Postdoctoral Research Associates

Mine Altunbek, PhD

Hello! My name is Mine Altunbek. I completed my PhD in 2017 in “Nanobiotechnology and Molecular Engineering Laboratory” at Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkiye. I worked in the “Bioprinting Laboratory” at the Sabanci University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center, Istanbul, Turkiye as a postdoctoral researcher for three years. 

Then, I joined Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Group of Gulden Camci-Unal at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, MA, USA in June, 2021. I am currently working on development of tissue models for an organ on a chip technology, exploring and characterization of new biocompatible biomaterials for tissue regeneration.

PhD Students

Mert Gezek

I am a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering & Biotechnology (BMEBT) program. I received my BSc degree in Bioengineering Department after graduated from Yıldız Technical University (Turkey) in the Spring of 2021. 

I am eager to contribute to projects in the biofabrication field in GCU Lab and hope to be part of solutions to problems in the regenerative medicine field. I am also especially interested in organ-on-a-chip devices, the use of biomaterials for patient-specific tissue engineering applications, and space technologies, which will give me a chance to apply my knowledge about bioprinting and biofabrication techniques. 

Out of academia, I enjoy playing clarinet and percussion instruments, playing soccer and basketball, playing video games, and spending time with my friends to discuss popular science topics. 

As someone who believes in gender equality, I can easily state that working in a gender-equal laboratory under the guidance of Dr. Camci-Unal and collaborating with woman scientist colleagues will add me too much during this journey and will facilitate the emerging of bright solutions perfectly!

Gökalp Kağan Kurtoğlu, MD

Hi! My name is Gokalp Kagan. My seniors and my peers call me GK. I graduated from Acıbadem University School of Medicine in June 2023. Having witnessed the struggles patients go through, I felt the need to find solutions that couldn’t be found in clinics alone. As a medical doctor passionate about organ and tissue transplantation, I decided to take a unique path to expand my skill set by studying engineering tools before continuing with any further medical specialization.

To become a well-equipped physician-scientist, I am pursuing my studies in biomaterials and tissue engineering at the UMass Lowell Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology(BMEBT) PhD Program under the guidance of Dr. Camci-Unal as of Fall 2023.

Outside of medicine and engineering, I love embracing nature by going outdoors to hike, camp, or stargaze. Also, I am a dog parent of a 4-year-old golden retriever(Rocky). We love taking long walks.

Ahmer Shehzad, MSc

Hello. I’m Ahmer Shehzad, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering and biotechnology. My academic journey commenced at the University of Engineering and Technology, where I earned my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2017. Following that, I delved into the teaching domain, serving as a Lecturer in the Biomedical Engineering department at the University of Lahore.In the spring of 2023, I proudly completed my master’s degree, specializing in bio-fabrication techniques for engineered bone tissue. My focus extended beyond bioprinting as I explored the creation of injectable hydrogels to address substantial bone defects. 

Currently, my research is at the forefront of bone tissue engineering, with a specific emphasis on oxygen-generating biomaterials. Under the mentorship of Prof. Gulden Camci Unal, I’m set to embark on a groundbreaking journey, developing innovative solutions for understanding bone biomarkers through point-of-care devices, a field that holds immense potential for the future of healthcare.My ultimate goal is to craft bone grafts and engineered bone tissue, aiming to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. 

Beyond the laboratory, I find joy in globetrotting, whipping up delightful meals, and immersing myself in diverse cultures. Cricket is my passion, adding a dash of excitement to my multifaceted life.

Surbhi Mavi, MSc

Hello! I am Surbhi Mavi and I am a passionate PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology program. I completed my master’s and bachelor’s in biology with a minor in Psychology at UMass Lowell, so I am triple RiverHawk!
I joined GCU lab under the supervision of Dr. Camci-Unal due to my research focus on human pluripotent stem cells and its applications. I gained invaluable hands-on experience at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and would like to implement it to the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine here at GCU lab.

Outside of research, I spend time playing 9-ball pool, soccer, volleyball and painting in nature. I am very excited to embark on this exciting journey and hope to make a difference!

Visiting Researchers

Aybike Reyhanli, MD

Hello! I am Aybike Reyhanli, currently working as a visiting research scholar in the Biomaterials Team under the supervision of Dr. Camci-Unal. My primary research interests focus on polymer-based drug delivery systems and biomaterials for medical applications.

I graduated from Istanbul Faculty of Medicine in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2021 and subsequently worked as a researcher in the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, and at the Harris Orthopaedics Laboratory of Harvard Medical School at Mass General Hospital in Boston, USA. 

I am interested in working at the intersection of medicine and engineering, and I am eager to enhance my skills to contribute to the quality of life for patients. Outside of the lab, I enjoy dancing, exercising, and painting.

Anesti Touma

Hi! I  am Anesti Touma a sophomore undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering at NC State University. 

I am very interested in biomedical research and regenerative engineering processes. I am very passionate about enhancing the field of medicine and tissue engineering. 

By working in Dr. Camci-Unal’s Lab I will gain experience in these topics and help further my knowledge in biomedical engineering. 

Outside of the lab, I like to hangout with friends, go to the gym, go golfing, and spend my free time going fishing. 

Undergraduate Students

Maria Eduarda Torres Gouveia

I grew up in João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil. I am currently a fourth-year undergraduate studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. 

Under Dr. Gulden Camci-Unal’s supervision, I started working with eggshell-based biomaterials. These materials generate tissue mimetics for clinical applications including regeneration of bone. I am excited to gain deeper understanding of tissue engineering and contribute positively to advances in delivery systems. I plan on going to graduate school and major in Biomedical Engineering where I can continue my research. 

Outside of the laboratory, I enjoy skiing, hiking, and travelling.

Alejandra Zambrano

My name is Alejandra Zambrano, and I am an undergraduate student majoring in Biology at UMass Lowell. 

I want to attend veterinary school and am particularly interested in translational research in veterinary medicine. Working in Dr. Camci-Unal’s lab allowed me to research gelatin-based hydrogels and contribute to future medical treatments. 

Outside of the lab, I like to dance and do various crafts. I am fluent in Spanish and want to learn American Sign Language.

Flannery Williams

Hello! My name is Flannery Williams, and I am a sophomore undergraduate student studying Chemical Engineering at UMass Lowell. I am very passionate about biomedical and pharmaceutical research. I plan on attending graduate school so that I can conduct my self-directed research in these fields. 

It has been a goal of mine since childhood to find a cure for Type I diabetes because it is a nightmare with which my father, brother, and sister live. I am incredibly grateful to be working on engineering pancreas-like tissues in Dr. Camci-Unal’s lab because this research is so closely aligned with my interests. 

You can also find me tutoring in class for Dr. Schrenk’s General Chemistry I and II classes, where I get to combine two other passions of mine: chemistry and teaching.

Tianna Monteiro

Hi there! My name is Tianna Monteiro; I am currently a third-year undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. 

Through participating in Dr.Gulden’s laboratory, I have had the chance to work with eggshell-based materials that aid in the regeneration process of bone tissue. This research is especially exciting for me as my concentration is in cell and tissue engineering. Working on projects such as these allow me to further my interest in this field while also contributing to meaningful clinical research! After graduation, my intent is to go to medical school to further my studies. 

Outside the laboratory, I enjoy hiking, knitting, baking, snowboarding, and reading.

Veronica Chea

Hello, my name is Veronica Chea, and I am an upcoming third-year undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. I am currently a Public Health major with a Health Science concentration and am planning on declaring a minor in Biology. 

By joining Dr. Camci-Unal’s research team, I am able to experience and watch as we personalize medicine and are able to reverse the effects of diseases through the development of functional biomaterials that can mimic the body’s natural tissues. 

Outside of the lab, my hobbies are snowboarding, running, and going to the beach! 

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