Handan Acar

Handan Acar

Postdoctoral Scholar

Contact Information

Office: (773) 702-7063
Email: hacar@uchicago.edu

5640 South Ellis Avenue
Eckhardt Research Laboratory 108
Chicago, IL 60637

Biographical Statement

Handan Acar received her B.Sc. in Gazi University in 2006 and M. Sc. In Ankara University in 2008. She obtained her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Nanotechnology in UNAM, Bilkent University in 2013, where she worked on the synthesis and characterization of self-assembling peptides and their application as templates for one-dimensional inorganic nanostructures under the supervision of Professor Mustafa O. Guler. Then she moved to Iowa to work as a postdoctoral researcher in Mechanical Engineering, at Iowa State University (2013-2014) with Professor Reza Montazami. In 2014 she joined Professor Matthew Tirrell's group as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Molecular Engineering at The University of Chicago where she is working jointly with Professor James LaBelle's group at the Pritzker School of Medicine at The University of Chicago. Her current work focuses on complex coacervate formations with novel polyelectrolytes and designing peptides as biocompatible-engineered therapeutics at the nanoscale.


Handan Acar's research aims to use non-biological interdisciplinary approaches for biological applications. One part of her research is on forming complex coacervates in organic solvents in order to expand their applications. She also focuses on designing and developing peptides that can be used both therapeutically and diagnostically, binding to target cells with high levels of specificity. Her research utilizes both chemical and biological concepts in an effort to develop cancer therapeutics. She uses chemical tools and engineering approaches, such as programmable self-assembling molecules, to understand and manipulate biological systems. These include biocompatible engineered therapeutics at the nanoscale. In the Tirrell goup, her specific interest is on designing peptide amphihile micelles for immunology and cancer therapy in collaboration with Dr. James LaBelle.


  1. "Self-assembled one-dimensional soft nanostructures," S. Toksoz, H. Acar, M. O. Guler, Soft Matter, 6, 5839-5849 (2010). [PDF]
  2. "Grating coupler integrated photodiodes for plasmon resonance based sensing," B. Turker, H. Guner, S. Ayas, O. O. Ekiz, H. Acar, M. O. Guler, A. Dana, Lab on a Chip, 11, 282-287 (2011). [PDF]
  3. "Grating coupler integrated photodiodes for plasmon resonance based sensing in fluidic systems," B. Turker, H. Guner, S. Ayas, O. O. Ekiz, H. Acar, M. O. Guler, A. Dana, 2011 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO), 1-2 (2011). [PDF]
  4. "Template-directed synthesis of silica nanotubes for explosive detection," A. Yildirim, H. Acar, T. S. Erkal, M. Bayindir, M. O. Guler, Langmuir, 3, 4159-4164 (2011). [PDF]
  5. "Self-Assembled Peptide Nanofiber Templated One-Dimensional Gold Nanostructures Exhibiting Resistive Switching," H. Acar, R. Genc, M. Urel, T. S. Erkal, A. Dana, M. O. Guler, Langmuir, 28, 16347-16354 (2012). [PDF]
  6. "Potassium persulfate-mediated preparation of conducting polypyrrole/polyacrylonitrile composite fibers: Humidity and temperature-sensing properties," H. Acar, M. Karakisla, M. Sacak, Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 125, 1977-1985 (2012). [PDF]
  7. "Preparation and characterization of conductive polypyrrole/kaolinite composites," H. Acar, M. Karakisla, M. Sacak, Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing, 16, 845-850 (2013). [PDF]
  8. "Amyloid-Like Peptide Nanofiber Templated Titania Nanostructures as Dye Sensitized Solar Cell Anodic," H. Acar, R. Garifullin, L. E. Aygun, A. K. Okyay, M. O. Guler, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 1, 10979-10984 (2013). [PDF]
  9. "Study of Physically Transient Insulating Materials for Transient and Biocompatible Electronics," H. Acar, S. Cinar, M. Thunga, M. R. Kessler, N. Hashemi, R. Montazami, Advanced Functional Materials, 24, 4135-4143 (2014). [PDF]
  10. "Cathepsin-Cleavable BIM BH3 Peptide Amphiphiles Are Potent Inducers of Cellular Apoptosis," J. Bellairs, R. Samaeekia, H. Acar, M. Tirrell, J. LaBelle, Blood, 126, 4438 (2015). [PDF]
  11. "Self-assembling peptide-based building blocks in medical applications," H. Acar, S. Srivastava, E. J. Chung, M. R. Schnorenberg, J. C. Barrett, J. L. LaBelle, M. Tirrell, Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.addr.2016.08.006 [PDF]
  12. "Cathepsin-Mediated Cleavage of Peptides from Peptide Amphiphiles Leads to Enhanced Intracellular Peptide Accumulation," H. Acar, R. Samaeekia, M. R. Schnorenberg, D. K. Sasmal, J. Huang, M. V. Tirrell, J. L. LaBelle, Bioconjugate Chem., DOI: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.7b00364 (2017). [PDF]