Organized by Koç University School of Medicine, UNESCO, Turkish Society of Reproductive Medicine, and Koç University Research Center for Translational Medicine (KUTTAM), the course aims to display solidarity with young researchers, who may be deprived of opportunities they deserve, as a consequence of war and economic hardships, and to enable them to command actual knowledge and technologies. Prof. Dr. Barış Ata, the leader of the organization since its idea stage said, “Our objective is to provide education and moral support to young researchers deprived of education opportunities due to the war in Syria and economic hardships in the surrounding countries.” Frontiers in Reproduction Course is an intense researcher training given at the Marine Biology Laboratory, USA for years. Frontiers Course is an applied course covering a variety of important topics including advanced laboratory techniques used in reproductive biology and stem cell research, PCR, ovular and sperm imaging, mitochondrial DNA analysis, cellular division studies in cancer cells, and in vitro fertilization technology.
Prof. Barış Ata, pointing out that the course is organized for the first time in Turkey, explained the importance of the organization as follows: “This inaugural Frontiers course in Istanbul is not only a scientific meeting but also a social responsibility project that displays solidarity with young researchers, who may be deprived of opportunities they deserve, as a consequence of the turmoil in the region. Overall 16 people from Egypt, Jordan, Iran, and Romania attended the hands on training. Theoretical courses were open to public which made the total number of attendees 50 consisting of medical students, professors to practitioner gynaecologists.” Besides Prof. Dr. Barış Ata, Prof. Gerald Schatten from Pittsburgh University, Prof. Emre Sel from Yale University, and Denny Sakkas from Boston IVFtenv served as directors of the course. Prof. Dr. Barış Ata stated that following institutes provided generous support to the young physician candidates: “All expenses were covered by UNESCO, Turkish Society of Reproductive Medicine, and Koç University Research Center for Translational Medicine. Current situation does not allow trainees to afford the 6-weeks course in the USA, and travel limitations is another problem. So thanks to our initiative they got the opportunity to meet and work one-to-one with world-famous professors in their fields, without worrying about the cost of training and accommodation in Turkey. They also received counselling on their on-going research.”