aylin acun

Aylin Acun, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Bioengineering (2018)
    University of Notre Dame (IN)
  • MSc, Biotechnology (2013)
    Middle East Technical University (Turkey)
  • BSc, Biology (2010)
    Middle East Technical University (Turkey)

About Me

Since I learned about tissue engineering for the first time in high school, I have been fascinated by the field and its future applications. With that enthusiasm I received my BS degree in Biological Sciences followed by MS degree in Biotechnology where I developed engineered cornea substitutes. Then I joined the Bioengineering Graduate Program at University of Notre Dame to receive my PhD where my studies focused on developing young and aged heart tissue and disease models for studying heart attack and reperfusion injury conditions and understanding the role of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in stress conditions.

After earning my Ph.D. degree I joined Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgery (CEMS) at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston as a postdoctoral research fellow. There I developed large-scale, vascularized tissue and organ substitutes for clinical applications. My research specifically focused on development of whole liver substitutes for transplantation and vascularized skin substitutes for treating large skin defects using decellularization technique.

As an Assistant Professor my goal is to use my expertise and enthusiasm for biomedical engineering in helping the education of next generation of scientists and engineers. I aim to engage students in the fascinating field of biomedical engineering and introduce them to the many amazing current and future applications of it.

Research Interests

I am interested in understanding the inter-organ communication with relation to age-related systemic diseases. I aim to study organ-organ interactions through developing healthy and diseased 2-D and 3-D tissue models representing young vs. aged, and healthy vs. diseased phenotypes of different organs. My primary interest is to develop heart and liver tissues as these two major organs have many co-pathologies yet the effect of one organ's disease conditions on the other is not well-known.


  •  A. Acun, R. Oganesyan, H. Yeh, K. Uygun, M.L. Yarmush, B.E. Uygun (2021). Liver donor age affects hepatocyte function through age-dependent changes in decellularized liver matrix. Biomaterials. 270:120689.
  • A. Acun, & P. Zorlutuna (2019). CRISPR/Cas9 edited hiPSC-based vascular tissues to model aging and disease-dependent impairment. Tissue Engineering Part A. 25(9-10):759-772
  • A. Acun, T.D. Nguyen, P. Zorlutuna (2019). In vitro aged, hiPSC-origin engineered heart tissue models with age-dependent functional deterioration to study myocardial infarction. Acta Biomaterialia. 94:372-391

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)


  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston (2019-2021)
  • 2nd International Conference on Stem Cells Student Travel Award, Aegean Conferences, Rhodes, Greece (2017)