March 4, 2022

Interview MDR PhD student: Yigitcan Sümbelli

Hello! I’m Yiğitcan but I mostly use Yiğit (the pronunciation is like ‘yeet’). Although I studied chemistry for my bachelor’s and continued in biochemistry for my master’s studies, I was mostly interested in biofabrication applications. Especially Dr. Anthony Atala’s and Dr. Robert Langer’s visions have had a significant impact on my academic interests since Dr. Langer is one of the leading scientists who have founded the tissue engineering discipline, and Dr. Atala has shown one of the most recognized clinical applications by using tissue engineering techniques. I must admit, the COVID-19 pandemic was a very nice opportunity for me to attend their seminars online.

Starting from 2017, I gained experience in extrusion-based 3D bioprinting and decided to continue my academic career where I can combine artificial cell studies with traditional tissue engineering applications. Biofabrication has taken me to Amsterdam UMC, the Netherlands in 2018, artificial cells have taken me to Max Planck Inst. for Medical Research, in Germany in 2021 and finally, the combination of these two topics has brought me here, TU/e, in the Netherlands again. I joined Dr. van Hest’s group in February 2022 as a PhD student to work on a project which was especially really exciting for me; I will be doing some experiments to see how artificial cells and real ones interact within the same interface and how can we play around (such as inducing tissue regeneration, or manipulating cell differentiation to the desired way), and I am planning to use 3D bioprinting within that context.

Other than my academic interests, I love playing tennis and volleyball in my free time (although I still couldn’t do any of them here yet). You can recognize me with my big beard, which sometimes leads to some interesting conversations. I also almost always carry a buff neckwear for 6 months a year. So, I am quite recognizable!

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