Joanna McKittrick is a professor in the Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering Program at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, CA. She has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, a M.S. in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from MIT, Cambridge, MA. She has published over 130 papers in peer-reviewed journals.
McKittrick’s work focuses on two main areas: biological and bioinspired materials science and luminescence properties of materials. She investigates the structure/property relationships in mineralized and non-mineralized natural materials (e.g. bone, teeth, osteoderms, feathers, quills, seahorse tails) and determines failure and deformation modes. These structures have inspired the fabrication of bone and abalone nacre-like composite materials and the development of a seahorse tail-inspired robotic arm. Her work on luminescent materials has involved developing phosphors for heads up displays, flat panel displays and scintillators for drug delivery systems. More recently, her work is focused on the synthesis and development of phosphors for LED-based solid-state lighting. She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal and is a member of the Basic Science Division.