Gözde Durmuş develops a method to characterize cells

It takes seeing whether a patient heals or worsens, or the time for a cell to grow, to understand if cells are dying, or basically cancerous. Gözde Durmuş (30), Turkish female scientist in Stanford, invented a simple method for this assessment, leading to her acknowledgement as one of the 35 Innovators Under 35 by the MIT Technology Review.

Indeed, Durmuş’s invention is revolutionary – she relies on the physical characteristics of cells in her methodology: she observes how long a cell rises when they are in a magnetic field. The key finding of Durmuş is about the characteristics of a bacterial cell: “when a bacterial cell has responded to an antibiotic, it tends not to rise as high in the magnetic field as it did before.” (MIT Technology Review, 2015) Considering that each bacteria and type of cell rise to a particular height under magnetic forces due to their densities, Gözde’s methodology allows to understand whether a cell responds to antibiotic or not – in less than an hour.

Another key invention of Durmuş relates to the way she levitates cell: while levitation used to be possible with toxic magnetic solvents, Durmuş invented a way to levitate cells without using toxic materials, but only with some magnets and plastics.

Durmuş knew about the importance of personalized drug monitoring through her own experience: As a child in İzmir, Turkey, Durmuş had a long-lasting bacterial infection, and had to undergo an inffective and painful treatment. She received her B.S. from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, Master of Engineering from Boston University, and Ph.D. from Brown University.