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.
Professional Highlights & Honors
In the News
Boston 25 News talked to Erkan Tuzel, associate professor of physics, biomedical engineering, and computer science, about Spartan, a small device that can be used to determine the fastest and best sperm cells to use during in vitro fertilization. “We wanted to come up with a passive technique where the sperm cells are not subjected to any large forces,” Tuzel told Boston 25. “The objective would be to come up with improved infertility solutions so that these processes take a shorter amount of time with better success rate."
WTOP radio in Washington, D.C., aired a segment featuring Erkan Tüzel, associate professor of physics, biomedical engineering, and computer science, discussing a sperm-sorting device that could improve IVF success. The segment also appears on the National Academy of Engineering web site.