Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Home > Profiles > Pinar Zorlutuna

Pinar Zorlutuna

Pinar Zorlutuna

Associate Professor

Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Principal Investigator
Zorlutuna Lab

Associate Professor
Bioengineering Graduate Program

Associate Professor
College of Engineering


Phone: 574-631-8543

Office: 143 Multidisciplinary Research Building


Postdoctoral Fellow - Harvard Medical School, 2012

Postdoctoral Fellow - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010

PhD - Middle East Technical University, 2009


Pinar Zorlutuna is an Associate Professor in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining to Notre Dame, she was an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Departments, and core faculty of the Institute of Materials Science at the University of Connecticut. Concurrently, she was a visiting scholar in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University. Dr. Zorlutuna received her PhD degree in Biotechnology Program from a joint project between Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey) and Interdisciplinary Research Center in Biomedical Materials, Queen Mary University of London (London, UK) on vascular tissue engineering. She held a postdoctoral appointment at the Bioengineering Department and Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign between 2009 and 2011. After that, she was a research fellow in biomedical engineering at Harvard Medical School and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology until she joined UConn in August 2012. Her research has been published in high impact journals such as Advanced Materials, ACS Nano, Advanced Functional Materials and Lab on a Chip, and funded by NSF. She received various awards including “Thesis of the Year Award” of Middle East Technical University and European Society of Biomaterials “European Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Doctoral Award”.

Summary of Activities/Interests

Dr. Zorlutuna’s research explores designing biomimetic environments for understanding and controlling cell behavior, and cell-cell and cell-environment interactions using tissue engineering, genetic engineering and micro- and nanotechnology, with particular emphasis on designing systems for co-culturing different cell types in a physiologically relevant manner for engineering complex tissues and for directing stem cell differentiation. Her PhD work focused on biomimetic tissue engineering towards fabricating a functional blood vessel tissue through 3D tubular co-culture of vascular cell types using nanopatterned scaffolds. In her first postdoctoral fellowship at Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratories at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she 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”. After that, she led Khademhosseini Lab’s Tissue Engineering Subgroup at the joint Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and Center for Biomedical Engineering at Harvard Medical School, working on various projects and supervising a group of about ten researchers of different educational levels and backgrounds.

Recent Publications

T.D. Nguyen, N. Nagarajan, P. Zorlutuna “Investigating the Effect of Substrate Stiffness on Mechanical Coupling and Contractile Force Propagation at the Myocardial Infarct Boundary” Biophysical Journal, in press.

X. Yue, T.D. Nguyen, V. Zellmer, S. Zhang, P. Zorlutuna “Stromal Cell-Laden 3D Hydrogel Microwell Arrays as Tumor Microenvironment Model for Studying Stiffness Dependent Stromal Cell-Cancer Interactions” Biomaterials, 2018;170:37-48

A. YekrangSafakar, A. Acun, J.W. Choi, E. Song, P. Zorlutuna, K. Park. “Hollow microcarriers for large-scale expansion of anchorage-dependent cells in a stirred bioreactor”, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 2018 Jul;115(7):1717-1728 

N. Nagarajan, A. Dupret-Bories, E. Karabulut, P. Zorlutuna*, N. E. Vrana*, “3D Printing Technologies For Enabling Personalised Medical Device And Controllable Biosystem Development”, Biotechnology Advances, 2018, 36(2):521-533

Suma D., Acun A., Zorlutuna P., Vural D.C., “Interdependence Theory of Tissue Failure: Bulk and Boundary Effects”, Royal Society Open Science, 2018, 5(2):171395

Acun A., Zorlutuna P.“Engineered Myocardium Model to Study the Roles of HIF-1α and HIF1A-AS1 in Paracrine-only Signaling under Pathological Level Oxidative Stress” Acta Biomaterialia, 2017,58:323-336

Yue X., Acun A., Zorlutuna P.“Transcriptome Profiling of 3D Co-cultured Cardiomyocytes and Endothelial Cells under Oxidative Stress using a Photocrosslinkable Hydrogel System”, Acta Biomaterialia, 2017, 58:337-348.

Acun A., Vural D.C. Zorlutuna P. A Tissue Engineered Model of Aging: Interdependence and Cooperative Effects in Failing Tissues, Scientific Reports, 2017,7(1):5051

Ellis B.W., Acun A., Can U.I., Zorlutuna P. “Human iPSC-Derived Myocardium-on-chip with Capillary-like Flow for Personalized Medicine”, Biomicrofluidics, 2017,16;11(2):024105. 

J. Casey, X. Yue, T. D. Nguyen, A. Acun, V. R. Zellmer, S. Zhang, P. Zorlutuna “3D Hydrogel-Based Microwell Arrays As A Tumor Microenvironment Model To Study Breast Cancer Growth”, Biomedical Materials, 2017,15;12(2):025009. [IF: 3.36]

Holley M.δ, Nagarajan N.δ, Danielson C., Zorlutuna P*, and Park K.* “Cardiac muscle-cell based actuator and self-stabilizing biorobot - PART 1”, Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2017, 11;(125)

Nagarajan N.δ, Holley M.δ, Danielson C., Park K.* and Zorlutuna P*, “Cardiac muscle-cell based actuator and self-stabilizing biorobot - PART 2”, Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2017, 9;(123).

Can U.I., Nagarajan N., Vural D.C., Zorlutuna P., “Muscle Cell-Based 'Living Diodes'”Advanced Biosystems, 2017, 1, 1.

Vyas V., Nagarajan N.,Zorlutuna P., Huey B.D. “Nanostethoscopy: Atomic Force Microscopy Probe Contact Force versus Measured Amplitude of Cardiomyocytic Contractions” J. Bionanosci. 2017, 11, 319–322. 

M. Holleyδ, N. Nagarajanδ, C. Danielson, P. Zorlutuna*, and K. Park*, “Development and characterization of muscle-based actuators for self- stabilizing swimming biorobots,” Lab on a Chip, 16 (18), 3473-3484, 2016. 

Nagarajan N., Vyas V., Huey B., Zorlutuna P., “Modulation of the Contractility of Micropatterned Myocardial Cells with Nanoscale Forces using Atomic Force Microscopy”, Nanobiomedicine, 13: 1-13, 2016.


Replicating human heart tissue for testing therapies yields promising results

November 15, 2018

Notre Dame engineers have been focusing on developing human equivalent tissues for use in pre-clinical studies for understanding and treating medical conditions such as heart disease and breast cancer.

Will heart cells help solve our most complex problems?

August 21, 2018

As part of a new study, researchers at the University of Notre Dame aim to create a more optimal computer network for solving complex problems — using heart cells.

Cancer Cells Thrive in Stiff Tissue, According to New Study

May 3, 2018

Scientists studying tumor growth and metastasis at the University of Notre Dame fabricated a human tissue model to examine how cancer cells interact with connective tissue in the breast. Their recently published study suggests that stiffer breast tissue creates an environment more prone to cancer.

Notre Dame Researchers Receive Prestigious National Science Foundation Awards

June 12, 2017

Pinar Zorlutuna, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, received her CAREER Award for a project titled, “Tissue-engineering an Aging Heart: The Effect of Aged Cell Microenvironment in Myocardial Infarction.” The main objective of her research is to better understand the cardiovascular disease progression in older tissue in order to find ways to decrease age-related cardiovascular conditions. Zorlutuna became a member of the faculty in 2014.

Notre Dame Researchers Receive Prestigious National Science Foundation Awards

May 17, 2017

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recognized ten University of Notre Dame faculty members — including four from the College of Engineering — for their excellence in research with Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards.