Dr. Istem Özen studied Chemical Engineering (B.S., 1998 and M.S., 2001) at Middle East Technical University, Ankara and Materials Science (Ph.D., 2006) at Sabancı University, Istanbul. Her main research areas have been heterogeneous photo-catalysis, structure and residual stress control in metal oxide thin films, and inorganic nano-structure growth. Through her work, she received several student research awards and fellowships. From 1998 to 2007, she taught several physics, chemistry, astronomy and engineering courses as a teaching assistant.
From 2007 to 2010 she worked as the founding leader of the applied research group and the instrumental analysis laboratory at Kalekim, Istanbul. There she led research projects for industrial applications, established university-industry collaborations, acquired third-party research funding and co-supervised both product development and Ph. D.-level academic research.
In 2010 she moved to Italy on an IAEA/SESAME Synchrotron Beamline User Training scholarship followed by an ICTP-TRIL research fellowship, and participated in several materials research projects at Sincrotrone Trieste and TASC-CNR/IOM National Laboratory, mostly on implementation of metal oxide structures in photovoltaic systems.
After a career break, she joined the Eder Research Group at the Institute of Materials Chemistry at TU Wien in October 2019. She is currently involved in structural characterization of metal-based co-catalysts in relation to their photocatalytic activity, and designing synchrotron-based experiments for that aim.
In parallel, she is a part of the scientific team of the Austrian Space Forum and their analog space mission simulations since 2018. She is also currently pursuing an M.A. degree at the Department of Art & Science at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, participating in art-based research projects and exhibitions.