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Zeki Ilkan

Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Cardiovascular Pharmacology


Dr Zeki Ilkan graduated from Imperial College London with a BSc in Biochemistry in 2011, and an MRes in Biomedical Research in 2013 with distinction. He was then awarded a Medical Research Council Doctoral Training Studentship to pursue a PhD in cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology at the University of Leicester. Following the completion of his PhD in 2017, Zeki joined the Cardiovascular Research Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA, as a postdoctoral research fellow to study cardiac arrhythmia mechanisms. In 2019, he joined the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford as a British Heart Foundation-funded postdoctoral scholar to continue his studies in ion channel electrophysiology in Dr Paolo Tammaro's laboratory.


The focus of my career has been to understand the molecular pathophysiology of the cardiovascular system. During my doctoral studies, I discovered that human platelets express mechanosensitive Piezo1 cation channels which can sense different levels of shear stress in the circulation and respond by elevating intracellular levels of calcium. In pathological conditions, this can significantly increase the possibility of spontaneous platelet activation. This discovery indicated that this channel could be a potential drug target in the treatment of thrombosis and stroke. In my postdoctoral work, I have been continuing my studies on the roles of key ion channels in both cardiac arrhythmias and vascular disorders using high resolution optical mapping and patch-clamp techniques. Currently, I am investigating the role of specific vascular ion channels in the regulation of circulation, and their therapeutic potential in circulatory disorders.