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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 Case Competition (2020) and 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 

  • Robin Buter, "Strategic placement of Automated External Defibrillators under demand and supply uncertainty," expected to graduate in 2024
  • Maria van Zyl, "Process improvement in public hospitals in South Africa," expected to graduate in 2023
  • Eline Tsai, “From blood withdrawal to first results,” expected to graduate in 2021
  • Bruno Vieira, “Advanced Logistics Optimization of the Radiotherapy Treatment,” graduated in 2020

Master’s Thesis Supervision, University of Twente 

  • Healthcare logistics projects at UMC, Amsterdam; ZGT, Almelo; Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen; St. Antonius Hospital, Utrecht; Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem; MST, Enschede; Slingeland Hospital, Doetinchem; AcuteZorg Euregio, Enschede; StanCPR Network; Auckland City Hospital, New Zealand; University of Melbourne, Australia.
  • Logistics projects at Albert Heijn, Bol.com, Westphalia DataLab, Hema, Benchmark, Contour Covering Technology BV, PoolPlaza.

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

  • Healthcare logistics projects at University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht, Netherlands Cancer Institute Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (NKI-AvL), Willem Kolff Stichting & Nierstichting

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; Demcon Production, Enschede; Royal Lemkes; UMC Utrecht; Deventer Ziekenhuis; MST Enschede; CHOIR Network; Boven Hospital, Amsterdam; CORE Chemistry, Eindhoven. 


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

  • Operations Research Techniques 1 (1st quartile, yearly), ~75 students, 5 European Credits (5ECs)
  • Warehousing (4th quartile, yearly), ~100 students, 5 ECs
  • Professional Skills (2019 – 2020), 160 students
  • IEM Research Orientation (2017 – 2018), 60 students, 5 ECs

Coordinator & Instructor, Health Sciences Master's Program (2021 - present) 

  • Optimizing Healthcare Processes (2nd quartile, yearly), ~25 students, 5 ECs

Instructor, European Association of Hospital Managers (EAHM) (2018)

  • Crash course on operations management for hospital managers (together with Ines Marques)

Guest lecturer, Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal (2018)

  • OM/OR in healthcare, 80 students

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

Award Date: 2 Feb 2016

Master, University of Waterloo

Award Date: 8 Aug 2010

External positions

Visiting Faculty, Georgia Institute of Technology

Jan 2018Apr 2018

Artificial Intelligence Expert

  • Data Mining, Process Mining and Search
  • Machine Learning: from Traditional Methods to Deep Neural Networks
  • Health and Well-being
  • Geo Sciences


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