My main research interests revolve around the way the brain processes crucial sensory cues that trigger complex social behaviors, such as empathy. Specifically, I study how the cortical responses to socially-relevant sensory signals change with experience to acquire their potency to drive social behavior. To address this question, I combine electrophysiological and behavioral methods with advanced computational techniques. In the Social Brain Lab, I mainly work on rodent models; however, I also address similar questions utilizing intracranial neural recordings in humans.
My scientific career started as an undergraduate researcher in the Psychobiology Lab, Bogazici University, Istanbul, under the supervision of Resit Canbeyli, implementing behavioral assays to investigate the relationship between lateralization and depression in rats. In 2011, I obtained my BA in Psychology and, one year later, started to work as a graduate researcher in the Neurobiology of Vocal Communication Lab, Rutgers University, New Jersey, under the supervision of David S. Vicario. Here, I conducted electrophysiological and behavioral experiments to examine the neural response profiles to socially-relevant vocal signals in higher-order auditory and vocal motor regions in the zebra finch brain. After obtaining my MS and PhD in Neuroscience in 2015 and 2018, respectively, I started to work as a post-doctoral researcher in the Social Brain Lab, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam.