Canan Dağdeviren: “Follow your dream because life is too short to follow someone else’s”

By Nicole Kilian

Canan Dağdeviren is certainly one of the most inspiring people you will ever meet. Born and raised in the Asian part of Istanbul, Turkey, she was introduced to science at an early age, which sparked a lifelong passion.

As a principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, Dağdeviren strives to “decode” different physical patterns, such as heartbeats or changes in body temperature, that define a functioning human body. In order to do that, her laboratory builds devices worn on clothing or directly applied to the target organ. These devices can be used to immediately inform the individual about a concerning biological change, which might indicate ailment or disease, and even intervene by administering medications for instant, personalized treatment.

Besides her impressive research career, Dağdeviren is also a fierce advocate for women in science and imagines a world where science is accessible for everyone. She has therefore fused this ambition with her love for art, curating an art exhibition called the “Bees of Science” together with her students to showcase the work from her courses and lab, and has created a transparent cleanroom named the “YellowBox”, which allows 24/7 visual access for those interested — you can even sneak a peak online through her group’s YouTube channel.

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