I also did an extensive literature search to choose

I decided to study Biomedical Engineering during the master’s level graduate admission
process, where a faculty member, Asst. Prof. Saritas considered my interests in medical imaging
and discussed with me a new imaging modality called Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI). Being
a considerably new field of study, MPI offered immense room for development. Moreover,
biomedical engineering appealed to me greatly because it offered the possibility of developing
techniques and producing solutions that may someday help people with their health care and
increase their quality of life. Considering these opportunities, I took the graduate student
position under the supervision of Asst. Prof. Saritas.
Choosing my research field, I enrolled in classes that would not only prepare me for
future graduate work but also strengthen my background in fundamental subjects. While
studying courses like Linear System Theory, Random Processes and Advanced Signal
Processing, I reviewed subjects that would assist me with the theoretical aspects of my research.
Completing courses such as Medical Imaging, Foundation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and
Digital Image Processing with high standing increased my confidence in pursuing a Ph.D. in
biomedical engineering. For these reasons, I believe that my solid background and enthusiasm
for learning will prove useful in my doctoral studies.
A solid research experience also was a highlight of my graduate career at Bilkent
University. During my M.Sc. studies, I had three stages of research. The first stage was to
implement a custom MPI simulation toolbox on MATLAB. The purpose of this topic was to
learn the theory behind MPI, mimic real-life challenges that MPI faces and implement some of
the already-found solutions to these challenges. During the first stage, I also did an extensive
literature search to choose my main research topic. Through the guidance of my supervisor and
my research interests, I decided to work on multi-color image reconstruction in MPI. This was
the second stage of my research.
The unprocessed image does not have tissue-specific contrast in MPI. That is why an
additional post-processing scheme is needed. Here, we proposed that nanoparticle relaxation
can be used to distinguish different environments or tissues, and developed an algorithm for
estimating the relaxation time constant. Proof-of-concept validation of the relaxation time
constant estimation algorithm has already been demonstrated in collaboration with another team
member, where nanoparticles in different viscosity solutions have been differentiated through
relaxation behavior. This work has been published in the journal Physics in Medicine and
Biology with the title “Relaxation-based Viscosity Mapping for Magnetic Particle Imaging”.
Then, I designed a color-image reconstruction algorithm that holds several advantages over
existing methods. This work was accepted as an oral presentation in International Workshop
on Magnetic Particle Imaging (IWMPI 2016), which is the official workshop on MPI, with the
title “Calibration-Free Color MPI”. Aside from this work, I also co-authored four more poster
presentations in IWMPI 2016.
In the third stage of my research, I built an MPI scanner, which is the first MPI scanner
in Turkey, to test the proposed algorithms in the second stage. This work was awarded with the
“Best Research/Presentation” title at the Graduate Research Conference 2017 in Bilkent
University. This stage was especially important because I had the chance to work on hardware
design and implementation. Coming from a signal processing background, I found this an
invaluable experience. After building the MPI scanner, I developed an imaging toolbox on
MATLAB. Finally, I tested the proposed color-image reconstruction algorithm. Obtaining
some conclusive results on this subject, I submitted a paper with title “Calibration-Free
Relaxation-Based Multi-Color Magnetic Particle Imaging” to IEEE Transactions on Medical
Imaging, which received positive feedbacks from the referees. Currently, I am very close to
submitting the revision of this paper. The research I conducted during my graduate studies was beneficial in many ways. First,
I had the opportunity to present my work to leading scientists in the field of MPI and receive
their feedback. Moreover, I authored and co-authored 2 journal publications (one of which is
currently under revision) and 10 conference publications in total. Secondly, but more
importantly, I have learned how to conduct research, how to address problems and solve them.
During the implementation of the MPI scanner, as the hardware components produced many
problems, I have learned firsthand not to be frustrated easily but derive motivation from the
challenges ahead of me. That is why I am confident that these invaluable research experiences
will help me throughout my Ph.D. studies.
During my graduate education, I spent considerable amount of time studying signal
processing and image reconstruction techniques for MRI. I learnt parallel imaging and
compressed sensing techniques and implemented some of the widely used image reconstruction
techniques myself (such as SENSE, GRAPPA, SPIRIT). I studied Non-Cartesian sampling and
corresponding image reconstruction, gridding techniques. Since our group conducts research
on diffusion weighted imaging, I had the chance to read attend discussions on this subject. After
studying these subjects, my motivation to study image acquisition and pulse sequence design
on MRI grew stronger. After carefully investigating the research focuses of the faculty members
and research centers, I found that Prof. Todd Constable, Prof. Dana C Peters and Prof. Michelle
Hampson’s research fields align with my research interests. Moreover, I think the multidisciplinary
structure of the Magnetic Resonance Research Center will provide me the
opportunity to both develop new image acquisition techniques and work on the clinical
applications of these techniques. That is why, I strongly believe that I will be a good fit to
research groups in MRRC.
I am highly motivated to study hard and face the challenges ahead of me. I hope you
can give me the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. at Yale University. Finally, I would like to thank
the admission committee for their time and attention.

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