Gonca Emel Karahan was born on the 12 th of November 1978 in Istanbul, Turkey. After graduating from Besiktas Ataturk Anadolu High School in 1996, she started her studies of Biomedical Sciences in Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, Istanbul University.
From her graduation in June 2000 until December 2011, she worked at the diagnostic HLA laboratory of the Department of Medical Biology, Istanbul Medical Faculty. During this period, she received her MSc degree (in 2003) and PhD degree in Medical Biology (in 2010) under supervision of Prof Dr. Mahmut Carin and Prof. Dr. Fatma Savran Oguz on research focused on the detection of HLA antibodies in kidney transplant recipients.
From January 2012 until July 2017 she has worked as a PhD student under supervision of Dr. Sebastiaan Heidt and Prof. Dr. Frans Claas at the Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion of the Leiden University Medical Center where she carried out the research on HLA-specific memory B cells. Since July 2017, she is working as a researcher in the same group, extending her research to HLA antibody characteristics and overseeing the research and development of the HLA diagnostic laboratory.