Science is at the core of what renegade.bio does, and Tüzün Güvener, PhD, plays a key role as the R+D Lead for the laboratory team based at our location in Oakland, California (Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute). Back in March 2020 it was evident that testing was going to be a bottleneck and the team came together to provide faster, more accurate testing solutions that are accessible to all. Tüzün joined, with other team members who met at IndieBio, as an accomplished scientist with a deep knowledge of pathogens, microbial physiology and genetics and molecular biology techniques.
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, and an alumnus of Istanbul University, Tüzün came to the US in the ‘90s for a graduate program in microbiology. After completing her PhD at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, she subsequently completed postdoctoral training and served as a research scientist in several academic laboratories in Iowa, Washington, and Wyoming before moving to the University of California at Berkeley.
“I’ve always had a strong interest in understanding cellular processes at the molecular level. My focus was to develop skills in strain engineering, molecular and microbiological methods to gain a mechanistic understanding of cellular processes,” she notes. Tüzün’s research interests include gene expression, small molecule metabolism, signaling pathways, and microbial interactions in natural communities. She has a track record of publications in academic research and biotech R+D research.
Since moving to the Bay Area, the birthplace of innovation and entrepreneurship, Tüzün was attracted to new opportunities in application and commercialization of scientific work aiming to bring solutions to important problems that benefit people and the environment. “I was hearing about creativity and innovative work in the start-up environment which I was attracted to. And, it is extremely important to apply scientific methods and rigor for successful product development.”
Molecular biology and microbiology are core areas of expertise and when renegade.bio was forming, she saw a wonderful opportunity to apply her knowledge in developing molecular assays and find a testing solution for the current pandemic. “There are interesting problems in assay development. Troubleshooting is so important, utilizing good scientific methods to see what goes wrong, to maximize our assays for improved sensitivity and accuracy. This is the type of work we are doing at renegade.bio.”
Tüzün has always valued the mentorship she received from scientific mentors, and has a keen interest in advancing women in science. “I’m so appreciative of the mentorship I’ve received and the significant role each mentor has played in providing me opportunities to advance my career. As part of giving back to my community, I want to help, in many ways, other women scientists as my mentors have helped me.”
As a scientific leader and mentor, Tüzün plays a valuable role in expanding testing capacity for renegade.bio, facilitating more accessibility to testing for those that need it—everyone!