Burcu Celikkol

-Short Biography-

Burcu received her materials science and engineering degree from Istanbul Technical University, Turkey in 2008. After internships in different fields of industry and research, she was drawn to a specialization in materials for biotechnological applications as she pursued her master’s studies in Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland. During her master’s project in EPFL she worked on developing an experimental setup to measure heat dissipation of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for magnetically induced hyperthermia applications. Upon graduation in 2010, she decided to join Nanobiophysics group in University of Twente to work on biophysical approaches to manipulate live cells using magnetic nanoparticles.

-Contact Information -

Burcu Celikkol (MSc)


University of Twente

MIRA Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine

FOM Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter

Zuidhorst ZH165

Drienerlolaan 5

7522 NB  Enschede, the Netherlands

PO-box 217

7500AE Enschede, the Netherlands

P +31-(0)53-489-3701

F +31-(0)53-489-1105

-Own Research in NBP-

TOPIC: Local Manipulation of Receptor Aggregation States Using Magnetic Nanoparticles

The objective of my project is to develop a biophysical method that allows active manipulation of individual receptor proteins on living cells.

Magnetic tweezers are used as biophysical tools to manipulate magnetic particles with the help of a magnetic field gradient. The proposed method uses magnetic tweezers to create and direct a magnetic field onto magnetic nanoparticles that are attached to membrane receptors, resulting in clustering of both the nanoparticles and receptors. For many cell types, clustering of membrane receptors is considered to be one of the initial steps of cell activation while the formation and organization of these clusters remain open questions.

Figure 1: Schematic representation of nanomagnetic actuation method applied to membrane associated proteins. (a) Magnetic nanoparticles are coupled to proteins. (b) When external magnetic field is applied to the membrane, attractive forces between magnetic dipoles induce aggregation (c) When orientation of magnetic field is perpendicular, induced dipoles repel each other and result in unaggregated state. (d) Local aggregation can also be achieved by applying spatially confined magnetic gradient

By finding out the extent and pattern of clustering required for cell activation, this method will provide a tool that can be used to reversibly switch the cells from inactive to active states and will help gain insight on downstream events of cell activation and cell signaling.

Publications of interest

(Means publications that either describe your work or your own)


R. J. Mannix, S. Kumar, F. Cassiola, M. Montoya-Zavala, E. Feinstein, M. Prentiss, and D. E. Ingber. Nano-magnetic actuation of receptor-mediated signal transduction. Nature Nanotechnology, 3:36-40, 2008.


J.-H. Lee, E. S. Kim, H. Cho, M. Son, S.-I. Yeon, J.-S. Shin, and J. Cheon. Artificial control of cell signaling and growth by magnetic nanoparticles. Angewandte Chemie, 122(33):5834{ 5838, 2010.