Hazal Turasan

Hazal Turasan Profile Picture
Food Science

Mentor / Lab:
Dr. Jozef Kokini

Specific Research Area / Project:
Protein based biodegradable SERS biosensor platforms for the detection of food toxins an d allergens

Undergraduate Institution:
Middle East Technical University

Lab / Personal work-related websites:

Research Profile:

Extensive usage of petroleum based polymers in every aspect of life including food packaging, clothing, electronic device engineering and agricultural applications is forcing consumers to look for products made with alternative polymers that are more environmentally friendly. As scientists, it is our responsibility to find these alternative polymers that will help reduce the increasing plastic build up in the oceans. In our lab, we are focusing on engineering animal or plant based polymers into biodegradable products to be used in various food science applications. In my research, I focus on fabricating biodegradable corn protein based biosensor platforms for detecting food allergens and toxins. Corn is one of the most widely grown crops in the world and one of the major products used for ethanol production. During this ethanol production, the most abundant protein in corn, called zein, is discarded as waste. It is not a good protein source for humans since it lacks the essential amino acids. Zein, however, has excellent film and fiber forming capabilities, good mechanical stability, very low toxicity, and high biocompatibility, which makes it a perfect candidate for an alternative biodegradable ‘green’ polymer. Making electrospun nanofibers from zein creates a very high surface area which enables low detection limits and high detection sensitivity of food allergens and toxins using surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Fabrication of zein nanofiber based SERS biosensor platforms not only adds value to a waste product but also serves

as a green alternative to plastic-based biosensor platforms.

About Me:

Hazal Turasan About Me Picture

I received both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Department of Food Engineering at Middle East Technical University in Turkey. Towards the end of my undergraduate years, I began to realize how much knowledge I have gained during my undergrad and how much more I can learn if I stayed in a university for a graduate study. Graduate research programs especially amazed me because I saw how very far disciplines can come together to create new innovations. I realized that universities are truly the only places where the most innovative and craziest ideas can come true. I also always loved teaching, therefore being an academician and doing research for the rest of my life became the only option for me. With that agenda in my mind, I came to Purdue in 2014 to receive my doctoral degree from one of the most competitive programs in food science and engineering. I loved being a part of Purdue for the last five years and I will always remember the skills I have gained in Purdue in my academic life.


  • 2018 Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Fall Symposium Travel Award
  • 2017 Purdue Agriculture Graduate Student Pathmaker Award
  • Fulbright Scholarship for Ph.D. Study in US 2014-2016
  • TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) Graduate Scholarships for Turkish Citizens 201
  • 1-2013


  • Turasan, H., Cakmak, M., and Kokini, J.L. (2019). Fabrication of zeinbased electrospun nanofiber decorated with gold nanoparticles as a SERS platform. Journal of Materials Science. 54 (12), 8872-8891.
  • Yilmaz, T., Maldonado, L., Turasan, H., and Kokini, J.L. (2019). Thermodynamic mechanism of participation of sodium alginate and chitosan polyelectrolyte complexes as a function of charge ratio and order of addition. Journal of Food Engineering, 254, 42-50.
  • Fei, J., Barber, E., Turasan, H., Seo, S., Dai, R., Liu, G.L., Li, X., Bhunia, A., and Kokini, J.L. (2019). Detection of pyocyanin using a new biodegradable SERS biosensor fabricated using gold coated zein nanostructures further decorated with gold nanoparticles. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 67 (16), 4603- 4610.
  • Barber, E.A., Turasan, H., Gezer, P.G., Devina, D., Liu, G.L. and Kokini, J.L. (2018). Effect of plasticizing and crosslinking at room temperature on microstructure replication using soft lithography on zein films. Journal of Food Engineering. 250, 55-64.
  • Turasan, H., Barber, E.A., Malm, M. & Kokini, J.L. (2018). Mechanical and spectroscopic characterization of crosslinked zein films cast from solutions of acetic acid leading to a new mechanism for the crosslinking of oleic acid plasticized zein films. Food Research International, 108, 357-367. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2018.03.063
  • Turasan, H. & Kokini, J.L. (2017). Advances in Understanding the Molecular Structures and Functionalities of Biodegradable Zeinbased Materials Using Spectroscopic Techniques: A Review. Biomacromolecules, 18 (2), 331-354. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.6b01455.
  • Turasan, H., Sahin, S., & Sumnu, G. (2015). Encapsulation of rosemary essential oil. LWTFood Science and Technology, 64(1), 112–119. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.lwt.2015.05.036


  • Turasan, H., Cakmak, M., and Kokini, J.L. (2019). A plant protein based SERS biosensor platform for detection of food toxins and allergens. IFT19 Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA. Poster presentation.
  • Turasan, H., Cakmak, M., and Kokini, J.L. (2018). Creating biodegradable corn proteinbased electrospun nanofiber platforms for SERS detections. Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Fall Symposium, St. Louis, MO. Oral presentation.
  • Turasan, H., Cakmak, M., and Kokini, J.L. (2018). Fabrication and decoration of zeinbased electrospun nanofiber platforms for SERS detection. AICHe International Conference, Pittsburgh, PA. Oral presentation.
  • Yildirim, M., Turasan, H., and Kokini, J.L. (2018). The Effect of Instrumental Inertia on Large Amplitude Oscillatory Shear (LAOS) Testing of Starch Suspensions. Society of Rheology Annual Meeting, Houston, TX. Oral presentation.
  • Yildirim, M., Turasan, H., Duvarci, O. and Kokini, J.L. (2018). LAOS (Large Amplitude Oscillatory Shear) rheological characteristics of shear thickening corn starch as a model for shear thickening rheology. IFT18 Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL. Poster presentation.
  • Turasan, H., Kokini, J.L. (2017). Analyzing the Effects of Time and Crosslinker Ratio on the Mechanical Properties of Biodegradable Zein Super Gels. AICHe International Conference, Minneapolis, MS. Oral presentation.
  • Turasan, H., Barber, E.A., & Kokini, J.L. (2017). Characterization of Physical and Chemical Properties of Crosslinked Zein Films for Biodegradable Platform Formation. IFT17 Annual Meeting. Las Vegas, NV. Poster presentation
  • Turasan, H., Barber, E.A., Meiser, M. & Kokini, J.L. (2016). Analyzing the Chemical and the Physical Characteristics of Crosslinked Zein Gel Films Cast. AICHe International Conference, San Francisco, CA. Poster presentation.
  • Barber, E.A., Turasan, H., Devina, D. & Kokini, J.L. (2016). Optimized and Tested Zein Film for Utilization as an Effective SERS Sensor. AICHe International Conference, San Francisco, CA. Oral presentation.
  • Barber, E.A., Turasan, H., Rouf, T. & Kokini, J.L. (2016). Characterization of engineered biodegradable zein films for sensor-based platform production. EFFoST International Conference. Vienna, Austria. Oral presentation.
  • Sahin, S., Turasan, H. & Sumnu, G. (2014). Microencapsulation of rosemary essential oil. XXII International Conference


  • Purdue Fulbright Association President (2016-2018)
  • Purdue Fulbright Association Communications officer (2015-2016)

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