Faculty Directory
Derk Joester

Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering


2220 Campus Drive
Cook Hall 2036
Evanston, IL 60208

Email Derk Joester


Joester Research Group


Materials Science and Engineering


Minerva Fellow Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Postdoctoral Fellow Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel

Ph.D. Chemistry, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

M.Sc. Chemistry, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Fulbright Scholar Chemistry, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

B.A. Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

Research Interests

My group uses state-of-the-art methods to study the formation, properties, and degradation of mineralized tissues. We are broadly interested in vertebrate and invertebrate dental tissues, and the mechanisms by which organisms control phase transformations. We study the latter in both organismal systems and cell culture, and cell-free, in vitro model systems. Quantitative imaging techniques are integral to our work. For instance, we pioneered the use of atom probe tomography (APT) for the characterization of mineralized tissues such as the ultrahard cusp of chiton radula teeth, vertebrate bone, and enamel. Further “firsts” include the use of synchrotron scanning Mößbauer spectroscopy (sSMS) to study iron biominerals, sub-micron probe X-ray diffraction mapping of enamel crystallographic parameters and composition at the mesoscale, the use of synchrotron micro-computed tomography (SMCT) for analysis of surface zones in rat caries lesions, development of a droplet microfluidic nucleation rate assays, and large scale automated segmentation of SMCT reconstructions of mouse jaws and rat molars using convolutional neural networks.

Significant Recognition

  • Full Scholarship at the GEM4 Summer School, 2006
  • JSP Fellow at the Bürgenstock Conference on Stereochemistry, 2006
  • Minerva Fellow, 2005-2007
  • Friends of the Weizmann-Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2003-2005
  • ETH-Scholarship, 1999-2000
  • Fulbright-Scholarship, 1994-1995
  • Dr. Nathorff-Einstein Award, 1992
  • Award of the Fonds of the German Chemical Industry, 1992

Significant Professional Service

  • Member of ACS and MRS

Selected Publications

Y. Huang, Y. Liu, N.K. Pandey, S. Shah, A. Simon-Soro, J.C. Hsu, Z. Ren, Z. Xiang, D. Kim, T. Ito, M.J. Oh, C. Buckley, F. Alawi, Y. Li, P.J.M. Smeets, S. Boyer, X. Zhao, D. Joester, D.T. Zero, D.P. Cormode, H. Koo, Nature Communications 202314, 6087. “Iron oxide nanozymes stabilize stannous fluoride for targeted biofilm killing and synergistic oral disease prevention.” https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-41687-8

R. Free, K. DeRocher, V. Cooley, R. Xu, S. R. Stock, D. JoesterProc Natl Acad Sci USA 2022119, e2211285119. “Mesoscale structural gradients in human tooth enamel.” DOI:10.1073/pnas.2211285119

L. Stegbauer, E.E. Alp, P.J.M. Smeets, R. Free, S.G. Wallace, M.C. Hersam, D. JoesterProc Natl Acad Sci USA 2021, 118, e2020160118. “Persistent polyamorphism in the chiton tooth: from a new biomineral to inks for additive manufacturing” DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2020160118

K.A. DeRocher, P.J.M. Smeets, B.H. Goodge, M.J. Zachman, P.V. Balachandran, L. Stegbauer, M.J. Cohen, L.M. Gordon, J.M. Rondinelli, L.F. Kourkoutis, D. JoesterNature 2020583, 66-71. “Chemical gradients in human enamel crystallites.” DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2433-3

J. Cavanaugh, M. L. Whittaker, D. JoesterChem Sci 201910, 5039-5043. “Crystallization kinetics of amorphous calcium carbonate in confinement.” DOI: 10.1039/c8sc05634j

M. L. Whittaker, W. Sun, K. A. DeRocher, S. Jayaraman, G. Ceder, D. Joester*Adv Funct Mat 2017, 1704202. “Structural Basis for Metastability in Amorphous Calcium–Barium Carbonate (ACBC).” DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201704202

M. L. Whittaker, P. J. M. Smeets, H. Asayesh-Ardakani, R. Shahbazian-Yassar, D. Joester*Angew Chem Int Ed 2017, 56, 16028. “Multi-step crystallization of barium carbonate: rapid interconversion of amorphous and crystalline precursors.” 

DOI: 10.1002/anie.201709526

M. L. Whittaker, D. Joester*Adv Mater 201729, 1606730. “ACBC to Balcite: Bioinspired Synthesis of a Highly Substituted High-Temperature Phase from an Amorphous Precursor.” DOI: 10.1002/adma.201606730

D. Joester*, L. R. Brooker, in Iron Oxides: From Nature to Applications (Ed.: D. Faivre), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 2016, pp. 177-205

L. M. Gordon, M. J. Cohen, K. W. MacRenaris, J. D. Pasteris, T. Seda, D. Joester*Science 2015347, 746-750. “Amorphous intergranular phases control the properties of rodent tooth enamel” DOI: 10.1126/science.1258950

J. J. De Yoreo, P. U. P. A. Gilbert, N. A. J. M. Sommerdijk, R. L. Penn, S. Whitelam, D. Joester, H. Zhang, Jeffrey D. Rimer, A. Navrotsky, J. F. Banfield, A. F. Wallace, F. M. Michel, F. C. Meldrum, H. Cölfen, P. M. Dove, Science 2015349. “Crystallization by particle attachment in synthetic, biogenic, and geologic environments.” DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa6760

L. M. Gordon, J, K. Román, R. M, Everly, M. J. Cohen, J. J. Wilker, and D. Joester*Angew Chem Int Ed 2014, 53,11506-11509, Polymorph selectivity and the formation of metastable ferrihydrite in the chiton tooth”, DOI: 10.1002:anie.201406131

C. C. Tester, M. L. Whittaker, and D. Joester*Chem Commun 201450, 5619-5622, “Controlling nucleation in giant liposomes”, DOI: 10.1039/c4cc01457j

L. M. Gordon, L. Tran, and D. Joester*, ACS Nano 20126, 10667–10675, “Atom Probe Tomography of Apatite End Members and Apatite-Based Biominerals.” DOI:10.1021/nn3049957

R.T. Knapp, C.-H. Wu, K. C. Mobilia, D. Joester*J Am Chem Soc 2012134, 17908-17911, “Recombinant Sea Urchin VEGF Directs Single Crystal Growth and Branching in vitro.” DOI:10.1021/ja309024b

M. R. Krejci, B. Wasserman, L. Finney, I. McNulty, D. Legnini, S. Vogt, and D. Joester*J Struct Biol 2011176, 192-202, “Selectivity in biomineralization of barium and strontium.” DOI: 10.1016/j.jsb.2011.08.006

C.-H. Wu, A. Park, and D. Joester*J Am Chem Soc 201133, 1658–1661, “Bioengineering Single Cystal Growth.” DOI:10.1021/ja109500e

L. Gordon, D. Joester*, Nature 2011469, 194-197, Nano-Scale Chemical Tomography of Buried Organic- Inorganic Interfaces in the Chiton Tooth.” DOI:10.1038/nature09686