Interview with Professor Dr. Tanil Kocagoz from Acibadem University on the sidelines of the TUMS 21st International Virtual Congress of Microbiology
Prof. Tanil Kocagoz, M.D., Ph.D., Head of the Department of Medical Biotechnology at Acibadem University
One of the prominent specialists in the field, who attended the conference as a lecturer, was Professor Kocagoz of Acibadem University.
Besides having a PhD in Clinical Microbiology and Biochemistry from California, Dr. Kocagoz is also a physician and Infectious Disease specialist. In his lecture, Professor Kocagoz introduced several culture methods for rapid detection of Mycobacteria. After the congress, he attended in an exclusive interview with us and answered the following questions:
Q: You have a product called the TK system which is a fast system for the rapid cultivation of Mycobacterium. Given that the growth rate has increased, is this test more sensitive than previous methods?
A: TK system isolates usually more mycobacteria from clinical samples due to low contamination rate, which is 0.5% compared to 5% in LJ medium. This is because TK- SLC medium contains selective antimicrobials.
Q: Please give us some explanation about the advantages of your TK system for diagnosis of Tuberculosis in the laboratory in compare with other colorimetric detection methods.
A: TK-SLC medium used for isolation and TK-Anti TB PNB kit used for drug susceptibility testing and M. tb complex – MOTT differentiation are all ready to use. They do not require addition of OADC nutrient supplement and antimicrobial selective drugs.
Other advantages include the following:
Low contamination rate,
It can be monitored both visually and automated instrument
Low cost compared to other rapid culture systems.
Q: We know that you have got WHO endorsement for your product; Would you please explain about the current usage of this medium in Turkey? What about other countries?
A: Several hospitals use our original Decontamination Concentration Kits and TK Culture System in Turkey. Also, some laboratories in Germany have been using TK Media for four years.
Q: You have also manufactured other colormetric media for detection of Gram-negative bacteria. Please update us on the marketing of your products at the region?
A: Quicolor is a medium that provides antibiotic susceptibility results in 4 to 6 hours. It can be used for drug susceptibility testing of Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococci and Non-Fermentative Gram Negative Bacilli.
Q: You are a physician (MD), Microbiologist (PhD) and Biochemist; would you like to tell us about the other fields that you are interested in or have specialty in and also other accomplishments?
A: I have established the Department of Medical Biotechnology in my University which gives education to post graduate students. I have good knowledge of astronomy. I am the consultant of Astronomy Club in our university.
Q: You were very successful in merging the basic sciences with clinical ones. What is your recommendations and suggestions to our medical students and the post graduate students who are studying for MSc and PhD degrees? Is it very hard for you to split them from each other mentally?
A: Do not be a doctor working routinely. Always use your imagination to develop better solutions to health problems. There are many simple solutions not expensive to develop waiting out there to be invented.
Q: Since joining Acibadem University, 10 years ago, one of your priorities has been to nurture university-industry partnerships. What progress has been made in this regard?
A: We have managed to make a partnership with a Turkish drug company and managed to produce 5 biosimilar monoclonal antibody drugs to which Turkey pays more than 1 billion dollars every year to import these drugs. We have established an incubation center where currently more than one hundred start-up companies working together with university staff.
Q: Are you still keeping your position as Vice Dean of University?
A: I resigned from Vice Dean position 4 years ago after having this responsibility for 8 years, to establish department of Medical Biotechnology. I am the head of this department now as well as Medical Microbiology.
Q: You also have experience as an entrepreneur; having founded TIBO in 2005, could you share that experience with us?
A: It was hard to be an entrepreneur and a scientist at the same time. It took me almost 20 years to learn how to be an entrepreneur. I believe young entrepreneurs today are lucky to have the opportunity to get education about entrepreneurship. We give this kind of training to start-up companies in our Incubation Center.
Q: The biotech industry is still in its early stages. What potentials do Turkey have for developing original drugs?
A: I believe there is a big potential especially for developing biological drugs.
Q: What is your message for our international audience?
A: Collaboration in science and research may be the key to get rid off the borders between countries.
The 21st International Virtual Congress of Microbiology of Iran was co-hosted by TUMS and some other educational and research institutes. To discover more about the congress, please see the following link: