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Didem Sarikaya

Graduate Student


I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, where I studied the effects of developmental constraint in the developing Drosophila sex combs. For my masters, I used the mouse model to look at the role of Notch signaling in placental cell differentiation, and have worked on generating an organ culture system for the placenta at McGill University in Montréal. After completing my masters and my duties as a mouse house "madam," I joined the Extavour lab to revisit my original love, evo-devo in Drosophilids.

For my thesis, I am studying the developmental mechanisms that alter ovariole number in Drosophilids, and how "organ size" is established. To further our understanding of how ecology influences ovariole number evolution, I am also investigating the development of the larval ovary in Hawaiian Drosophila species that occupy different ecological niches.

Additionally, I can be comfortably seated in small spaces, such as my elementary school desk or the back of a Jeep during fieldwork. Not that this has much to do with science, but I am quite proud of it.

Didem is a graduate student in the OEB Program, and holds a Postgraduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and a Doctoral Training Fellowship from the Fonds de la recherche en sante (FRSQ). She was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation to support her field work on Hawaiian Drosophilids (DEB-1209570). She defended her PhD thesis on December 12, 2014. Congratulations Didem!

Personal Web Page


Sarikaya, D.P. and Extavour, C.G. The Hippo pathway regulates homeostatic growth of stem cell niche precursors in the Drosophila ovary. PLoS Genetics 11(2): e1004962 (2015).

Sarikaya, D.P., Belay, A.A., Ahuja, A., Green, D.A., Dorta, A. and Extavour, C.G. The roles of cell size and cell number in determining ovariole number in Drosophila. Developmental Biology 363(1): 279-289 (2012).

Green, D.A.*, Sarikaya, D.P.* and Extavour, C.G. Counting in oogenesis. Cell and Tissue Research 344(2): 207-212 (2011). (* equal author contribution)

Sarikaya, D. P., and Jerome-Majewska, L.A. Notch1 and the activated NOTCH1 intracellular domain are expressed in differentiated trophoblast cells. Cell Biology International 35: 443-447 (2010).