20 May 2021
Honorary Doctorate to Our Graduate Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner
Istanbul Technical University (ITU) Faculty of Mechanical Engineering 1983 graduate Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner was awarded the “honorary doctor” title by the ITU Senate for his great contributions to the advancement of science and technology in the world and in our country and his significant achievements at the international level.
News: İTÜ Media and Communication Office
The ceremony held at Süleyman Demirel Cultural Center in ITU Ayazağa Campus was viewed by the guests over ITU’s YouTube channel. At the ceremony delayed for one year due to the pandemic, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner received his diploma from ITU Rector Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu and wore his gown. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner is known in the international scientific community for his successful studies especially in the field of cancer treatment.
The ceremony started with a mini concert of the ITU Turkish Music State Conservatory (ITU TMSC), and after a moment of silence and the Turkish National Anthem, the speeches were given.
“Adopting a multidisciplinary approach in science is important for success”
ITU Rector Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu started his speech by commemorating ITU Secretary-General Prof. Dr. İbrahim Demir, who has recently passed away. Giving information about our graduate Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner, Koyuncu said that adopting a multidisciplinary approach in science and working with such a perspective affects success to a great extent. Koyuncu said, “With his diverse activities and scientific studies in engineering, medicine and biology fields in his scientific journey, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner actually proves this once again: Adopting a multidisciplinary approach in science and working with such a perspective affects success to a great extent. We, as ITU, wish that he adds new ones to his achievements. As Istanbul Technical University Senate, we present honorary doctorate to esteemed Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner for his great contributions to the advancement of science and technology in the world and in our country and his significant achievements at the international level, with regard to our decision no. 703, dated May 27, 2019.”
“My best failure was to enter ITU Mechanical Engineering Department”
Saying that last year was a very difficult time due to the pandemic and everyone lost a loved one in some way, our graduate Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner expressed his condolences to the relatives of the deceased and the University. Toner, who started by thanking the ITU community that made him feel such a pride, told about his ITU journey as follows: “There were no doctors in our family. I always wanted to be a doctor, a surgeon. It was a very difficult exam. I couldn’t enter the medical school in that exam. The Mechanical Engineering Department had been opened that year. 8-10 professors from Gümüşsuyu had opened a new department at Maçka. In its first year, its required scores were low, so my score was enough for Maçka Mechanical Engineering. I didn’t know what it is to be a mechanical engineer; there were no engineers in our family. Maybe my best failure was to enter ITU Mechanical Engineering Department. There I had two very worthy professors who taught the significance and beauty of learning. Of course all the professors were worthy, but especially the two of them took me under their wings. Professor Aksel Öztürk is now in New York. He established an ecosystem there within the Heat Transfer of Thermodynamics Department. Within this ecosystem was Professor Abdurrahman Kılıç, who is here today. You should have people other than your family who touch your life. These people will change your direction with both their hearts and their minds. I call them ‘My Angels’. These two professors are the reason my star shone at the Technical University.”
“A scientist deals with the unknown”
Saying that a scientist strives to find the truth, Toner also told how his life and interests changed over time after his admission to MIT. “From the first day I started university, my professors directed me to science. They excited me so much with their work that I discovered the potential within me. Although I did not concentrate on mechanical engineering, I had the opportunity to further improve myself by moving on to the fields of medicine and biology. By the way, ITU made great contributions, of course.” Toner finished his speech by thanking those who contributed to the honorary doctorate ceremony.
Who is Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner?
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner’s scientific journey started at ITU. After graduating from ITU Mechanical Engineering Department in 1983, he completed his master’s at MIT in 1985 and his Ph.D. in Medical Engineering in 1989. Right after receiving his Ph.D., Toner started to work at Harvard Medical School as an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering; he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1996 and to Professor in 2002.
He was awarded three times by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME): In 1994, he received the YC Fung Faculty Award, in 2013 H.R. Lissner Medal for his contributions to the field of bioengineering and 2020 Savio-Woo Medal for his applied studies. In addition, he was invited to the “Microfluidics” meeting held by the Nobel Committee in 2017.
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Toner has a well-deserved reputation in the international community, especially for his studies in the field of cancer treatment. He has over 60 patents, more than 350 scientific publications. Moreover, he has given over 400 conferences. He is in the scientific advisory boards of various biotechnology and medical device companies as well as the founder of many start-up companies.