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Hatice Altug

Associate Professor, Boston University, USA
Country of birth: Turkey

Educational background: PhD Applied Physics, Stanford University, USA; BS Physics, Bilkent University, Turkey

Hatice Altug

Who or what inspired you to work in science/engineering?
As a child, I was quite amazed by machines and electronic tools. How easily they solved problems in our daily life just with a touch of a button, and how they worked precisely and accurately. In middle and high school, I was interested in nature and wanted to understand things at the basic level. In this respect, it was a good career path for me to do my undergrad degree in physics and PhD in applied physics. Now, I work as a professor in electrical and biomedical engineering. I am developing innovative technologies for healthcare and biology that could improve human life.

What are the primary responsibilities of your current job?
I lead a research group that works to introduce novel biochemical identification, spectroscopy, and analysis technologies that exploit fundamentally new concepts in nano-scale optics and nano-engineering. To help support my group, I get funding, recruit members, publish research papers, and give talks at scientific conferences. I help organize conferences and serve as an editor and reviewer in scientific journals. I also teach undergraduate and graduate courses, and work with outreach activities to promote science and engineering to public school students. Research and teaching in a university is very vibrant as you interact with young minds that keep you motivated and awake!

What do you wish you had known when first starting out?
Academia is a life-long challenge. Goals and challenges in your career will evolve with time. My advice to those who are starting their career is that they should be flexible and discover their creative sides. It is also important to be open-minded and aware of the exciting developments in science and technology. To be successful in science you have to be persistent while being realistic.