Ulrike G.K. Wegst

Associate Professor of Engineering



Ulrike Wegst studied physics at the University of Göttingen in Germany and received her Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Cambridge in 1997 for analysis of the mechanical performance of natural materials. She worked on the CES Eco-Selector software before moving to the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble in France in 2000 and to the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany in 2001. She has been a Faculty Guest Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Anne Stevens Assistant Professor at Drexel University. Dr. Wegst joined the faculty at Dartmouth in January 2012.


Research Interests

Mechanical performance of natural materials; biomaterials and tissue engineering; self-assembly; biotemplated materials; biomimetics; novel materials for nuclear fuel applications; multifunctional hybrid materials; materials selection and eco-design; eco-audits; materials in musical instruments and sports equipment; science education through interdisciplinary projects linking music, arts and sport

Current Research Projects


Selected Publications

Ice-templated Materials

Electrospun Biomaterials

Materials Characterization and Properties

Eco Design

Materials for Musical Instruments



Professional Activities


In Dartmouth Engineer Magazine

Open Positions

Ph.D. and Postdoctoral Positions

Two Ph.D. and two postdoctoral positions are available in Professor Wegst's lab starting January 2012:

  1. Complex Nanocomposites for Bone Regeneration (1 Ph.D., 1 Postdoc): Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of a Bioengineering Research Partnership (BRP) led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory—with component groups at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, and Imperial College, London—this project focuses on the design, manufacture and in vitro testing of novel bone substitute materials for low and medium load-bearing applications. Freeze-casting ("ice-templating") is used to generate complex, hybrid materials as novel tissue scaffolds. The focus is on structure-property-processing linkages and their correlation to biocompatibility and bioactivity.

  2. Freeze-casting as a Novel Manufacturing Process for Fast Reactor Fuels (1 Ph.D., 1 Postdoc): Funded by the Department of Energy, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, this research is focused on technologies to enable the safe and cost-effective management of used fuel produced by the nuclear fuel cycle in a manner that reduces proliferation risk. Objectives are to develop novel materials and technologies resulting in improved methods of used fuel storage along with better recycling and disposal options, while significantly reducing the cost and environmental consequences of conventional technology.

In both cases the research will involve the manufacture of highly porous materials from polymers, ceramics, and metals by freeze casting ("ice-templating"), and, in some cases, their sintering. It will also involve their structural, mechanical, thermal, chemical, and biological characterization using techniques ranging from:


A BS/MS (Ph.D.) and a Ph.D. (Postdoc) in materials science, mechanical or biomedical engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, or a related field is required. Although familiarity with materials synthesis and characterization is preferred, consideration will also be given to capable and enthusiastic applicants with other backgrounds.

Applicants should be highly motivated, willing to follow their curiosity and take initiative, and able to work well both independently and in a team. A strong background in mechanical, materials, or biomedical engineering, as well as competence in chemistry, physics (particularly for the nuclear fuel project) or biology (only for the biomaterial project) is required, with competence in the other areas. For the biomaterials research, experience in mammalian cell culture is helpful. For both topics, some experience in mechanical testing, measurement of physical material properties and microscopy methods and/or other surface analytical tools will be of great benefit.


The lab uses excellent material processing, testing and characterization equipment, including an ice lab, and new facilities are continuously developed. A diverse range of broadly applicable skills will be developed. The group has access to state-of-the-art characterization facilities both in house and at National Laboratories (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne) and also collaborates with international partners.


The Ph.D. and Postdoctoral appointments are for one year with possible extension. Applicants should submit a letter of application explicitly addressing the qualifications and motivations for the position as well as date of availability, detailed CV in PDF format, and the names, email, and addresses of three professional references. Review of applicants will begin immediately and will continue until the positions are filled. Applicants will be rated according to fulfillment of qualifications, previous experience and academic excellence.

Send inquiries and applications to ulrike.wegst@dartmouth.edu.

Wegst Lab Opportunities for Undergraduates

Ulrike G.K. Wegst's research interests include biological materials in nature as well as their applications for musical instruments and sports equipment, biomaterials, biomimetics (the systematic transfer of biological principles of function and efficiency to technology), materials for energy generation, and materials synthesis and selection. Fundamental to all is the understanding of structure-property-processing correlations. In particular, she and her group design and manufacture by freeze-casting ("ice-templating") novel hybrid materials with unusual combinations of structural, mechanical, optical, thermal, and electrical properties.

Dr. Wegst needs undergraduates who would enjoy working with her and her group on ideas and research that combine mechanics, materials science, biology, chemistry, and physics to formulate new and unexpected design paradigms for superior materials.

If you would like to:

then please contact Dr. Wegst at ulrike.wegst@dartmouth.edu.


Seminar: Ice-templated Hybrid Materials