Sinan Keten

Ph.D Candidate

Office: 1-131
Phone number: 617-452-3438
Fax: 617-324-4014

Research Focus

My research is focused on multi-scale modeling of the size dependent mechanical properties of β - structures in protein materials. Beta-sheet and beta-solenoid nanostructures are commonly found in spider silk, extra-cellular matrix, muscle tissue, virulence factors and amyloid fibrils. These fibrous materials exhibit exceptional mechanical properties that derive from size and scale dependent features extending from nano to macro. I’m particularly interested in exploring the handshaking between weak chemical bonds that constitute biomolecules and their precise ultrastructural features to elucidate biological material design principles for achieving high strength, toughness, adaptability and robustness. Improving current understanding of the self-assembly (association) and fracture (dissociation) processes in proteins is fundamental for progress in biophysics and medicine, and also sets the stage for developing novel biological / biomimetic materials for a myriad of applications in engineering.


2006 - Present: Ph.D. Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT
2005 - 2006 M.Eng, Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT
2001 - 2005 B.S. in Civil Engineering, Bogazici University, Turkey


  • NSF TeraGrid Medium Resource Allocations Committee (MRAC) Supercomputing Grant, 2008
  • MIT Presidential Graduate Fellowship 2006-2007
  • MIT Emerson Music Scholarship 2007-2009
  • Philip Loew Memorial Award for creative accomplishment in music, 2008


  • M.J. Buehler, S. Keten, T. Ackbarow, "Theoretical and computational hierarchical nanomechanics of protein materials: Deformation and fracture", Progress in Materials Science, Volume 53, Issue 8, 2008, pp. 1101-1241
  • M.J. Buehler, S. Keten, "Elasticity, strength and resilience: a comparative study on mechanical signatures of α-helix, β-sheet and tropocollagen domains", Nano Research Vol. 1(1), pp. 63-71, 2008
  • S. Keten and M.J. Buehler, "Asymptotic strength limit of hydrogen bond assemblies in proteins at vanishing pulling rates", Physical Review Letters Vol. 100, paper number 198301, 2008
  • S. Keten and M.J. Buehler, "Geometric confinement governs the rupture strength of H-bond assemblies at a critical length scale", Nano Letters, Vol. 8(2), 2008
  • S. Keten, M.J. Buehler, "Large deformation and fracture mechanics of a beta-helical protein nanotube: Atomistic and continuum modeling", Computer Methods In Applied Mechanics And Engineering, Vol. 197 (41-42), pp. 3203-3214, 2008
  • T. Ackbarow, X. Cheng, S. Keten and M.J. Buehler, "Hierarchies, multiple energy barriers and robustness govern the fracture mechanics of alpha-helical and beta-sheet protein domains ", Proc . Nat'l Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 104(42) pp. 16410-16415, 2007
  • H. Lus, C.O. Aydin, S. Keten, H. Unsal, A.R. Atilgan, "El Farol Revisited", Physica A-Statistical Mechanics And Its Applications, Vol. 346 (3-4) pp. 651-656, 2005


Copyright (c) 1999-2008 Markus J. Buehler. All rights reserved.