Spring ’24 Department Seminars with Dr. Berkant Yetişkin

Speaker: Dr. Berkant Yetişkin

Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, Massachusetts, United States

Date: March 26, Tuesday

Time: 17:30

Place: Zoom


Polymeric gels are 3-dimensional (3D), soft, semisolid materials comprising crosslinked polymer chains swollen by a solvent. By changing the synthesis conditions, different polymeric gels (e.g., hydrogels, organogels) that are suitable for various applications can be fabricated. For instance, hydrogels manufactured using biocompatible polymers are great candidates for tissue engineering applications due to their high-water content, and similarities to the extracellular matrix. However, traditional gels suffer from low mechanical properties owing to the lack of an efficient energy dissipation mechanism along the gel network. To improve the mechanical properties of polymeric gels, some strategies have been developed. Among them, cryogelation has drawn significant attention as it provides the fabrication of “cryogels” which are unique materials combining extraordinary mechanical properties with interconnected porous morphology. In this seminar, I will mainly talk about porous cryogels based on natural and synthetic polymers for tissue engineering and environmental applications . I will also show how a cryogel can be a precursor scaffold to manufacture smart materials with adaptive mechanical properties and shape-memory ability. Besides, I will discuss the main properties of DNA hydrogels, which are 3D macroscopic materials that have the characteristic properties of the DNA such as molecular recognition and selective binding. Since they also generally suffer from low mechanical properties, I will suggest novel strategies to manufacture mechanically tough DNA hydrogels with shape-memory and self-healing abilities to broaden their application areas.

Short Biography of the Speaker:

Dr. Berkant Yetişkin is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Chemistry. He received his BSc and MSc degrees from Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University (COMU) and Istanbul Technical University (ITU), respectively. He also received his PhD degree from ITU, and he was awarded the “2021 Doctorate Special Award” by ITU for his PhD thesis, which was mainly related to silk fibroin and butyl rubber cryogels. His research has focused on developing mechanically tough and smart/stimuli- responsive polymeric materials for various applications from tissue engineering to environmental applications.