Professor Metin Sitti

Soft Robotics Theme Leader, MPIIS

Prof. Dr. Metin Sitti is the director of the Physical Intelligence Department at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart, Germany since 2014. As his current ancillary academic positions, he is a professor in Institute for Biomedical Engineering at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, professor in School of Medicine and College of Engineering at Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey, and honorary professor in SimTech at University of Stuttgart, Germany. He was a professor in Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA (2002-2014) and a research scientist and lecturer in Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at University of California at Berkeley, USA (1999-2002). He received BSc (1992) and MSc (1994) degrees in electrical and electronics engineering from Boğaziçi University, Turkey, and PhD degree (1999) in electrical engineering from the University of Tokyo, Japan.

He has pioneered many research areas, including wireless miniature medical soft robots, gecko-inspired microfiber adhesives, bio-inspired miniature robots, and physical intelligence. He is an IEEE Fellow, European Center for Living Technology Fellow, member of Turkish Academy of Sciences, and member of Turkish American Scientists and Scholars Association (TASSA). As selected awards, he was named as a Highly Cited Researcher (2021), and he received Breakthrough of the Year Award in Engineering and Technology Category in Falling Walls World Science Summit (2020), ERC Advanced Grant (2019), Rahmi Koç Medal of Science (2018), Best Paper Award in Robotics Science and Systems Conference (2019), IEEE/ASME Best Mechatronics Paper Award (2014), SPIE Nanoengineering Pioneer Award (2011), Best Paper Award in the IEEE/RSJ Intelligent Robots and Systems Conference (1998, 2009), and NSF CAREER Award (2005).

He has served as the Managing Director of MPI-IS during 2015-2017 and since 2021. He was an executive board member of International Max Planck Research School on Intelligent Systems (2017-2020) and member of Perspectives Committee of Max Planck Society (2019-2021). Also, has been an executive board member of Max Planck-ETH Center for Learning Systems since 2015. He is the editor-in-chief of both Progress in Biomedical Engineering and Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics journals, and an associate editor of both Science Advances and Extreme Mechanics Letters journals.

Prof. Sitti has published 2 books and over 470 peer-reviewed papers, over 325 of which have appeared in archival journals. These papers have been cited over 35,000 times in Google Scholar (h-index: 99). His group’s research breakthroughs have been featured in the popular press, such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, Economist, Der Spiegel, Forbes, Science, New Scientist, Science News, Nature News, MIT Technology Review, and IEEE Spectrum Magazine. He has given over 220 invited keynote, plenary or distinguished seminars in universities, conferences and industry. He has over 12 issued patents and over 16 pending patents. He founded a startup (Setex Technologies Inc.) in Pittsburgh, USA in 2012 to commercialize his lab’s gecko-inspired microfiber adhesive technology as a new disruptive adhesive material (branded as Setex®) for a wide range of consumer and industrial applications.

His group is one of the core research partners of the Max Planck-Queensland Center for Materials Science of Extracellular Matrices, Max Plank–University of Toronto Centre for Neural Science and Technology, Max Planck-ETH Center for Learning Systems, Cyber Valley, European Centre for Living Technology, DFG Cluster of Excellence IntCDC, DFG Soft Robotics Material SPP2100 Program, DFG SPP2311 Program, and EU SOMIRO Project.

He has supervised and mentored over 67 (26 current) PhD students and 70 (18 current) postdoctoral researchers since 2002. Over 45 of his lab alumni became a faculty or group leader at Cornell, UMich, Mayo Clinic, UIUC, Vanderbilt, Tufts, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, WPI, ASU, LSU, Texas Tech (USA); Toronto, Waterloo, McMaster (Canada); ETH Zurich, EMPA (Switzerland); MPI-IS, TUM (Germany); NTU (Singapore); Tampere (Finland); Bilkent, Hacettepe (Turkey); Sheffield, Heriot-Watt (UK); Delft, Wageningen (Netherlands); KIST, Hanyang, PNU, Korea (S. Korea); UMich-SJJI, CityU, Tongji, BIT (China); etc. Moreover, over 25 of his lab alumni are working in industry as senior researchers at Intuitive Surgical, Apple, Intel, Google, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, McKinsey & Company, BostonDynamics, Schlumberger, 3M, Proprio Vision, Arete Associates, nanoGriptech, etc.


View his research publications.