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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

M. Eslami, N.E. Vrana, P. Zorlutuna, S. Sant, S. Jung, N. Masoumi, R.A. Khavari-Nejad, G. Javadi, A. Khademhosseini, “Fiber Reinforced Hydrogel Scaffolds for Heart Valve Tissue Engineering” Journal of Biomaterials Applications, 29(3):399-410, 2014

S. Sugiura, J.M. Cha, F. Yanagawa, P. Zorlutuna, H. Bae, A. Khademhosseini, “Dynamic three-dimensional micropatterned cell co-cultures within photocurable and chemically degradable hydrogels.” Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. 2013 doi: 10.1002/term.1843.

N. Annabi N, S.M. Mithieux, P. Zorlutuna, G. Camci-Unal, A.S. Weiss, A. Khademhosseini “Engineered cell-laden human protein-based elastomer.” Biomaterials. 34: 5496-505, 2013.

S.R. Shin, S.M. Jung, M. Zalabany, K. Kim, P. Zorlutuna, S.B. Kim, M.Nikkhah, M. Khabiry, A.M. Masoud, J. Kong, K. Jing, T. Palacios, M. Dokmeci, H. Bae, X. Tang, A. Khademhosseini, “Carbon-Nanotube-Embedded Hydrogel Sheets for Engineering Cardiac Constructs and Bioactuators", ASC Nano, 7(3): 2369-80, 2013.

P. Zorlutuna, N.E. Vrana, A. Khademhosseini, “The expanding world of tissue engineering: New building blocks and applications of tissue engineered constructs”, IEEE Reviews in Biomedical Engineering, 6: 47-62, 2013.

L. Schukur, P. Zorlutuna, J.M. Cha, H. Bae, A. Khademhosseini, “Effect of RGD peptide on differentiation of size-controlled embryoid bodies towards endothelial and cardiac lineages in 3D poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels”, Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2(1): 195-205, 2013

M. Nikkhah, N. Eshak, P. Zorlutuna, N. Annabi, M. Adamo, K. Kim, A. Dolatshahi-Pirouz, F. Edalat, H. Bae, Y. Yang, A. Khademhosseini, “Directed Endothelial Cell Morphogenesis in Micropatterned Gelatin Methacrylate Hydrogels”, Biomaterials, 2012, 33(35):9009-18.

P. Zorlutuna, N. Annabi, G. Camci-Unal, M. Nikkah, J.M. Cha, J. Nichol, A. Manbachi, H. Bae, S. Chen, A. Khademhosseini, “Microfabricated Biomaterials for Engineering 3D Tissues”, Advanced Materials, 2012, 24(14), 1782–1804.

R. Gauvin, Y. Chen, JW Lee, P. Soman, P. Zorlutuna, J. Nichol, Chen, A. Khademhosseini, “Microfabrication of complex porous scaffolds for tissue engineering applications using 3D projection stereolithography”, Biomaterials, 2012, 33(15), 3824-34.

J. Jeong, V. Chan, C. Cha , P. Zorlutuna, C. Dyck , J. Hsia , R. Bashir , H. Kong, “Patterning of functional neovessels using a 'living' microvascular stamp”, Advanced Materials, 2012, 24, 1, 58–63 (cover article).

P. Zorlutuna, J. Jeong, H. Kong, and R. Bashir, “Stereolithography-Based Hydrogel Microenvironments for Examining Spatial Cellular Interactions”, Advanced Functional Materials, 2011, 21,19, 3642–3651 (cover article).

P. Bajaj, B. Reddy, L. Millet, C. Wei, P. Zorlutuna, G. Bao, R. Bashir, “Patterning the differentiation of C2C12 skeletal myoblasts”, Integrative Biology, 3, 897-909, 2011 (cover article). 

V. Chan, P. Zorlutuna, J.H. Jeong, H. Kong, R. Bashir, “Three-Dimensional Photopatterning of Hydrogels using Stereolithography for Long-Term Cell Encapsulation”, Lab on a Chip, 10, 2062 – 2070, 2010 (back cover article).

P. Zorlutuna, P. Vadgama, V. Hasirci “Both sides nanopatterned tubular collagen scaffolds as tissue-engineered vascular grafts”, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, 4, 628–637, 2010.

P. Zorlutuna, Z. Rong, P. Vadgama, V. Hasirci, “Influence of Nanopatterns on Endothelial Cell Adhesion: Enhanced Cell Retention under Shear Stress”, Acta Biomaterialia, 5 (7): 2451-2459, 2009.

P. Zorlutuna, P.Yılgör, F.B.Başmanav, V.Hasırcı, “Biomaterials and tissue engineering research in Turkey: The METU Biomat Center experience”, Biotechnology Journal, 4 (7): 965-980, 2009.

P. Zorlutuna, A. Elsheikh, V. Hasirci, “Nanopatterning of Collagen Scaffolds Improve the Mechanical Properties of Tissue Engineered Vascular Grafts”, Biomacromolecules, 10 (4): 814–821, 2009.

P. Zorlutuna, N. Hasirci, V. Hasirci, “Nanopatterned collagen tubes for vascular tissue engineering”, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine 2(6): 373-377, 2008.

C. Ozcan, P. Zorlutuna, V. Hasirci, N. Hasirci, “Influence of Oxygen Plasma Modification on Surface Free Energy of PMMA Films and Cell Attachment”, Macromolecular Symposia 269: 128–137, 2008.

P. Zorlutuna, A.Tezcaner, V. Hasirci, “A Novel Construct as a Cell Carrier for Tissue Engineering”, Journal of Biomaterials Science Polymer Edition 19(3): 399-410, 2008.

P. Zorlutuna, N. Builles, O. Damour, A. Elsheikh and V. Hasirci, “Influence of keratocytes and retinal pigment epithelial cells on the mechanical properties of polyester-based tissue engineering micropatterned films”, Biomaterials 28 (24), 3489-3496, 2007.

V. Hasirci, E. Vrana, P.  Zorlutuna, A. Ndreu, P. Yilgor, B. Basmanav, E. Aydin, “Nanobiomaterials; A review of the existing science and technology, and new approaches”, Journal of Biomaterials Science Polymer Edition 17(11):1241-68, 2006.

P. Zorlutuna, A.Tezcaner, I. Kiyat, A. Aydinli, V. Hasirci, “Cornea engineering on polyester carriers”. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A. 79(1):104-13, 2006. 


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.

Biocomputing: Imitating the Real Thing to Improve Life

January 27, 2017

Pinar Zorlutuna and a team of University researchers have created a new type of diode, one that is made entirely of cardiac muscle cells and fibroblasts. Their recently published paper titled “Muscle-Cell-Based ‘Living Diodes’” discusses how using muscle cells as the diode components is ideal for cell-based information processing.