31 Facts About Aziz Sancar


Aziz Sancar was born on 8September 1946 and is a Turkish molecular biologist specializing in DNA repair, cell cycle checkpoints, and circadian clock.


Aziz Sancar has made contributions on photolyase and nucleotide excision repair in bacteria that have changed his field.


Aziz Sancar was born on 8 September 1946 to a lower-middle-class arab family in the Savur district of Mardin Province, southeastern Turkey.


Aziz Sancar's oldest brother Kenan Sancar is a retired brigadier general in the Turkish Armed Forces.


Aziz Sancar is the second cousin of the politician Mithat Sancar, who is a member of parliament from and chairman of HDP.


Aziz Sancar's parents were uneducated; however, they put great emphasis on his education.


Aziz Sancar was educated by idealistic teachers who received their education in the Village Institutes, he later stated that this was a great inspiration to him.

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Aziz Sancar wanted to study chemistry whilst at high school, but was persuaded to study medicine after five of his classmates got into medicine along with him.


However, when asked about his origins, Aziz Sancar only underlined his Turkish nationality.


Still, his cousin, Mithat Aziz Sancar, mentioned that their family is of Arab origins.


Aziz Sancar received his primary education near his hometown of Savur.


Aziz Sancar then completed his MD degree in Istanbul University of Turkey in 1969 and completed his PhD degree on the photoreactivating enzyme of E coli in 1977 at the University of Texas at Dallas in the laboratory of Claud Stan Rupert, now Professor Emeritus.


Aziz Sancar is an honorary member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Aziz Sancar then won a scholarship from TUBITAK to pursue further education in biochemistry at Johns Hopkins University, but returned to Savur in 1973 as a doctor after spending 1.5 years there due to having social difficulties and inability to adapt to the American way of life.


Aziz Sancar only spoke French when he arrived in the US, but learned English during his education at Johns Hopkins.


Aziz Sancar was accepted and completed his PhD in molecular biology there.


Aziz Sancar's interest had been stimulated by the recovery of bacteria, which had been exposed to deadly amounts of ultraviolet radiation, upon their illumination with blue light.


Aziz Sancar has stated that his accent of English was detrimental to his career as a lecturer.


At Chapel Hill, Aziz Sancar discovered the following steps of nucleotide excision repair in bacteria and worked on the more complex version of this repair mechanism in humans.


Aziz Sancar was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2005 as the first Turkish-American member.


Aziz Sancar is the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Aziz Sancar is married to Gwen Boles Sancar, who graduated the same year and who is a professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Aziz Sancar is married to Gwen Boles Aziz Sancar, with whom he met during his PhD in Dallas, where she was studying molecular biology.


Aziz Sancar said he was "disturbed by some of the questions he received," particularly by questions about his ethnic background.


Aziz Sancar said that his brother's Nobel Prize was an honor for all of Turkey, including the Kurds.

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On September 26,2021, Aziz Sancar was the honorary guest of the Turkic Council on occasion of the meeting of the foreign secretaries from member states and has given a presentation titled "Knowledge and the National Awakening of the Turkic World", as announced by Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu.


Aziz Sancar was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul L Modrich for their mechanistic studies of DNA repair.


Aziz Sancar was granted Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in Molecular Biophysics in 1984.


Aziz Sancar is the second Turkish Nobel laureate after Orhan Pamuk, who is an alumnus of Istanbul University.


Aziz Sancar donated his original Nobel Prize golden medal and certificate to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, with a presidential ceremony on 19 May 2016, which is the 97th anniversary of Ataturk initiating the Turkish War of Independence.


Aziz Sancar delivered a replica of his Nobel medal and certificate to Istanbul University, from which he earned his MD.