Dr. Pınar Zorlutuna



Title:  Dr. 
Education:  Ph.D. Biotechnology, METU, 2010 
M.Sc. Biotechnology, METU,2006
B.Sc. Biology, Ankara University, 2002
Contact: Telephone:  



Current Research Activities:


One of the major causes of death in Western societies is the diseases that affect small and medium sized blood vessels, most common among them being atherosclerosis. For reconstruction or substitution of small diameter blood vessels (< 6 mm) prosthetic vascular grafts (e.g. ePTFE or Dacron) can not be used mainly because of clogging. Therefore, in such cases autologous grafts have to be used. A functional tissue engineered vessel can be the ultimate solution to vascular reconstruction and all of the efforts for making it showed that if the natural vessel can be fully mimicked, this goal can be reached.Aim of the current study is to develop a tubular nanopatterned collagen scaffold and to assess its interaction with vascular cells in order to use in vascular tissue engineering applications.

Master Thesis Abstract:


Cornea is the outermost layer of the eye and has an important role in vision. Damage of cornea due to injuries or infections could lead to blindness lowering the quality of life of the patient severely. In such cases, transplantation or artificial corneas have been used for treatment but both had drawbacks. The novel approach for corneal replacements is the tissue engineering of the cornea, a promising method which would be free of these drawbacks, if successful. In this study, carriers for tissue engineering of the cornea were designed and tested in vitro. Blends of biodegradable and biocompatible polyesters of natural (PHBV8) and synthetic (PLLA) origin were used to construct these carriers. For the epithelial layer of the cornea, PLLA-PHBV8 micropatterned films were prepared with solvent casting and seeded with D407 (retinal pigment epithelial) cells. In order to achieve proper cell growth, the films were coated with fibronectin. For the stromal layer of the cornea, highly porous foams of PLLA-PHBV8 were prepared by lyophilization and seeded with 3T3 cells (fibroblasts). A new approach was developed to create a combination of the film and the foam to obtain a surface patterned, 3 dimensional cell carrier. These carriers were seeded with Saos-2 cells (osteosarcoma cells) in the preliminary optimization studies and with D407 and 3T3 cells in further studies. The cell numbers on the carriers were quantified by using MTS assay (non-radioactive cell proliferation assay) and the cell proliferation on polymeric carriers was significantly higher than that of control (Tissue culture polystyrene) by the day 14. Characterization of these cells and the carrier was done using a variety of microscopic methods. The micrographs showed that the foam had a highly porous structure and the pores were interconnected. 3T3 cells were found to be distributed quite homogeneously at the seeding site, but due to the high thickness of the foam, the cells could not sufficiently populate the core (central parts of the foam) during the given incubation time. The micropatterned film allowed multilayer formation of D407 cells. The functionality of the cells seeded on the carriers was examined by immunohistochemistry. These analyses proved that the cells retained their phenotype during culturing. D407 cells formed tight junctions characteristic of epithelial cells, and 3T3 cells deposited collagen type I into the foams. Based on the results, it can be concluded that the 3-D PLLA-PHBV8 construct with surface patterns have a serious potential for use as a tissue engineering carrier for the reconstruction of the cornea.


Selected Publications:

  • P. Zorlutuna, Z. Rong, P. Vadgama and V. Hasirci, Influence of Nanopatterns on Endothelial Cell Adhesion: Enhanced Cell Retention under Shear Stress, Acta Biomaterialia, in press.
  • P.Zorlutuna, P.Yılgör, F.B.Başmanav, V.Hasırcı, Biomaterials and tissue engineering research in Turkey: The METU Biomat Center experience, Biotechnology Journal, DOI 10.1002/biot.200800335, 2009.
  • P. Zorlutuna, A. Elsheikh and V. Hasirci, Nanopatterning of Collagen Scaffolds Improve the Mechanical Properties of Tissue Engineered Vascular Grafts, Biomacromolecules , 10 (4), 814-821, 2009.
  • P. Zorlutuna, N. Hasirci, V. Hasirci,Nanopatterned collagen tubes for vascular tissue engineering, J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2(6): 373-377, 2008.
  • C. Ozcan, P. Zorlutuna, V. Hasirci, N. Hasirci, Influence of Oxygen Plasma Modification on Surface Free Energy of PMMA Films and Cell Attachment, Macromol. Symp. 269: 128-137, 2008.
  • P. Zorlutuna, A.Tezcaner, V. Hasirci, A Novel Construct as a Cell Carrier for Tissue Engineering, J Biomater Sci Polym Ed.19(3): 399-410, 2008.
  • V Hasirci, N.E. Vrana, P. Zorlutuna, Polyester and collagen scaffolds for cornea tissue engineering, Tissue Engineering, 13 (7): 1743-1743, 2007.
  • P. Zorlutuna, N. Builles, O. Damour, A. Elsheikh and V. Hasirci, Influence of keratocytes and retinal pigment epithelial cells on the mechanical properties of polyester-based tissue engineering micropatterned films Biomaterials 28 (24):3489-3496, 2007.
  • V. Hasirci, E. Vrana, P.  Zorlutuna, A. Ndreu, P. Yilgor, B. Basmanav, E. Aydin, Nanobiomaterials; A review of the existing science and technology, and new approaches, J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 17(11):1241-68, 2006.
  • P. Zorlutuna, A.Tezcaner, I. Kiyat, A. Aydinli, V. Hasirci, Cornea engineering on polyester carriers. J Biomed Mater Res A. 79(1):104-13, 2006.


  • ACS2009, American Chemical Society 2009 National Meeting and Exposition, Collagen and polyester-based scaffolds for tissue engineering,V. Hasırcı, H. Kenar, D. Yücel, P. Zorlutuna, P. Yılgör, G. Köse, N. Hasırcı. 22-26 March, 2009 Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • TERMIS-EU Meeting,Porto, PortugalEffect of Blood-like nano/micro bioactive molecule loaded particle suspension on the behaviour of PVA-based hydrogels under pulsatile flow conditions,N.Engin Vrana, Y. Liu, P. Zorlutuna. 22-26 June 2008 (SYIS Project proposal, Oral Presentation)
  • TERMIS-EU Meeting, Porto, Portugal,Controlling the vascular smooth muscle cell phenotype in photopolymerisable electrospun nanofibrous mats by microenvironmental mechanical changes,N.Engin Vrana, Y. Liu, P. Zorlutuna.2008, 22-26 June 2008. (SYIS Project proposal, Oral Presentation)
  • WBC2008, 8th World Biomaterial Congress, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Nanopatterned Collagen Films for Vascular Tissue Engineering.P. Zorlutuna, N. Hasirci, V. Hasirici. 28 May-1June 2008 (Poster Presentation).
  • International Workshop on Nanobiotechnology and Genome technologies, Antalya, Turkey. Polymeric Nanobiomaterials in Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering. V.Hasirci, H.Kenar, D.Yucel, P. Zorlutuna, P. Yilgor, B. Basmanav, B. Bayyurt, A. Ndreu, G. Torun Kose, N. Hasirci. October 31- November 3, 2007(Oral Presentation).
  • ESBP2007, 4thEuropean Symposium on Biopolymers, Kusadası, Turkey, Oral Presentation:Effects of Plasma Surface Modificationon Surface Free Energy and Cell Attachment, C.Ozcan, P.Zorlutuna, V. Hasirci,N. Hasirci, 2-4 October 2007 (Oral Presentation).
  • ESB2007, 21th European Symposium on Biomaterials, Brighton, UK, Poster Presentation: Influence of Keratocytes and RPE Cells  on the Mechanical Properties of Polyester-Based Tissue Engineering Scaffolds, P. Zorlutuna, N. Builles, O. Damour, A. Elsheikh, V. Hasirci, 9-13 September 2007 (Poster Presentation).
  • TERMIS-EU 2007, London, UK Polyester and Collagen Scaffolds for Cornea Tissue Engineering, Oral Presentation: Vasif Hasirci, N. Engin Vrana, Pinar Zorlutuna, 4-7 September 2007 (Oral Presentation).
  • BIOMED2007, 13th International Symposium on Biomedical Science and Technology Istanbul, Turkey, Poster Presentation: Design and Construction of A Tubular Collagen Scaffold, P. Zorlutuna, N. Hasirci, V. Hasirci, 26-28 August 2007 (Poster Presentation).
  • BIOMED2007, 13th International Symposium on Biomedical Science and Technology Istanbul, Turkey, Poster Presentation: Bone Tissue Engineering Potential of Poly( caprolactone) Films and Foams, G.Gurel, P.Yılgor, P.Zorlutuna, V.Hasirci, 26-28 August, 2007 (Poster Presentation).    
  • ESB2005, 19th European Symposium on Biomaterials, Sorrento, Italy, Poster Presentation: Cornea Engineering on Biodegradable Polyesters, P. Zorlutuna, A.Tezcaner, V. Hasırcı, 11-15 September, 2005(Poster Presentation). Best Poster Award.
  • BIOMED2004, 11th International Symposium on Biomedical Science and Technology Ankara, Turkey, Poster Presentation: Cornea Engineering Using Biodegradable Polymeric Carriers P. Zorlutuna, A. Tezcaner, V. Hasirci, 6-10 September 2004 (Poster Presentation).


Patent Application

  •  V. Hasirci, E. Vrana, P. Zorlutuna, Stacked, Patterned Biomaterials and/or Tissue Engineering Scaffolds, Türk Patent Enstitüsü, ApplicationMarch 15, 2007



  • ESB2007, European Society for Biomaterials Rudolfs Cimdins Travel Award, 2007
  • METU School of Natural and Applied Sciences (Graduate School) Thesis of the Year Award, Cornea Engineering on Biodegradable Polyesters, 2006.
  • ESB2005, Best Poster Award: Cornea Engineering on Biodegradable Polyesters, P. Zorlutuna, A.Tezcaner, V. Hasırcı, 2005.