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Dr. Ozlem Dilek

 Assistant Professor |


Dr. Ozlem Dilek is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in the Division of Sciences and Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the District of Columbia. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. She completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry/Chemical Biology from State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton in 2009 under the direction of Prof. Susan L. Bane. In 2010, she won the prestigious ACS Zappert Award for outstanding Ph.D. Student and several other ASCB and EMBO national awards.

From 2009-2012, she completed her postdoctoral study at Cornell University, NY, and did her second collaborative postdoc at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and SUNY.  In 2013, Dr. Dilek joined the School of Medicine at Istanbul Altinbas University, Turkey, where she was tenured in 2017. She held and directed two research grants including Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey Career (TUBITAK) and European Cooperation of Science and Technology (COST) grants. She served as a COST Management Committee member representing Turkey.

From 2017-2019, Dr. Dilek served at Husson University in Maine as a faculty member and Director of the Biochemistry Program. From 2019-2020, she worked as an Assistant Professor in Chemistry at the University of St Joseph, Connecticut.

Dr. Dilek’s research focus is on the synthesis of novel fluorescent chemical probes for imaging of biomolecules in live cells, and development of new diagnostic click chemistry and bioconjugation strategies for oxidative stress imaging in cancer and inflammation. She holds more than 15 journal publications, many peer-reviewed book chapters, and one US patent. She also has presented her work at more than 30 international and national conferences. She serves as an active Ambassador of the American Society for Cell Biology.


Erkan H., Telci D., Dilek O., Bioorthogonal smart probe for fluorescent imaging of carbonyl moieties in live cells. Nature-Scientific Reports, 10, 7668, 2020

Dilek O., Progress on Fluorescent Probes: Promising Clinical and Biological Applications. Encyclopedia of Luminescence, 2018.

Dilek O., Bane SL., Turn on Fluorescent Probes for Selective Targeting of Aldehydes. Chemosensors, 4(1), 5, 2016

Dilek O., Lei Z., Mukherjee K., Bane S., Rapid formation of a stable boron–nitrogen heterocycle in dilute, neutral aqueous solution for bioorthogonal coupling reactions. Chem Communications, 51, 16992-16995, 2015

Ozalp C.V., Kavruk M., Dilek O., Bayrac T.A., Aptamers: Molecular Tools for Medical Diagnosis. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, 15,1125-1137, 2015

Dr. Ozlem Dilek