Search impact stories
Video Content: 
0

Postcard from Turkey: University of Ottawa master’s student helps contain greenhouse gases

After attending my first academic conference over a year ago, I was chatting with my supervisor Dr. Handan Tezel about our respective hometowns. I remarked that one day I would visit her hometown of Ankara, Turkey. I don’t think she took me seriously— until this summer, when I heard about the Mitacs Globalink Research Award. The application process was straightforward, and in a few short weeks, I was on my way to Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara!

At the University of Ottawa’s Chemical and Biological Engineering department, I work with Dr. Tezel and Dr. Boguslaw Kruczek to investigate the potential for inorganic membranes to capture greenhouse gases. Although these membranes are well suited to large-scale applications, they are a few years away from industrial implementation.

Mixed matrix membranes are made by combining inorganic particles with the chemicals used to make plastics. These membranes are well suited to smaller-scale applications and are already being used for a range of gas-separation processes, including the capture of greenhouse gases. At METU, I was able to work with Dr. Kalıpҫılar and his research team. They make some of the world’s smallest particles, and consequently, some of the world’s best mixed matrix membranes. I had access to powerful analytical equipment and learned many new things from Dr. Kalıpҫılar, the technical services personnel, and my incredible lab mates Burcu, Melis, and Irem.

During my weekends and public holidays, I experienced some of Turkey’s most beautiful natural attractions, as well as some of antiquity’s greatest cities. In Fethiye, I met up with my old friend Marius to help baby turtles into the ocean safely, and in Cappadocia, I rode in a hot air balloon and saw the lunar-like landscapes from a thousand metres high.

Although ancient cities like Ephesus and Pergamom are magnificent, the incredibly hospitable and friendly people that I met along the way really made my visit to Turkey memorable. I met Anatolian women who could ride tractors or mopeds while they carried groceries and locals who—despite speaking very little English—stopped what they were doing to walk with me to make sure I didn’t get lost.

I had an incredible time and made so many friends that I would not hesitate to recommend Turkey as a destination for research, fun, or both!


Mitacs would like to thank the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec their support of the Globalink Research Award program. In addition, Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support this award, including Campus France and Inria, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Mission Universitaire de Tunisie en Amerique du Nord.