HMTNL Alumni Pinar Zorlutuna uses Illinois experience in career to understand and control cellular behavior.

9/10/2021 9:17:35 AM Ivan Sanchez

Who was your advisor at Holonyak Lab?

Rashid Bashir

What year did you graduate?


Where do you work now?

University of Notre Dame

Can you tell me about your current research?

My research group aims to investigate and develop micro and nanoscale approaches to understand and control cellular behavior. We have a highly interdisciplinary research focus relevant to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, biomaterials, micro/nanofabrication and stem cell research. The two major research thrusts of my lab are, 1) tissue engineered disease models and 2) electromechanical cell-based biocomputing and biorobotics. 

What research did you participate in at Illinois?

I worked on utilization of stereolithography for engineering microfabricated 3D neuro-muscular tissue as a first step towards engineering cell-based soft robots or “Bio-bots”. 

How did your time at Illinois shape your work now?

My time at UIUC shaped my research profoundly. When I was first interviewed at Dr. Bashir’s lab, I was fascinated by the lab’s research projects. At the time, creating tissues using a stereolithography machine was like science fiction, but we made it happen. My time there taught me to think outside the ordinary, be innovative and pursue things never tried before. Also it taught me to be a good mentor to my students. Dr. Bashir is a true mentor and he set an excellent role model to his students to became not only future leaders but also passionate mentors for future generations.

What advice do you have for current students?

Work hard, work smart, never give up.