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Olin Hall, 220
Phone: +1-508-831-5391
Fax: +1-508-831-5886

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Erkan Tüzel

Teaching is a learning and discovering process, both for me and my students. While introductory classes motivate me to develop better ways of explaining elementary concepts and clear misconceptions, upper-level classes stimulate my thinking of the subject material and sometimes challenge me beyond my expectations. The project-based curriculum at WPI also allows me to explore new and exciting areas in computational and biological physics with my students. These projects prepare our students better for life beyond college by putting them in the driver's seat, but also help me broaden my horizons with the fresh ideas they bring.

My research interests focus on the field of soft-matter physics, which is an interdisciplinary field of research dealing with problems relevant to biology, materials science, and chemical engineering. More specifically, the two thematic areas that my group focuses on include the following: physical principles of self-organization, growth, and transport in cells; and coarse-grained modeling of flow and transport for microfluidic applications. Our group develops novel coarse-grained simulation techniques--methods that attempt to “average out” irrelevant microscopic details to achieve computational efficiency while maintaining the essential physics--to study these systems.

As a group focusing on theory and simulations in these rapidly evolving areas of science, close interaction with experimentalists is essential for the success of our research program. To this end, we have a number of successful collaborations in these areas with researchers in the department of Biology and Biotechnology and the Bioengineering Institute at WPI. We also collaborate with a number of groups at other institutions, including the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Harvard Medical School, and Penn State University.

Research Interests

  • Soft Condensed-Matter Physics
  • Complex Fluids
  • Mesoscale Simulation Techniques
  • Dynamics of Biopolymers
  • Cooperative Cargo Transport I\in Cells


  • BS, Istanbul Technical University, 1999
  • MS, Istanbul Technical University, 2001
  • PhD, University of Minnesota, 2006

Featured Publications

  • B. L. Stottrup, A. H. Nguyen, E. Tüzel. "Taking Another Look with Fluorescence Microscopy: Image Processing Techniques in Langmuir Monolayers for the Twenty-First Century,” Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes 1798, 1289 (2010).
  • E. Tüzel, G. Pan and D. M. Kroll. “Dynamics of Thermally-Driven Capillary Waves for Two-Dimensional Droplets,” J. Chem. Phys. 132, 174701 (2010).
  • L. Vidali, G. Burkart, R. C. Augustine, E. Kerdavid, E. Tüzel and M. Bezanilla. “Myosin XI Is Essential for Tip Growth,” Plant Cell 22, 1868 (2010).
  • L. Liu, E. Tüzel and J. L. Ross. “Loop Formation in Microtubules During Gliding at High Density,” J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 23, 374104 (2011).
  • R. C. Augustine, K. A. Pattavina, E. Tüzel, L. Vidali, and M. Bezanilla. “Actin Interacting Protein 1 and Actin Depolymerizing Factor Drive Rapid Actin Dynamics,” Plant Cell 23, 3696 (2011).

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Professional Highlights

  • Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society, Full Member
  • Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2007
  • Sigma Xi Junior Faculty Award
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