Akkaya Lab

A formula for happiness

Excerpt taken from Alayna DeMartini’s article on the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Blog

Munir and Billur Akkaya

In their 13 years of marriage and working together, Billur and Munir Akkaya have found conflict is inevitable and heated discussions just might be the best way to resolve it.

They’re both from Turkey, where they say it’s more common to offer the truth without soft filters.

“There’s no sugarcoating,” Billur says.

Along with being married, Munir Akkaya, MD, PhD, and Billur Akkaya, MD, PhD, are both researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Together they study the immune response to cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases. Billur studies T cells; Munir, B cells. Both types of cells collaborate to fight against an invader in the body, which is akin to their relationship.

“B cells and T cells interact and so do we,” Billur says.

They work together in one lab, share one car and have two children so there’s sometimes grounds for healthy conflict. But above all, they both appreciate what each other offers. He’s a quick thinker and great at batting out a first draft of a paper they’re writing together. She’s the expert in expanding on the ideas, fine-tuning and finessing the words.

And when they differ on something, “We get the steam out and that’s it,” Munir says. “Today’s problem is never tomorrow’s problem.”

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