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Friday, 13 May 2016

Canan Dagdeviren


Canan Dagdeviren



Multifunctional sensing capability, 'unusual'​ formats with flexible/stretchable designs, lightweight construction and self-powered operation are desired attributes for electronics that directly interface with the human body. I have focused on the applications of active piezoelectric materials and patterning techniques for 'unusual' electronic devices with an emphasis on bio-integrated systems. My collective research has implications across a variety of sensors, mechanical energy harvesting components and implantable, minimally invasive brain injectrodes capable of addressing the spatial and temporal aspects of treating neural disorders. My research broadly bridges the gap that exists between rigid, boxy electronics and soft, curvy biology and my passion is to explore novel materials, mechanics and device designs for emerging classes of health monitoring systems and implantable / wearable medical devices.


Junior Fellow

Harvard University
– Present (11 months)Cambridge, Massachusetts
Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows
Materials Science and Engineering

Post-Doctoral Associate

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
– Present (1 year 9 months)Cambridge, Massachusetts
Robert S. Langer Research Group,
The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research,
McGovern Institute for Brain Research.

– Fabricate a novel multi-functional probe for local delivery of electrical and chemical stimulation in the brain to detect behavioral changes in Parkinson’s disease, anxiety and mood disorders.
– Collaborate with a neuroscientist team led by Prof. Ann Graybiel of McGovern Institute for Brain Research.
– Supervise a PhD student at HST Program of MIT and Harvard University.
– Supervise an undergraduate team (3 students) with backgrounds in physics, materials science and chemistry.

Ph.D.,Research Assistant

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(5 years 1 month)Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Area
Research Assistant
John A. Rogers Research Group,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory,
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

– Initiated new approaches/methods for ferroelectric/piezoelectric materials, and devices that has implications across a variety of sensors and energy harvesting components.
– Supervised an undergraduate team (9 students) with background in physics, materials science, chemistry, EE.
– Collaborated with academic and industrial research groups: Northwestern University, The University of Arizona, University of Washington, Tsinghua University/China, National Nanotechnology Laboratory of Istituto Nanoscienze-CNR, Università del Salento/Italy, Institute of High Performance Computing, A-STAR/Singapore, Dresden University of Technology/Germany, MC10/Boston, L'Oréal/NY, CA, Paris.

M.Sc., Research Assistant

Sabanci University
(1 year 10 months)Istanbul, Turkey
Research Assistant
Melih Papila Research Group,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
Smart and Functional Materials Research Lab.

– Led a The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) research project.
– Supervised an undergraduate team (3 students) with backgrounds in physics, materials science and chemistry.
– Collaborated with TUBITAK, Gebze Institute of Technology/Turkey, Hacettepe University/Turkey.

Teaching Assistant
Nature and Science Course,
Content includes; fundamentals of physics and its principles
(Design and grade assignments, develope review and test questions, teach a recitation per week, make basic experiments with students).

B.Sc., Undergrad Research Assistant

Hacettepe University
(3 years 10 months)Ankara, Turkey
Undergraduate Researcher
H. Zafer Durusoy Research Group,
Department of Physics Engineering,
Thin Film Preparation and Measurement Lab.

– Designed Cryostate and controlled I-V measurement process for thin film with LabVIEW interface.
– Collaborated with Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEA).

Summer Research Intern

Bilkent University
(3 months)Ankara, Turkey
Undergraduate Researcher
Atilla Aydinli Research Group,
Department of Physics,
Advanced Research Lab. and Nanotechnology Research Center.
Integrated Optics Lab.

– Developed an interface between a PC and optical parameter analyzer via LabVIEW software.
Physics Department, Advanced Research Laboratory and National Nanotechnology Research Center, Integrated Optic Group


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ph.D., Material Sci. and Engineering

• MRS (Material Research Society) 2014 Spring & Fall Meetings Grad Student Awards
• MIT Technology Review Award for Innovators under 35 (TR35) in Turkey 2014*
*First generation innovator of Turkey, and default candidate for MIT TR35 Global 2015, 8/2014
• Named as the Innovator of the Year among the first generation of MIT TR Innovators under 35
• Named as a ‘Rising Star’ in EECS with 40 World-wide Selected Female Scientists, 7/2014
• $20K Illinois Innovation Prize, 4/2014
• Invited Speaker to deliver a TEDx talk (TEDxReset) in Istanbul, Turkey, 4/2014
• Turkish American Scientists & Scholars Association (TASSA) Young Scholar Award, 3/2014
• Racheff-Intel Award for Outstanding Materials Research, 3/2014
• $10K Maria Pia Gratton International Award, 5/2011

Sabanci University

M.Sc., Material Science and Engineering

• SU Engineering Commencement Graduate Student Speaker, 6/2009
• Dr. Gursel Sonmez Memorial Research Award, 6/2009
• ICAM-I2CAM Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter Award, 9/2008
• Travel Award from Sabanci University awarded for attending The 3rd International Conference
“Smart Materials, Structures and Systems”, 5/2008
• SU Full Scholarship throughout M.Sc. Studies, 2007-2009

Hacettepe Üniversitesi

B.Sc., Physics Enginnering

• HU Highest Honor Graduated Plaque, 6/2007
• HU Success Plaque and Certificate awarded for IV. Engineering Project Exhibition, 5/2007
• Success and Representative Plaque from HU awarded for Representative of DEP at UFOK
(National Physics Student Organization Committee), 6/2006
• Travel Award from Hacettepe Association awarded for attending The International Association
of Physics Students 2006 (IAPS) Conference at Bucharest, Romania, 5/2006
• The President of Turkey Republic Scholarship awarded for B.Sc. studies, 2003-2007
• Turkey Idea and Culture Association Scholarship awarded for B.Sc. studies, 2003-2007
Activities and Societies: Representative of the class and department


Canan Dagdeviren, a TASSA Awardee, is elected as a 'Junior Fellow' to Society of Fellow at Harvard University

By Bahri Karaçay
Dagdeviren never met her paternal grand father.   He was only 28 years old when his heart failed and stopped beating.  This tragic event determined her future career.  At an early age, Dagdeviren promised herself that by the age that her grandpa passed away, she would do something that would help heart disease patients so that their lives would not be ended prematurely like her grandfather.  And she kept that promise. When she received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign, she held a device in her hand that she developed  and proved in preclinical studies to power heart-devices by converting mechanical energy of heartbeats into electrical energy.
Her research and inventions gained her an instant recognition in scientific community with sixteen awards, including one given by TASSA in 2014. But probably the most prestigious award she received so far was her election to the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. Canan Dagdeviren became the first scientist from Turkey to be selected as a Junior fellow in the history of Harvard Society of Fellows. "It means a lot, it is a victory and accumulation of effort and love of 29 years" she says. " It is beyond my personal success, I do represent my beautiful home country, Turkey, as I’m the first scientist from Turkey to be selected to the society".
Currently a postdoctoral research associate in Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, MIT, Dagdeviren received many congratulation letters from Turkey. Those that were particularly meaningful for her were the ones coming from Turkish women. "I’m happy to be a ‘role model’ for young generation, especially for underestimated women of my country", said Dagdeviren.
Dagdeviren's research has wide-spread implications, including variety of sensors and energy harvesting components for cardiac pacemakers, cardiac vessel stents, non-invasive, wearable blood pressure sensors, and skin cancer detection bio-patches. She designed and fabricated a device that is flexible and is also capable of converting mechanical energy from internal organ movements into electric energy when attached to the surface of the organs to power medical devices. Her research provides evidence that these devices can yield significant amounts of electrical power from motions of internal organs, up to and exceeding levels relevant for practical use in implants. Thus, the technology may either extend the battery life of an implanted medical device or totally eliminate the need for battery, saving patients from repeated and complicated surgeries.
Dagdeviren is currently working on developing a device that will allow local and on-demand drug delivery to the brain in addition to electrical stimulation. "My new device represents a fundamental shift in the traditional neuromodulation delivery, which requires lengthy time spans and stimulates the entire brain unnecessarily" she says. "Instead, I will create a probe capable of dynamically adjusting the therapy within seconds and with pinpoint accuracy which will have important impact on individuals who suffer from devastating Parkinson’s disease, anxiety or depression."
Amid ongoing invention and research efforts, Dagdeviren also manages to work with young inventors in the Society of Women Engineers, and mentors undergraduate students from the US and Turkey via her communications on skype.  One of her dreams is to develop a fellowship program with her late granddad's name to inspire and support future scientists from Turkey.



AnadoluJet Magazine - January 2016

Write: Zeynep İyigün / Photo: Pelin Ulca

I am motIvated by my dreams!

Canan Dağdeviren, the first Turkish scientist selected as a “Junior Fellow” at Harvard University and recognized as one the annual “35 Innovators Under 35” by MIT Technology Review, is a brilliant innovator.
I am motIvated by my dreams!

I am motIvated by my dreams!

I am motIvated by my dreams!

I am motIvated by my dreams!

I am motIvated by my dreams!

I am motIvated by my dreams!
How and when did you become interested in science?

When I was a kid, I would break a pebble stone into pieces trying to find atoms inside. I came to understand that my childhood attempts were doomed to failure after my first experiments with atomic force microscopy. But that’s how my family realized my main interest. For me science means everlasting love and passion, and the most genuine guide in life.
Could you talk about your academic life that extends abroad to the US?

While I was studying Physics Engineering at Hacettepe University, I took the following year’s classes during summer school to unload my burden, and attended national and international conferences. I think this eclectic educational program gave me certain abilities, such as productivity, flexibility and looking at a problem from different perspectives.

After completing the master’s degree at Materials Science and Engineering at Sabancı University, I won the Fullbright Doctorate Schoolarship in 2009 (it was the first time the scholarship was given). I continued my doctorate study at the same department at The University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, which laid the foundation of my professional jour-ney.
How does it feel to have been named among “35 Innovators Under 35” by MIT?

I am content to be on this prestigious list and represent my beautiful country. I am excited to meet young researchers who excel in their chosen fields.
Could you please tell us about the invention that associates your name with innovation?

I have received this award for two different inventions I made. The first one is a wearable pacemaker, a flexible and ultrathin piezoelectric integrated film that converts the energy released by movements of the heart, diaphragm and lungs into electrical energy that’s stored in the device. This material, placed on a piece of biocompatible plastic, is one-hundredth of the thickness of a human hair and flexible and foldable like paper. This provides an energy-efficient system that does not hinder the natural motion of the organs. Today pacemakers need to be replaced every five to eight years in a risky surgery. However, with this material your heart, lungs or diaphragm can harvest the energy required for a pacemaker.
My second invention is a wearable device that can detect mechanical properties of the skin and organ tissues in less than 10 seconds. It is entirely biocompatible and too light to be felt. The aim is to map skin diseases in particular, provide early diagnosis, and end painful biopsy processes.
What are the key elements that lead you to success? How are you motivated?

I succeed because I take life seriously. I passionately pursue my dreams. I work hard to accomplish as much as possible in a short time. I am motivated by my belief in my work and my present/future service to humanity. My ambitious, stubborn character serves as a catalyst. In addition to my academic carrier, I have a lively social life and I care about my personal relationships.
What does innovation mean to you? How important has innovation been in your career to date?

Innovation means the act of translating by means of imagination, personal experiences and knowledge. Innovation arises as a result of a need and is shaped by your imagination, inner motivation and cooperation. We collect information and benefit our needs and passions to render life as comfortable as possible. Innovative people are passionate, persistent dreamers. These are the primary elements that speed up my projects.
What do you miss most about Turkey while living abroad?

I miss everything. I have learned to live while missing. I have been away from my home country, my family and friends during the most energetic years of my life. Our lives are shaped by our decisions and choices. Missing has become a part of my life just like science. It is my choice.
What is your target now?

I am working on a needle-shaped battery to help people with Parkinson’s disease and other brain diseases. This device can be placed locally to the farthest parts of the brain, transmit orally taken medications directly to the brain, and repair broken/dysfunctional neurons. 


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