I develop microscopic (< 100 μm) healthcare technologies of the future by working at the interfaces of engineering, life sciences and medicine .
I design, synthesize and engineer biological and bioinspired materials to understand ways of creating physical(or embodied) intelligence at the microscopic length scales having the capabilities of integrated mobility, sensing and response- the three pillars of robotics. Using this approach, I aspire to realize untethered softmicrorobots that exhibit programmed intelligence for minimally invasive targeted therapies.
My inventions around these tides have resulted in three international patents and over twenty publications in the top peer-reviewed journals. I have received Günter Petzow Prize, several best paper, best talk and science-as-art awards as an extension of my research output. My studies have been publicized by a Bayern2 radio podcast, PC Magazine and a number of other printed and web-based German and international media. In 2019, PC Magazine featured my medical microrobot project among “5 amazing projects that will change the future of healthcare”.
My core training and research are insanely multidisciplinary. This reflects to my publications where you will see neat hybridization of engineering, materials science, chemistry and cell biology that together converge to solve problems in medicine.
2017- present: Senior research scientist, Physical Intelligence Department, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, Germany.
Günter Petzow Prize,annually awarded (this year 15th) to outstanding materials science research, sponsored by the Volkswagen AG, and Stifterverbandfür die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Germany, 2020.
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin Life Science Fellow,prestigious fellowship that brings together globally invited Fellows with top elites of Berlin, e.g., scholars, artists, journalists and politicians to inspire new ideas that would positively impact society. Fellowship also includes 6 months study and life-long career and network support, 2020.
Masoumeh Ghaderi Best Talk Prize, at the 5th annual workshop on Micro and Nanotechnologies for medicine: Emerging Frontiers and Applications. Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, Boston, USA, 2017.
Associate Fellow, Center for Learning Systems of Max Planck Institute (MPI) - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), January 2015- Present.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Society, September 2014- May 2017.
Travel Grant, received from TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey), covered the travel cost, conference fee, and a daily allowance for MRS- Spring 2014, San Francisco, US, 2014.
Lindau Fellow: Selected in a nation-wide competition to represent Turkey in the 61st Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting, Lindau, Germany, 2011.
Doctoral Scholarship from TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey), including a monthly stipend, September 2010- August 2014.
Postgraduate Full-Merit Scholarship from Bilkent University, including a full tuition waiver, September 2010- August 2014.
Travel Grant, received from TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey), covered the travel cost, conference fee, and a daily allowance for MRS- Fall 2011, Boston, US, 2011.
Guest research fellowship, including travel costs, accommodation and a monthly stipend, Marie Curie Research Institute, Oxted, United Kingdom, June- October, 2009.
Undergraduate Full-Merit Scholarship, received from TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey), including a monthly stipend until graduation.
Undergraduate Full-Merit Scholarship, received from Bilkent University upon ranking 517 among over 1.6 million participants in the nationwide university examination. The scholarship includes a full tuition waiver and an additional monthly stipend until graduation.
Associate Editor, Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics (Springer) (Impact Factor 2.68)
Editorial Board Member, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology (Impact factor 5.12), Frontiers in Materials (Impact factor 2.69), and Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences (Impact factor 3.57).
61st Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 2016.
Expert Review Service for Research Funding Organizations
Biotechnology and Biological Research Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), UK, 2017.
ETH Zurich Research Commission, Switzerland, 2020.
Invited speaker,Tuesday Colloquium, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 2020.
Invited speaker, 2020 MPI-IS Summer Colloquium, Stuttgart, Germany, as the recipient of 15th Günter Petzow Prize.
Invited speaker, Applications of Micro-Nanorobotics Workshop, IEEE ICRA conference, Paris, France, 2020 (Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I delivered the talk via online participation with Youtube streaming).
Oral presentation, 3D printed cell-sized robots for minimally invasive medical interventions and targeted delivery, ACS Spring 2020 National Meeting, Philadelphia, US, 2020 (Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the talk was presented in the poster form).
Invited speaker, Cell-Size Robots for Minimally Invasive Medical Interventions and Targeted Delivery, European Robotics Forum, Miniaturized Robotics Workshop, Malaga, Spain, 2020.
Invited speaker, Cell-size robots for minimally invasive medical interventions and targeted delivery, Bioengineering Department, Imperial College London, UK, 2020.
Invited speaker, Cell-Size Robots for Minimally Invasive Medical Interventions and Targeted Delivery, Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey, 2020.
Invited speaker, Cell-size robots for minimally invasive medical interventions and targeted delivery, Bilkent University, National Nanotechnology Research Center, Ankara, Turkey, 2019.
Oral presentation, Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting , 3D printed biodegradable microrobots for theranostic delivery, Boston, US, 2018.
Oral presentation, 5th Annual Workshop on Micro- and Nanotechnologies for Medicine: Emerging Frontiers and Applications , 3D chemical patterning of micromaterials for encoded functionality, Harvard University, Boston, US, 2017.
Oral presentation, Gordon Research Seminar, Self-Assembly and Supramolecular Chemistry, Mussel-inspired dynamic crosslinking of supramolecular nano-networks, Barga, Tuscany, Italy, 2015.
Oral presentation, Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting, Mussel-inspired adhesive interfaces for biomedical applications, San Francisco, California, US, 2014.
Oral presentation, 2nd International Conference on Biological and Biomimetic Adhesives (COST Action Final Meeting), Mussel-inspired adhesive interfaces for biomedical applications, Istanbul, Turkey, 2014.
Oral presentation, Global Challenges - Opportunities for Nanotechnology Workshop (organized by CeNS (Munich), Swiss Nanoscience Institute (Basel) and ETH Zurich), Mussel-inspired adhesive interfaces for biomedical applications, Venice, Italy, 2013.
Oral presentation, Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting, Mussel-inspired functionalization of metal surfaces with bioactive self-assembled peptide nanofibers, Boston, US, 2011.
Programmed microscopic carriers that are able to navigate, sense their surroundings, adapt to changing conditions, and perform a set of functions in the physiological environment will revolutionize many clinical practices. The microscopic size makes them unrivalled f...
As the clinical interest of robotic devices shifts to the development of small, autonomous, or remotely controlled systems, challenges remain regarding material biocompatibility, biodegradability, and execution of functional tasks in a programmed way. An ideal material so...
Miniaturization of interventional medical devices can leverage minimally invasive technologies by enabling operational resolution at cellular length scales with high precision and repeatability. Untethered micron-scale mobile robots can realize this by navigating and performing in hard-to-reach, confined and delicate inner body sites. However, such a complex task requires an integrated design and engineering strategy, where powering, control, environmental sensing, medical functionality and biodegradability need to be considered altogether. The present study reports a hydrogel-based, biodegradable microrobotic swimmer, which is responsive to the changes in its microenvironment for theranostic cargo delivery and release tasks. We design a double-helical magnetic microswimmer of 20 micrometers length, which is 3D-printed with complex geometrical and compositional features. At normal physiological concentrations, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) enzyme can entirely degrade the microswimmer body in 118 h to solubilized non-toxic products. The microswimmer can respond to the pathological concentrations of MMP-2 by swelling and thereby accelerating the release kinetics of the drug payload. Anti-ErbB 2 antibody-tagged magnetic nanoparticles released from the degraded microswimmers serve for targeted labeling of SKBR3 breast cancer cells to realize the potential of medical imaging of local tissue sites following the therapeutic intervention. These results represent a leap forward toward clinical medical microrobots that are capable of sensing, responding to the local pathological information, and performing specific therapeutic and diagnostic tasks as orderly executed operations using their smart composite material architectures.
Macromolecular Bioscience, (0), March 2018 (article)
Abstract Programming materials with tunable physical and chemical interactions among its components pave the way of generating 3D functional active microsystems with various potential applications in tissue engineering, drug delivery, and soft robotics. Here, the development of a recapitulated fascicle‐like implantable muscle construct by programmed self‐folding of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate hydrogels is reported. The system comprises two stacked layers, each with differential swelling degrees, stiffnesses, and thicknesses in 2D, which folds into a 3D tube together. Inside the tubes, muscle cell adhesion and their spatial alignment are controlled. Both skeletal and cardiac muscle cells also exhibit high viability, and cardiac myocytes preserve their contractile function over the course of 7 d. Integration of biological cells with smart, shape‐changing materials could give rise to the development of new cellular constructs for hierarchical tissue assembly, drug testing platforms, and biohybrid actuators that can perform sophisticated tasks.
Programming local chemical properties of microscale soft materials with 3D complex shapes is indispensable for creating sophisticated functionalities, which has not yet been possible with existing methods. Precise spatiotemporal control of two-photon crosslinking is employed as an enabling tool for 3D patterning of microprinted structures for encoding versatile chemical moieties.
Lab on a Chip, 17(10):1705-1724, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2017 (article)
Untethered micron-scale mobile robots can navigate and non-invasively perform specific tasks inside unprecedented and hard-to-reach inner human body sites and inside enclosed organ-on-a-chip microfluidic devices with live cells. They are aimed to operate robustly and safely in complex physiological environments where they will have a transforming impact in bioengineering and healthcare. Research along this line has already demonstrated significant progress, increasing attention, and high promise over the past several years. The first-generation microrobots, which could deliver therapeutics and other cargo to targeted specific body sites, have just been started to be tested inside small animals toward clinical use. Here, we review frontline advances in design, fabrication, and testing of untethered mobile microrobots for bioengineering applications. We convey the most impactful and recent strategies in actuation, mobility, sensing, and other functional capabilities of mobile microrobots, and discuss their potential advantages and drawbacks to operate inside complex, enclosed and physiologically relevant environments. We lastly draw an outlook to provide directions in the veins of more sophisticated designs and applications, considering biodegradability, immunogenicity, mobility, sensing, and possible medical interventions in complex microenvironments.
Proceedings of the IEEE, 103(2):205-224, IEEE, March 2015 (article)
Untethered robots miniaturized to the length scale of millimeter and below attract growing attention for the prospect of transforming many aspects of health care and bioengineering. As the robot size goes down to the order of a single cell, previously inaccessible body sites would become available for high-resolution in situ and in vivo manipulations. This unprecedented direct access would enable an extensive range of minimally invasive medical operations. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the current advances in biomedical untethered mobile milli/microrobots. We put a special emphasis on the potential impacts of biomedical microrobots in the near future. Finally, we discuss the existing challenges and emerging concepts associated with designing such a miniaturized robot for operation inside a biological environment for biomedical applications.
Our goal is to understand the principles of Perception, Action and Learning in autonomous systems that successfully interact with complex environments and to use this understanding to design future systems