Instructor Vardar-Ulu, Didem

Didem Vardar-Ulu

Biological Chemistry
Office: SCI 358A
Phone: 617-353-2553
Office Hours: By Appointment

Degrees and Training

  • BS in Physics, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, 1995
  • PhD in Biophysics, in the laboratory of C.J. McKnight, Physiology and Biophysics Department, Boston University, MA, 2001
  • Postdoctoral fellow with Drs. Barbara and Bruce Furie, Beth Isreal-Deaconess Medical Center/ HMS, Center for Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research, 2001-2002
  • Postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Stephen C. Blacklow, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School 2002 -2006
  • Assistant Professor, Wellesley College, Chemistry Department, 2006-2015


  • CH 171 – Principles of General Chemistry Lab
  • CH 273- Principles of Biochemistry
  • CH 421/422 – Biochemistry I/II Lab


Research: Multidisciplinary projects that study the structure, dynamics, and folding of proteins with medical significance as they pertain to function and regulation

Science Education: Designing and implementing student-centered curricula for both science majors and non-majors to deliver effective interdisciplinary science education at the undergraduate level to better prepare today’s young scientists for tomorrow’s needs. Mentor post-bachelor and post-doc trainees interested in pursuing science teaching careers.


  • Wellesley College Educational Research and Development General Grant 2008, 2013
  • HHMI Curriculum Development Award, 2010
  • NSF-MRI (PI), 2011-2015
  • NIH AREA R15 (PI), 2010-2014
  • Cottrell College Science Award, Research Corporation, 2008-2011
  • The Camille & Dreyfus Foundation Faculty Award: 2006-2012
  • Biology Scholar Research Residency Program (2008), Assessment Residency Program (2013)
  • American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2003- 2006
  • Boston University School of Medicine Deans Award, 2000
  • Henry I. Russek Student Achievement Award, Boston University School of Medicine, 1998

Recent Publications

  1. Avci, F. G, Altinisik, F. E., Vardar-Ulu, D., Olmez, E. O., Sariyar Akbulut, B “An evolutionarily conserved site modulates beta-lactamase activity” Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, June 28 2016, 1-8
  2. Hall, M. L. and Vardar-Ulu, D. “An Inquiry-Based Biochemistry Laboratory Structure Emphasizing Competency in the Scientific Process: a Guided Approach with an Electronic Notebook Format”. Biochemistry and Molecular Biolgy Education Dec 2013
  3. Seo A., Jackson J. L., Schuster J. V., Vardar-Ulu, D. “Using UV-absorbance of intrinsic dithiothreitol (DTT) during RP-HPLC as a measure of experimental redox potential in vitro, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Jul 2013, 405(19):6379-84
  4. Gordon WR, Vardar-Ulu D, L’Heureux S, Ashworth T, Malecki MJ, Sanchez-Irizarry C, McArthur DG, Histen G, Mitchell JL, Aster JC, Blacklow SC. “Effects of S1 cleavage on the structure, surface export, and signaling activity of human Notch1 and Notch2.” PLoS One. 2009 Aug 24;4(8)
  5. Brown JW, Vardar-Ulu D., McKnight CJ “How to Arm a Supervillin: Using Electrostatics to Design Novel Functionality into Supervillin Headpiece” J Mol Biol. 2009 Aug 14.
  6. Gordon WR, Roy M, Vardar-Ulu D, Garfinkel M, Mansour MR, Aster JC, Blacklow SC “Structure of the Notch1 Negative Regulatory Region: Implications for Normal Activation and Pathogenic Signaling in T-ALL” Blood. Apr 30;113(18):4381-90 (2009)
  7. Gordon WR*, Vardar-Ulu D*, Histen G, Sanchez-Irizarry C, Aster JC, Blacklow SC. “Structural basis for autoinhibition of Notch” Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2007 Apr;14(4):295-300.