Dr. Yunus Alapan, a postdoctoral researcher in the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart is thrilled: "As an engineer, my motivation for science is largely driven by the impact my research has on human health. That is why the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to meet and interact with the greatest minds in medical research".
A total of 600 outstanding students, doctoral candidates and post-docs under the age of 35 will come to Lake Constance from 24 to 29 June. This year's meeting is dedicated to physiology and medicine and will set two records: 43 Nobel Laureates - more than ever before at a medicine meeting - will take part, and the field of participants, with 84 countries of origin, has never been so diverse.
"For me, it is an invaluable experience to access the guidance and advice from the leading experts in person, which allows you to reflect on your own scientific journey and boost one´s own self-confidence", Alapan reflects further. "This is also a great opportunity to establish new contacts and collaborations in the field and showcase some of the great research we are doing at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems."
Alapan is working on developing tiny robots the size of a cancer cell. "These micron-scale robots will one day deliver drugs to where they are most needed: directly to the tumor". In parallel, Alapan is building microfluidic organ-on-a-chip platforms that can recapitulate complex disease pathophysiology and biological barriers in the body. "That way, we can test our micro-robots in real-world scenarios and complex cellular micro-environments to improve their performance."
Alapan graduated from a Mechanical Engineering program in Turkey and led him to do a Ph.D. at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. During his graduate studies, he developed cost-efficient and easy-to-use microfluidic systems to diagnose and monitor hemoglobinopathies, including sickle cell disease. His Ph.D. thesis won 1st place at the NASA Tech Briefs Create the Future Design Contest in 2014. He also won 1st place at the Student Technology Competition for Primary Healthcare in 2015.
Since November 2016, Alapan has been working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. The department was founded by Dr. Metin Sitti, who - like Alapan - is a Mechanical Engineer by trade. Sitti and his team of researchers aim to understand the principles of design, locomotion, control, perception, and learning of small-scale mobile robots. Some of the robots the scientists invented - among them ones are the millimeter and even micro scale - will one day be used for medical applications. The tiny robots will non-invasively diagnose and treat diseases inside the human body and hence revolutionize healthcare, the scientists envision.
Find out more about the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings here: