''Success is doing what you love and working hard for it,'' said Aziz Sancar in an interview. Being a Nobel Prize-winning Turkish molecular biologist, Sancar was born in 1946 in Mardin. His parents were uneducated, but they were well aware of the importance of education. His parents did everything to raise him with knowledge and sent him to school. Thus, Sancar always had great academic success throughout his school life. His teachers were idealistic, so Sancar has had great inspirations from them, as he stated. Besides being a successful student, he played as a goalkeeper in his high school team and got offers from the Turkish Youth National Team.
His first wish was to study chemistry at university, but he went to study medicine at Istanbul University as his friends persuaded him. After his MD degree, he went back to Savur, where he was born to work as a doctor in the health center in Savur for two years. He then went to the University of Texas for his Ph.D. in molecular biology, which he completed after four years. Then, he received a job offer from Yale University to be an associate at the university. In 1982, he joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Later, he completed his associate professorship thesis in DNA repair at Yale University. He then continued his research on DNA repair, cell sequencing, cancer therapy, and the biological clock. He has 415 scientific publications and 33 books to his credit.
Aziz Sancar is married to Gwen Boles Sancar, with who he graduated the same year. She is also a Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil. They founded Aziz&Gwen Foundation together to help Turkish students in the USA and to improve Turkish-American relations. The Foundation also operates a student guesthouse in North Carolina named "Carolina Turkish House."