Dr.   Nita     Sahai

Dr. Nita Sahai

Ohio Research Scholar Professor
Department of Polymer Science
Phone: 330-972-5795
Email: sahai@uakron.edu

Contact Information

Dr. Nita Sahai
Department of Polymer Science
The University of Akron
Akron, Ohio 44325-3909

E-mail: sahai@uakron.edu
Phone: (330) 972-4795
Fax: (330) 972-5290

Research Interests:

Biomolecular and cellular (human and bacterial cells) interactions with biomaterials and minerals; interfacial chemistry; bone-tissue engineering; organic-mediated crystal nucleation and growth (biomineralization); origin and early evolution of life; relationship between molecular-level, nanoscale & macroscopic properties. For more information see the research group website.


  • 1997 - Ph. D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Advisor: Prof. Dimitri Sverjensky.
    Solvation and Electrostatic Model for Specific Electrolyte Adsorption.
  • 1992 - M. S., Geochemistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Calibrating the Cosmogenic 21Ne Clock.
  • 1990 - B.Sc., 1st rank in graduating class,Geology Honors, St. Xavier’s College, Bombay University, India.

Peer-Reviewed Publications By Subject-Area (Student and Post-Doctoral Associate Names Underlined):

    Membrane-Mineral Interactions (Prebiotic Protocell Evolution and Early Evolution of Life, Biosensors, Encapsulated Drug Delivery, Making Implants Biocompatible)
  1. Zhu C., Xu J., Hickey, W. J. and Sahai N. (2013, in prep.) Role of cell wall structure and extra-cellular polymeric substances (EPS) in shielding against specific mineral toxicity: Implications for cell surface evolution. For submission to Astrobiology.
  2. Greiner E., Kumar K., Sumit M., Giuffre A., Pedersen J. and Sahai N. (2013, in review) Adsorption of L-Glutamate and L -Aspartate from solution to ?-Al2O3. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta.
  3. Xu J., Sahai N., Eggleston C. M. and Schoonen M. A. A. (2013) Reactive oxygen species at the oxide/water interface: Formation mechanisms and implications for prebiotic chemistry and the origin of life. Earth. Planet. Sci. Lett. 363, 156-167.
  4. Xu J., Campbell J., Zhang N., Hickey W. J. and Sahai N. (2012) Evolution of bacterial biofilms as armor against mineral toxicity. Astrobiology 12, 785-798.
  5. Cleaves H. J. III, Scott A. M., Hill F. C., Leszczynsky J., Sahai N. and Hazen R. (2012) Mineral-organic interfacial processes: potential roles in the origin of life. Chem. Soc. Rev. 41, 5365-5568. INVITED.
  6. Oleson T.A., Sahai N., Wesolowski D. J., Dura J. A., Majkrzak C. F., Giuffre A. J. and Sahai N. (2012) Neutron reflectvity study of phosphatidylcholine bilayers on sapphire (110). J. Colloid. Interf. Sci. 370,192-200.
  7. Oleson T.A. and Sahai N. (2010) Interaction energies between oxide surfaces and multiple phosphatidylcholine bilayers from extended DLVO-theory. J. Colloid. Interf. Sci. 352, 316-326.
  8. Oleson T. A., Sahai N. and Pedersen J. A. (2010) Electrostatic effects on deposition of multiple phospholpid bilayers at oxide surfaces. J. Colloid. Interf. Sci. 352, 327-336.
  9. Xu J., Stevens M. J., Oleson T. A., Last J. A. and Sahai N. (2009) Role of oxide surface chemistry and phospholipid phase on adsorption and self-assembly: Isotherms and Atomic Force Microscopy. J. Phys. Chem. C 113, 2187-2196. Special issue on Physical Chemistry of Environmental Interfaces. INVITED.
  10. Oleson T. A. and Sahai N. (2008) Oxide-dependent adsorption and self-assembly of dipalymitoylphosphatidylcholine, a cell-membrane phospholipid: Bulk Adsorption Isotherms. Langmuir 24, 4865-4873.
  11. Sahai N. (2002a) Biomembrane phospholipid-oxide surface interactions: crystal chemical and thermodynamic basis. J. Colloid. Interface Sci. 252, 309-319.

  12. Bone Mineralization and Bone-Tissue Engineering and Medical Mineralogy
  13. Xu Z., Yang Y., Cui Q., Landis W. J. and Sahai N. (in prep.) Collagen structure and apatite nucleation mechanism in bone biomineralization. For submission to Nature.
  14. Zhou X., Zhang N., Moussa F., Molenda J., Safadi F., Murphy W. and Sahai N. (in prep.) Mechanism for osteoinductivity of soluble silicate. For submission to Biomaterials.
  15. Xu Z., Yang Y., Cui Q. and Sahai N. (2014) Small biomolecule-mediated hydroxyapatite growth: free energy calculations benchmarked to density functional theory. J. Comput. Chem. 35, 70-81.
  16. Chapron Y., Charlet L. and Sahai N. (2013, published online) Fate of pathological prion (PrPsc 92-138) in soil and water: prion-clay nanoparticle molecular dyanamics. J. Biomol. Struct. Dynam. DOI: 10.1080/07391102.2013.836461.
  17. Zhang N., Molenda J., Murphy W. and Sahai N. (2013) Crystal structure control of CaSiO3 bioceramics on human mesenchymal stem cell attachment, proliferation and differentiation into osteoblasts. Biomat. Sci. 1, 1101-1110.
  18. Yang Y., Xu Z., Cui Q. and Sahai N. (2013, in press) Molecular simulation of biomineral nucleation and crystal growth: Modern computational challenges and Approaches. INVITED chapter for Characterization of Biominerals and Biomimetic Materials, Eds. Elaine di Masi and Laurie Gower, Taylor and Francis.
  19. Yang Y., Mkhonto D., Cui Q. and Sahai N. (2011) Theoretical study of bone sialoprotein in hydroxyapatite biomineralization. Special Issue of Cells Tissues Organs 194, 182-197.
  20. Yang Y., Cui Q. and Sahai N. (2010) How does bone sialoprotein promote the nucleation of hydroxyapatite? A molecular dynamics study using model peptides of different conformations. Langmuir 26, 9848- 9859.
  21. Zhang N., Molenda J., Fournelle J., Murphy W. and Sahai N. (2010) Effects of pseudowollastonite (?-CaSiO3) on human mesenchymal stem cell activity. Biomaterials 31, 7653-7665.
  22. Stevens M. J., Donato L.J., Lower S. K., and Sahai N. (2009) Oxide-dependent adhesion of the Jurkat cell line of T-lymphocytes. Langmuir 25, 6270-6278.
  23. Sahai N. (2007) Medical Mineralogy and Geochemistry: An Interfacial Science. Elements 3, 383-386. Editor, N. Sahai.
  24. Sahai N., Schoonen M., and Skinner H. C. W. (2006) The emerging field of medical mineralogy and geochemistry. INVITED, reviewed chapter for Medical Mineralogy and Geochemistry, Eds. Nita Sahai and Martin Schoonen, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry Series, Vol. 64, Mineralogical Society of America, Washington, D.C., Chapter 1.
  25. Cerruti M. and Sahai N. (2006) Silicate biomaterials for orthopaedic and dental implants. INVITED, reviewed chapter for Medical Mineralogy and Geochemistry, Eds. Nita Sahai and Martin Schoonen, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry Series, Vol. 64, Mineralogical Society of America, Washington, D.C., Chapter 9.
  26. Sahai N. (2005) Modeling apatite nucleation in the human body and in the geochemical environment, Am. J. Sci. INVITED, peer-reviewed, for special issue of Am. J. Sci. 305, 661-672.
  27. Sahai N. and Anseau M. (2005) Cyclic silicate active site and epitaxial apatite nucleation on pseudowollastonite bioceramic-bone interfaces. Biomaterials 26, 5763-5370.
  28. Anseau M. R., Leung P., Sahai N. and Swaddle, T. W. (2005) Interactions of silicate ions with zinc(II) and aluminum(III) in alkaline aqueous solution. Inorg. Chem. 44, 8023-8032.
  29. Sahai N. (2003a) The effects of Mg2+ and H+ on nucleation of authigenic apatite at silica surfaces. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 67, 1017-1030, INVITED.
  30. Sahai N. and Tossell J. A. (2000) Molecular orbital study of apatite nucleation at silica bioceramic surfaces. J. Phys. Chem. B. 104, 4322-4341.

  31. Biomineralization: Carbonates and Silica
  32. Yang Y., Sahai N., Romanek C. and Chakraborty S. (2012) Low-temperature dolomite (Ca, Mg(CO3)2) formation as a potential biosignature– A computational study of Mg2+ dehydration in aqueous solution in the presence of inorganic anions. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 88, 77-87.
  33. Romanek C. S., Jiménez-López C., Rodriguez Navarro A., Sánchez-Román M., Sahai N. and Coleman M. (2009) Inorganic syntheis of Fe-Ca-Mg carbonates at low temperature. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 73, 5361-5376.
  34. Delak K. M. and Sahai N. (2006) Investigations into the mechanisms of amine-catalyzed hydrolysis of organosilicates. J. Phys. Chem. B. 110, 17819-17829.
  35. Delak K. M. and Sahai N. (2005) Amine-catalyzed biomimetic hydrolysis and polymerization of organosilicate. Chem. Mater. 17, 3221-3227.
  36. Delak K. M., Farrar T. C. and Sahai N. (2005) 29Si NMR sensitivity enhancement methods for the quantitative study of organosilicate hydrolysis and condensation. J. Non-Cryst. Solids 351, 2244-2250.
  37. Sahai N. (2004) Calculation of 29Si NMR shifts of silicate complexes with carbohydrates, amino-acids and carboxylic acids: Potential role in biological silica utilization. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 68 227-238.
  38. Sahai N. (2003b) Silicon-organic interactions in the environment and in organisms. INVITED, reviewed chapter in Geochemical and Hydrological Reactivity of Heavy Metals in Soils, eds. W. L. Kingery and H. M. Selim, Chapter 6. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
  39. Sahai N. and Tossell J. A. (2002) 29Si NMR shifts and relative stabilities calculated for aqueous hypervalent silicon-polyalcohol complexes: role in sol-gel and biogenic silica synthesis. Inorg. Chem. 41, 748-756.
  40. Sahai N. and Tossell J. A. (2001) Formation energies and NMR chemical shifts calculated for putative serine-silicate complexes in silica biomineralization. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 65, 2043-2053.

  41. Environmental Geochemistry
  42. Hochella M. F., Jr., Lower S. K., Maurice P. A., Penn R. L., Sahai N., Sparks D. L. and Twining B. S. (2008) Nanominerals, mineral nanoparticles, and Earth systems. Science 319, 1631-1635.
  43. Ciardelli M. C., Xu H. and Sahai N. (2008) Role of Fe(II), phosphate, silicate, sulfate and carbonate in arsenic uptake by coprecipitation in synthetic and natural groundwater. Water Res. 42, 615-624.
  44. Sahai N., Lee Y., Xu H., Ciardelli M. C. and Gaillard J.-F. (2007) Role of Fe(II) and phosphate in arsenic uptake by coprecipitation. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 71, 3193-3210.
  45. Sahai N. and Rosso K. (2006) Linking molecular modeling to surface complexation modeling. INVITED, reviewed chapter for Surface Complexation Modelling, Ed. Johannes Lutzenkirchen, Interface Science and Technology Series, Vol. 11, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  46. Thornburg K. and Sahai N. (2004) Arsenic occurrence, mobility, and retardation in sandstone and dolomite formations of the Fox River Valley, Wisconsin. Environ. Sci. Technol. 38, 5087-5094.
  47. Sahai N. (2002) Is silica really an anomalous oxide? Aqueous hydrolysis and surface acidity revisited. Environ. Sci. Technol. 36, 445-452.
  48. Tossell J. A. and Sahai N. (2000) Calculating the acidity of silanols and related oxyacids in aqueous solution. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 64, 4097-4113.
  49. Sahai N. (2000) Estimating adsorption enthalpies and affinity sequences of monovalent electrolyte ions on oxide surfaces in aqueous solution. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 64, 3629-3641.
  50. O' Day P.A., Newville M., Neuhoff P., Sahai N. and Carroll S. A. (2000) X-Ray absorption spectroscopy of strontium (II) coordination: I. static and thermal disorder in crystalline, hydrated and precipitated solids and in aqueous solution. J. Colloid. Interface Sci. 222, 184-197.
  51. Sahai N., Carroll S. A., O' Day P. A. and Roberts S. (2000) X-Ray absorption spectroscopy of strontium (II) coordination: II. Sorption and precipitation at kaolinite, amorphous silica and goethite surfaces. J. Colloid. Interface Sci. 222, 198-212.
  52. Koretsky C. M., Sverjensky D. A. and Sahai N. (1998) Calculating site densities of oxides and silicates from crystal structures. Amer. J. Sci. 298, 349-38.
  53. Sverjensky D. A. and Sahai N.(1998) Prediction of surface-protonation enthalpies for oxides. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 62, 3703-3715.
  54. Sahai N. and Sverjensky D. A. (1998) GEOSURF: A computer program for modeling adsorption on mineral surfaces in solution. Computers. Geosci. 24, 853-873.
  55. Sahai N. and Sverjensky D. A. (1997a) Evaluation of internally-consistent parameters for the triple-layer model by the systematic analysis of oxide surface titration data, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 61, 2801-2826.
  56. Sahai N. and Sverjensky D. A. (1997b) Solvation and electrostatic model for specific electrolyte adsorption. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 61, 2827-2848.
  57. Sverjensky D. A. and Sahai N. (1996) Theoretical prediction of single-site surface protonation equilibrium constants for oxides and silicates in water. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 60, 3773-3797.

Professional Affiliations

American Chemical Society, Materials Research Society, Mineralogical Society of America, Geochemical Society of America, American Geophysical Union.

Academic Awards and Honors

  • 2013-2014 - Distinguished Lecturer of the Mineralogical Society of America.
  • 2011-present - Ohio Research Scholar in Biomaterials Chair, University of Akron (UA), OH.
  • 2009 - Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America: Recognition of significant scientific contributions in the fields of crystallography, mineralogy, geochemistry and petrology.
  • 2009 - Romnes Faculty Fellowship, University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW): Recognition of quality, significance and productivity of research, and quality and programmatic value of teaching and service.
  • 2008 - Visiting Professor Fellowship (3 weeks), Université Joseph Fourrier (University of Grenoble), France.
  • 2004 - NSF CAREER award.
  • 1998-2000 - NSF Post-Doctoral Fellowship.
  • 1990 - 1st Rank in Graduating Class, Bombay University. Appointed to Student Council, Bombay University, India.
  • 1987-1990 - 1st Ranked Student in Chemistry, Geology, Physics, French. St. Xavier's College, Bombay University, India.

Faculty Profile [PDF]