• 64 Citations

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Personal profile

Personal profile

Derya Demirtas is an assistant professor at the Center for Healthcare Operations Improvement & Research (CHOIR) in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Business Information Systems at the University of Twente. Her research focuses on operations research, optimization and data analytics, location theory and their applications to healthcare and public services.
Dr. Demirtas is a recipient of the NWO (Dutch Research Council) Veni grant (2019), American Heart Association (AHA) Young Investigator Award (2015), and the Best Poster Award by the National Association of EMS Physicians (2016). She also won the second place in the INFORMS Section on Public Sector Operations Research best paper competition (2012). Her research has been published in top journals such as Management Science, European Journal of Operational Research, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and Circulation. In 2018, she was a visiting faculty in the Industrial and Systems Engineering and in the Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems at Georgia Tech, where she worked on disaster response. 

ACADEMIC BACKGROUND: Dr. Demirtas received her BSc in Industrial Engineering with a double major in Computer Engineering from the Middle East Technical University, Turkey (2008). She then obtained her MMath in Combinatorics & Optimization from the University of Waterloo, Canada (2010), and her PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto, Canada (2016).

IN THE MEDIA: Dr. Demirtas's research has been publicized by several media outlets including US News, the Globe and Mail, CTV News and Toronto Sun, and promoted by the Univ. of Twente: https://youtu.be/CFS6F3gkCrY

Research interests

Operations research, optimization, spatial data analytics and their applications in healthcare and humanitarian sector: in particular, linear and integer programming, facility location under uncertainty, covering problems, spatiotemporal trend analysis, public health resource planning, post-disaster recovery and emergency service location problems.


The focus of Dr. Demirtas’s research is on data-driven decision making aimed at improving healthcare and humanitarian systems. Her projects include: 

  • Optimizing the locations of public access defibrillators to improve survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA): In this research, we develop mathematical optimization and spatial data analytics models to analyse the OHCA risk and to guide the deployment of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public settings.
  • Optimizing the staff allocation in radiotherapy: The goal of this project is to maximize the number of patients completing the pre-treatment stage in radiotherapy (RT) within the waiting time targets. We focus on the tactical planning of radiation therapy technologists (RTTs) throughout the pre-treatment process of the RT treatment chain considering stochastic patient arrivals.
  • Process optimization in clinical chemistry laboratories: The focus of this project is to assess the operations from blood withdrawal to first results, and investigate different configurations and prioritization rules in order to reduce diagnostics turnaround time and improve the laboratory performance.
  • Post-disaster recovery: The aim of this research is to create efficient models to help decision making in debris collection. We focus on partitioning the affected area into zones and assigning these to contractors while minimizing costs, maximizing societal benefits and maintaining contiguity of zones.



PhD Student Supervision, University of Twente 

  • Maria van Zyl, "Process improvement in public hospitals in South Africa," expected to graduate in 2022
  • Eline Tsai, “From blood withdrawal to first results,” expected to graduate in 2021
  • Bruno Vieira, “Advanced Logistics Optimization of the Radiotherapy Treatment,” expected to graduate in 2020

Master’s Thesis Supervision, University of Twente 

  • Healthcare logistics projects at AMC, Amsterdam; ZGT, Almelo; Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen; St. Antonius Hospital, Utrecht; Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem; MST, Enschede; Slingeland Hospital, Doetinchem
  • Logistics projects at Albert Heijn

Master’s Capita Selecta (Short-term Internship) Supervision, Univ. of Twente 

  • Healthcare logistics projects at University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht, and Netherlands Cancer Institute Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (NKI-AvL)

Undergraduate (Bachelor) Thesis Supervision, Univ. of Twente

  • Logistics projects at Victoria Hospital, London, Canada; Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen; Acute Zorg Euregio, Enschede; Contour Covering Technology BV, Winterswijk


Instructor, Industrial Engineering & Management Master’s Program (2016 – present)

  • Warehousing (2017 – 2018), 120 students, 5 ECs (ECs)
  • IEM Research Orientation (2017 – 2018), 60 students, 5 European Credits
  • Warehousing (2016 – 2017), 100 students, 5 ECs 

Instructor, Global Faculty Program, Monterrey Inst. of Technology, Mexico (2018) 

  • Facilities Design and Materials Management, 20 students
  • Optimization Models, 20 students
  • Applications of Optimization in Healthcare, 30 students 

Instructor, Health Sciences Bachelor Program (2016) 

  • Operations Management (OM) in Healthcare (within Module 4: Optimization of Care), 50 students, 3 ECs 
  • OM Practicum (within Module 4), 50 students, 3 ECs       
  • Project: Optimization of Healthcare Processes (within Module 4), 50 students, 1 EC 

Author, Case Study on Maximizing Team Diversity in a First-year Engineering Course, University of Toronto (2015)

Guest Lecturer, MIE 258 Engineering Economics and Accounting, University of Toronto (2015)

Certificate in Prospective Professors in Training, University of Toronto (2014)

Guest Lecturer, MIE 468 Facility Planning, University of Toronto (2013)

Teaching Assistant, Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto (2010 – 2015)

Teaching Assistant, Division of Engineering Science, University of Toronto (2011)

Teaching Assistant, Dept. of Combinatorics and Optimization, University of Waterloo (2008 – 2010)

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Toronto

Master, University of Waterloo

External positions

Visiting Faculty, Georgia Institute of Technology

Jan 2018Apr 2018

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Research Output

Optimizing the Deployment of Public Access Defibrillators

Chan, T. C. Y., Demirtas, D. & Kwon, R. H., 2016, In : Management science. 62, 12, p. 3617-3635

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
  • 21 Citations (Scopus)
    80 Downloads (Pure)

    A mathematical programming model for optimizing the staff allocation in radiotherapy under uncertain demand

    Vieira, B., Demirtas, D., van de Kamer, J. B., Hans, E. W. & van Harten, W., 16 Oct 2018, In : European journal of operational research. 270, 2, p. 709-722 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    178 Downloads (Pure)

    Overcoming Spatial and Temporal Barriers to Public Access Defibrillators Via Optimization

    Sun, C. L. F., Demirtas, D., Brooks, S. C., Morrison, L. J. & Chan, T. C. Y., 2016, In : Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 68, 8, p. 836-845

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • 34 Citations (Scopus)

    A Mathematical Programming Model for Radiotherapy Scheduling with Time Windows

    Vieira, B., Demirtas, D., Kamer, J. B. V. D., Hans, E. W., Rosseau, L. M., Lahrichi, N. & Harten, W. H. V., 16 Apr 2020, Health Care Systems Engineering: HCSE, Montréal, Canada, May 30 - June 1, 2019. Belanger, V., Lahrichi, N., Lanzarone, E. & Yalcindag, S. (eds.). Springer, p. 241-249 9 p. (Springer Proceedings in Mathematics and Statistics; vol. 316).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

  • EURO 2018 — Innovative methods and uses of operations research in health and care applications

    Marques, I., Demirtas, D., Rachuba, S. & Vasilakis, C., Mar 2020, In : Operations research for health care. 24, 100243.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


    NWO VENI Grant

    Derya Demirtas (Recipient), 2019


  • Activities

    • 4 Membership of network
    • 3 Invited talk
    • 1 Organising a conference, workshop, ...
    • 1 Visiting an external academic institution

    Georgia Institute of Technology

    Derya Demirtas (Visiting researcher)
    Jan 2018Apr 2018

    Activity: Visiting an external institutionVisiting an external academic institution

    Public access defibrillator location under demand and supply uncertainty

    Derya Demirtas (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Public access defibrillator location under demand and supply uncertainty

    Derya Demirtas (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Public access defibrillator location under demand and supply uncertainty

    Derya Demirtas (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Research School for Operations Management and Logistics (Beta) (External organisation)

    Derya Demirtas (Member)
    2018 → …

    Activity: MembershipMembership of network