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Mehmet Fatih Yanik, Ph.D.

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Associate Professor

Room 36-834
617-253-1583 (phone)
617-324-3554 (fax)


Dr. Yanik is currently Ast. Prof. at the Department of Electrical Engineering, and member of Computational and Systems Biology Program at MIT. His expertise is in nanophotonics, bioengineering and neurobiology. He earned B.S. and M.S degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics at MIT, where his thesis work with Rajeev Ram on ultrafast spectroscopy received MIT-Chorafas Award. He briefly worked on Quantum Computing at Xerox Parc and on Molecular Electronics at HP Labs with Stanley Williams. At Stanford University, he received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics in Shanhui Fan's group as an Intel Fellow, and completed a short postdoctoral work in Stanford Bioengineering and Neurosurgery Departments with Steve Quake and Theo Palmer. He invented the all-optical on-chip photon storage, which was selected among the top ten research advances of the year by the Technology Research News Magazine in 2004. His work on nano-photonic devices was awarded the first place in the Innovator's Challenge Competition in Silicon Valley in 2004. He is selected the "The Outstanding Young Person" by Junior Chamber International's Branch and also as “One of world's top 35 innovators under age 35” by Technology Review Magazine. Dr. Yanik's group demonstrated the first high-throughput whole-animal screening technology. He recently received NIH Director's New Innovator Award, and Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering. Our studies on stopping light, femtosecond laser nano-surgery, neural regeneration and high-throughput microfluidics received press reviews in several news media including The Economist, Nature, Scientific American Mind, New Scientist, Biophotonics International, Laser Focus World, Photonics Spectra, Technology Research News, and several others.

Research Summary

Technologies for regenerative neurobiology. Neural regeneration and complex wiring of neuronal networks are probed and manipulated using various technologies including microfluidics, femtosecond laser microsurgery, and 3D multi-photon imaging. Development of novel drug and genetic screening and discovery platforms. Both animal and cell culture models employed ranging from C. elegans and zebrafish to embryonic-stem-cell derived neurons.

Selected Publications

  • "Microfluidic immobilization of physiolologically active C. elegans", Rohde, C. B., Gilleland, C., Zeng, F., Yanik, M. F., Nature Protocols, 5, 1888 (2010).
  • "Large-scale in vivo femtosecond laser neurosurgery screen reveals small-molecule enhancer of regeneration", Samara, C., Rohde, C. B., Gilleland, C., Norton, S., Haggarty, S., Yanik, M. F., PNAS, Oct. 2010.
    See also "Worm surgery on a chip", Nature, Oct 2010.
  • "High-throughput in vivo vertebrate screening", Pardo-Martin, C., Chang, T.-Y., Koo, B., Gilleland, C., Wasserman, S., Yanik, M. F., Nature Methods 7, 634 (July 19th 2010).
    See also "Fishing at cellular level", Nature Methods, Aug 2010.
  • "Innate Immune Suppression Enables Frequent Transfection with RNA Encoding Reprogramming Proteins", Angel, M., Yanik, M. F., PLoS ONE, 5, e11756 (2010).
    See also "Synthetic mRNAs: Powerful Tools for Reprogramming and Differentiation of Human Cells", Cell Stem Cell 7, November 5 (2010).
    Our pending PATENT on mRNA reprogramming is now licensed by STEMGENT INC.
  • "Construction of a femtosecond laser microsurgery system", Steinmeyer, J., Gilleland, C., Pardo, C., Angel, M., and M. F. Yanik, Nature Protocols 5, 395 (2010).
  • "Large-scale analysis of neurite growth dynamics on micropatterned substrates", Wissner-Gross, Z. D., Scott, M. A., Ku, D., Ramaswamy, P., Yanik, M. F., Integrative Biology, Oct 2010.
  • "Noninvasive electron microscopy with interaction-free quantum measurements", B. Putnam, M. F. Yanik, Phys. Rev. - Rapid Communications, 2009.
  • "Sub-cellular precision on-chip small-animal immobilization, multi-photon imaging and femtosecond laser manipulation", F. Zeng, C.B. Rohde, M.F. Yanik, Lab on Chip (April 3rd, 2008). Supplementary Movie and Supplementary Data. Selected as HOT ARTICLE.
  • “Towards Gecko-feet Inspired Bandages” Yanik, M.F., Trends in Biotechnology 27, 1 (2008).

Last Updated: January 20, 2011