in the near future. Poor oocyte quality accounts for the majority of female fertility problems, however, we know little about how oocytes can remain healthy for many years or why their health eventually declines with advanced age. World-wide data show that more than 25% of female fertility problems are unexplained, pointing to a huge gap in our understanding of female reproduction. Elvan’s lab strives to help fill this gap by studying the mechanisms through which oocytes evade ageing for decades, and why these strategies eventually fail with advanced maternal age.