Professor Pasteris takes a traditional mineralogic-geologic approach to non-traditional materials. Much of her current research involves biomineralization, especially the mineral component of bones and teeth.
Professor Jill Pasteris is part of an interdisciplinary biomineralization group that includes scientists from the physics department as well as from the Schools of Engineering and Medicine at Washington University. Professor Pasteris and her students apply Raman spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, and electron microscopy and microprobe analysis to determine the size, shape, mechanical properties, and composition of biological apatite (a calcium phosphate mineral) and its synthetic analogs. She also currently is collaborating with colleagues from the School of Engineering on enhancement of the growth of lead-bearing minerals to coat the inner walls of lead pipes. The aim is to eliminate the cause of lead poisoning due to the historical use of lead service pipes to bring water into homes.