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Atakan Varol

ARMS Lab Director/ Chair and Full Professor of Robotics


  • PhD, Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2009
  • MSc, Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2007
  • BSc, Mechatronics Engineering, Sabanci University, 2005


Dr. Varol is the department chair and associate professor of robotics at Nazarbayev University’s School of Science and Technology. He received his BS degree in mechatronics engineering from Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey, in 2005. He received the MS and PhD degrees both in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA, in 2007 and 2009, respectively. From August 2009 to August 2011, he was first a postdoctoral research associate and then a research assistant professor with the Center for Intelligent Mechatronics, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.

In 2011, he joined the faculty of Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan, as a founding associate professor of robotics, where he currently chairs the department and directs the Advanced Robotics and Mechatronics Systems (ARMS) Laboratory. His research interests include design and control of biomechatronic systems, variable impedance actuation, machine learning, and embedded systems. He has published more than 50 technical papers on related topics in reputable international journals and conferences. He holds multiple international patents in the area of bionics. He has attracted multiple competitively-funded research grants from Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, World Bank and Nazarbayev University Research Fund.

Dr. Varol was a finalist for the KUKA Innovation Award in 2014. He was also the recipient of the IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics Best Paper Award in 2009 and IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Outstanding Paper Award in 2013. Dr. Varol, a senior member of IEEE, is a technical editor of IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics and serves as a reviewer for various journals, conferences and funding agencies.