As co-founder and CEO, Sema leads Surgo’s strategy, operations, and partner relations. She works at the intersection of behavior, data, and technology, drawing on her experience in policy, strategy and management of global development programs.
Before establishing Surgo, Sema worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she managed large-scale public health programs and oversaw the introduction of innovations in India and Africa. She currently is on the board of the foundation’s Alumni Network.
She is also an assistant adjunct professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an Affiliate Assistant Professor, Global Health at the University of Washington. Sema has a PhD in cellular and molecular biology (developmental genetics) from New York University, an MA in neuroscience from Brown University, and a BSc in molecular biology from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. Sema was selected as a Rising Talent by the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society.