Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Top 20 Doctoral Program—National Research Council


Dept. of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
University of Houston
S222 Engineering Bldg 1
4726 Calhoun Rd
Houston, TX 77204-4004
Phone: 713-743-4300
Campus Map


Dr. Jeffrey Rimer

Ernest J. and Barbara M. Henley Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Office Location: S227, Engineering Building 1

Tel: (713) 743-4131 | Fax: (713) 743-4323

Email: jrimer [at] central [dot] uh [dot] edu



  • B.S., Chemistry, Allegheny College (2001)
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis (2001)
  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware (2006)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, New York University, Molecular Design Institute (2007 - 2009)


  • CHEE 2332 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics I (Fall 2014, Spring 2015)
  • CHEE 6397/CHEE 6322 Topics in Colloid and Interface Science (Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2013)
  • CHEE 4367 Chemical Reaction Engineering (Fall 2010)
  • CHEE 3462 Unit Operations (Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014)
  • CHEE 1131 Chemical Engineering Challenges: Nanomaterials (Fall 2012, Fall 2013)
  • CHEE 6327 Experimental Methods (Spring 2014)
  • Short Course, Applications of Heterogeneous Catalysis (Spring 2013)

Research Interests

Microporous Materials Synthesis and Testing for Catalytic Applications; Pathological Biomineralization; Crystal Engineering Through Molecular Design; Characterization of Nanomaterials Self-Assembly with X-Ray and Light Scattering and Scanning Probe Microscopy

Current Research:
(See the Rimer Group Webpage for more details)
My research program focuses on crystal engineering, nanomaterials self-assembly, and pathological biomineralization at both the microscopic and macroscopic levels to address challenges of materials synthesis and design. Our research examines the formation of a broad range of materials that span applications in catalysis, separations, drug discovery, and bio-inspired design. Research projects involve collaborative partnerships with both industry and medical centers to investigate fundamental problems in three general areas:

Microporous Nanomaterials

We investigate the mechanisms of materials formation to develop growth models capable of tuning crystallization with predictable structural outcomes. Initiatives in our group collectively aim to design zeolites with optimal crystal habit through novel synthetic approaches using colloidal and interfacial techniques to probe anisotropic growth. This work is part of a synergistic thrust at the University of Houston to design and test zeolite catalysts for the selective catalytic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in lean burn and diesel vehicles.


We are interested in examining biomineral self-assembly that occurs in both physiological and pathological processes, including vascular calcification and kidney stone disease. Research projects are part of a collaborative effort aimed to study disease pathogenesis and design therapies with improved efficacy. Biomineral formation is not well understood, but often involves four critical pathways: crystal nucleation, crystal growth, intercrystalline aggregation, and crystal and/or aggregate retention on cellular surfaces. Our research thrusts are directed toward the characterization of nucleation and growth using experimental techniques to quantify the kinetics of crystallization. Moreover, we are interested in understanding the role of biomolecules, such as proteins and lipids, in the formation of single crystals and polycrystalline aggregates. A molecular-level understanding of what distinguishes the role of proteins in stone pathogenesis is lacking, yet it is widely believed that such knowledge can be critical for the design of therapeutic treatments and novel drugs.

Crystal Engineering Through Molecular Design

We are working on several projects involving the rational synthesis of inorganic materials, wherein we are interested in studying fundamental interactions at crystal interfaces. Biomineralization, for example, is facilitated by the association of proteins and other constituents with the mineral interface. Molecule-substrate interactions are dominant factors that control crystal habit (i.e. orientation, shape, and size). As such, initiatives in our group seek to examine molecular adsorption at crystal surfaces, which can significantly influence structural properties of crystalline materials; thus, by developing an improved understanding of molecular recognition at crystalline interfaces we can use this information to selectively tailor materials for diverse applications.

Awards and Honors

  • Ernest J. and Barbara M. Henley Chemical Engineering College Professorship, 2012 - Present
  • Teaching Excellence Award, University of Houston, 2015
  • Provost Certificate of Excellence, University of Houston, 2014
  • Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship, University of Houston, 2014
  • Early Faculty Award for Mentoring Undergraduate Research, University of Houston, 2014
  • The Catalyst Review, recognized in “Movers & Shakers”, 2014
  • Junior Faculty Research Excellence Award, Cullen College of Engineering, 2013
  • Southwest Catalysis Society, Director (2012 - 2014); Secretary (2014 - 2015)
  • Ernest J. and Barbara M. Henley Chemical Engineering College Professorship, 2012 - 2015
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2012
  • ERDT Visiting Professor, University of the Philippines, 2012
  • ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award, 2012
  • NSF BRIGE Award, 2010
  • Grants for Enhance and Advance Research Award, University of Houston 2010 and 2012
  • Philadelphia Catalysis Club Poster Award, Wilmington, DE 2006
  • Robert L. Pigford Teaching Assistant Award, University of Delaware 2005
  • Dual Degree Chemical Engineering Award, Washington University in St. Louis 2001
  • Harold P. Brown Fellowship, Washington University in St. Louis (1999 – 2001)
  • Presidential Honor Scholarship, Allegheny College (1996 – 1999)
  • Sandra Doane Turk Award, Allegheny College 1999
  • Most Outstanding Junior Chemist Award, Allegheny College 1998
  • ACS Polymer Division Award for Outstanding Performance in Organic Chemistry, 1998
  • ACS Most Outstanding Freshman Chemistry Student, 1997

Selected Publications

  1. Conato, M.T., Oleksiak, M.D., McGrail, B.P., Motkuri, R.K., Rimer, J.D.,,

    “Framework Stabilization of Si-Rich LTA Zeolite Prepared in Organic-Free Media”, Chem. Commun. 51, 269-272

    , 2015
  2. Ghorbanpour, A., Gumidyala, A., Grabow, L.C., Crossley, S.P., Rimer, J.D.,,

    “Epitaxial Growth of ZSM-5@Silicalite-1: A Core-Shell Zeolite Designed with Passivated Surface Acidity“, ACS Nano (In Press)

    , 2015
  3. Olafson, K.N., Ketchum, M.A., Rimer, J.D., Vekilov, P.G.,,

    “Mechanisms of Hematin Crystallization and Inhibition by the Antimalarial Drug Chloroquine“, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. ( In Press)

    , 2015
  4. Farmanesh, S., Chung, J., Kwak, J.H., Sosa, R.D., Karande, P., Rimer, J.D.,

    “Natural Promoters of Calcium Oxalate Monohydrate Crystallization”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 136, 12648-12657

    , 2014
  5. Farmanesh, S., Ramamoorthy, S., Chung, J., Asplin, J.R., Karande, P., Rimer, J.D.,

    "Specificity of Growth Inhibitors and their Cooperative Effects in Calcium Oxalate Monohydrate Crystallization", J. Am. Chem. Soc.136, 367-376

    , 2014
  6. Ghorbanpour, A., Rimer, J.D., Grabow, L.C.,

    "Periodic, vdW-Corrected Density Functional Theory Investigation of the Effect of Al Siting in H-ZSM-5 on Chemisorption Properties and Site Specific Acidity", Catal. Commun., 52, 98-102

    , 2014
  7. Lupulescu, A.I. and Rimer, J.D.,

    "In Situ Imaging of Silicalite-1 Surface Growth Reveals the Mechanism of Crystallization," Science, 344, 729-732

    , 2014
  8. Olafson, K.N., Rimer, J.D., Vekilov, P.G.,

    “Growth of Large Hematin Crystals in Biomimetic Solutions”, Cryst. Growth Des.,14, 2123-2127

    , 2014
  9. Oleksiak, M.D. and Rimer, J.D.,

    "Synthesis of Zeolites in the Absence of Organic Structure-Directing Agents: Factors Governing Crystal Selection and Polymorphism",  Rev. Chem. Eng., 30, 1-49

    , 2014
  10. Rimer, J.D., Kumar, M., Li, R., Lupulescu, A.I., Oleksiak, M.D.,,

    “Tailoring the Physicochemical Properties of Zeolite Catalysts”, Catal. Sci. Technol., 4, 3762-3771

    , 2014
  11. Farmanesh, S., Chung, J., Chandra, D., Sosa, R.D., Karande, P., Rimer, J.D.,

    "High-Throughput Platform for Design and Screening of Peptides as Inhibitors of Calcium Oxalate Monohydrate Crystallization," J. Cryst. Growth, 373, 13-19

    , 2013
  12. Ketchum, M.A., Olafson, K.N., Rimer, J.D., Vekilov, P.G.,

    "Hematin Crystallization from Aqueous and Organic Solvents,"  J. Chem. Phys., 139, 121911(1-9)

    , 2013
  13. Lupulescu, A.I., Kumar, M., Rimer, J.D.,

    "A Facile Strategy to Design Zeolite L Crystals with Tunable Morphology and Surface Architecture", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 135, 6608-6617

    , 2013
  14. Maldonado, M., Oleksiak, M.D., Chinta, S., Rimer, J.D.,

    "Controlling Crystal Polymorphism in Organic-Free Synthesis of Na-Zeolites", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 135, 2641-2652

    , 2013
    *Cover artwork
    *Selected as a JACS Spotlight
  15. Tanneru, C.T., Rimer, J.D., Chellam, S.,

    "Sweep Flocculation and Adsorption of Viruses on Aluminum Flocs During Electrochemical Treatment Prior to Surface Water Microfiltration", Environ. Sci. Technol., 47, 4612-4618

    , 2013
  16. Gamage, N.P., Rimer, J.D., Chellam, S.,

    “Fouling Reductions by Aluminum Electroflotation Pretreatment of Surface Water Microfiltration,” J. Membrane Sci., 411-412, 45-53

    , 2012
  17. Lupulescu, A.I. and Rimer, J.D.,

    “Tailoring Silicalite-1 Crystal Morphology with Molecular Modifiers,” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 51, 3345-3349

    , 2012
    *Cover Artwork
  18. Pragasam, V., Rimer, J.D., Kolbach, A.M., Ward, M.D., Kleinman, J.G., Wesson, J.A.,

    “Calcium Oxalate Monohydrate Aggregation Induced by Aggregation of Desialylated Tamm-Horsfall Protein,” Urol. Res., 39, 269-282

    , 2011
  19. Rimer, J.D., An, Z., Zhu, Z., Lee, M.H., Wesson, J.A., Goldfarb, D.S., Ward, M.D.,

    “Crystal Growth Inhibitors for the Prevention of L-Cystine Kidney Stones Through Molecular Design,” Science 330, 337-341

    , 2010
    *Cover Artwork
    *Selected for a Science Perspectives article
    *Highlighted in C&E News, October 2010
  20. Rimer, J.D., Trofymluk, O., Lobo, R.F., Navrotsky, A., Vlachos, D.G.,

    “Thermodynamics of Silica Nanoparticle Self-Assembly in Basic Solutions of Monovalent Cations,” J. Phys. Chem. C, 112, 14754-14761

    , 2008
  21. Rimer, J.D., Roth, D.D., Lobo, R.F., Vlachos, D.G.,

    “Self-Assembly and Phase Behavior of Germanium Oxide Nanoparticles in Basic Aqueous Solutions,” Langmuir, 23, 2784-2791

    , 2007
  22. Rimer, J.D., Trofymluk, O., Navrotsky, A., Lobo, R.F., Vlachos, D.G.,

    “Kinetic and Thermodynamic Studies of Silica Nanoparticle Dissolution,” Chem. Mater., 19, 4189-4197

    , 2007
  23. Rimer, J.D., Fedeyko, J.M., Vlachos, D.G., Lobo, R.F.,

    “Silica Self-Assembly and the Synthesis of Microporous and Mesoporous Silicates,” Chem. Eur. J., 12, 2926-2934

    , 2006
  24. Rimer, J.D., Lobo, R.F., Vlachos, D.G.,

    “Physical Basis for the Formation and Stability of Silica Nanoparticles in Basic Solutions of Monovalent Cations,” Langmuir, 21, 8960-8971

    , 2005
  25. Rimer, J.D., Vlachos, D.G., Lobo, R.F.,

    “Evolution of Self-Assembled Silica Tetrapropylammonium Nanoparticles at Elevated Temperatures,” J. Phys. Chem. B, 109, 12762-12771

    , 2005
  26. Fedeyko, J.M., Rimer, J.D., Lobo, R.F., Vlachos, D.G.,

    “Spontaneous Formation of Silica Nanoparticles in Basic Solutions of Small Tetraalkylammonium Cations,” J. Phys. Chem. B, 108, 12271-12275

    , 2004
  27. Kragten, D.D., Fedeyko, J.M., Sawant, K.R., Rimer, J.D., Vlachos, D.G., Lobo, R.F.,

    “Structure of the Silica Phase Extracted from Silica/(TPA)OH Solutions Containing Nanoparticles,” J. Phys. Chem. B, 107, 10006-10016

    , 2003