Elizabeth Zimmermann

Assistant Professor
Elizabeth Zimmermann
Contact Information
Email address: 
elizabeth.zimmermann [at] mcgill.ca

Prof. Zimmermann completed her PhD in Materials Science & Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley where she investigated structure-function relationships in biological tissues, such as bone and fish scales. These studies investigated how the complex multi-scale structure of biological tissues resists deformation and fracture in a variety of disease and physiological conditions. Elizabeth then conducted post-doctoral fellowships in Germany (University Medical Center, Hamburg-Eppendorf) and Canada (Shriners Hospital for Children-Canada), where she worked with clinicians and scientists to investigate bone adaptation in genetic disorders like Marfan Syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta using pre-clinical and clinical imaging techniques. 


PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

BSc, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Areas of expertise: 
  • Materials characterization
  • Mechanical behavior of materials and tissues
  • Structure-function relationships
  • Pre-clinical and clinical imaging of mineralized tissues



Dent 688 - Bone mechanobiology

Research areas: 
Mineralized Tissues and Extracellular Matrix Biology
Selected publications: 

46. S. Hosseinitabatabaei, N. Mikolajewicz, E.A. Zimmermann, M. Rummler, B. Steyn, C. Julien, F. Rauch, B.M. Willie. (2022) 3D image registration marginally improves the precision of HR-pQCT measurements compared to cross-sectional-area registration in adults with osteogenesis imperfecta. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 37(5):908-924.

45. K. Jähn-Rickert, E.A. Zimmermann. (2021) Potential role of perilacunar remodeling in the progression of osteoporosis and implications on age-related decline in fracture resistance of bone. Current Osteoporosis Reports, 19(4):391-402. 

44. M. Indermaur, D. Casari, T. Kochetkova, C. Peruzzi, E.A. Zimmermann, F. Rauch, B.M. Willie, J. Michler, J. Schwiedrzik, P. Zysset. (2021) Compressive strength of iliac bone ECM is not reduced in Osteogenesis Imperfecta and increases with mineralization. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 36:1364-1375.

43. N. Mikolajewicz*, E.A. Zimmermann*, M. Rummler, S. Hosseinitabatabaei, C. Julien, F.H. Glorieux, F. Rauch, B.M. Willie. (2021) Multisite longitudinal calibration of HR-pQCT scanners and precision in osteogenesis imperfecta. Bone, 147:115880. *Authors contributed equally.

42. E.A. Zimmermann, I.A.K. Fiedler, B. Busse. (2021) Breaking new ground in mineralized tissue: Assessing tissue quality in clinical and laboratory studies. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials 113:104138.

41. B.M. Willie, E.A. Zimmermann, I. Vitienes, R.P. Main, S.V. Komarova. (2020) Bone adaptation: Safety factors and load predictability in shaping skeletal form. Bone 131:115114.

40. F.N. Schmidt, E.A. Zimmermann, F. Walsh, C. Plumeyer, E. Schaible, I.A.K. Fiedler, P. Milovanovic, M. Rösßle, M. Amling, C. Blanchet, B. Gludovatz, R.O. Ritchie, B. Busse. (2019) On the origins of fracture toughness in advanced teleosts: How the swordfish sword’s bone structure and composition allow for slashing under water to kill or stun prey. Advanced Science. 6, 1900287.

39. E.A. Zimmermann, C. Riedel, K. Stockhausen, Y. Chushkin, E. Schaible, F. Schmidt, B. Gludovatz, E. Vettorazzi, F. Zontone, K. Pueschel, M. Amling, R.O. Ritchie, B. Busse. (2019) Mechanical competence and bone quality develop during skeletal growth. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 34: 1461-1472.

38. N. Mikolajewicz, E.A. Zimmermann, B.M. Willie, S.V. Komarova. (2018) Mechanically-stimulated ATP release from murine bone cells is regulated by a balance of injury and repair. eLife, doi:10.7554/eLife.37812.

37. B. Kruck, E.A. Zimmermann, S. Damerov, C. Figge, C. Julien, D. Wulsten, T. Thiele, M. Martin, R. Hamdy, M.K. Reumann, G.N. Duda, S. Checa, B.M. Willie. (2018) Sclerostin neutralizing antibody treatment enhances bone formation but does not rescue mechanically induced delayed healing. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 33:1686-1697.

36. T. Rolvien, A. vom Scheidt, K.E. Stockhausen, P. Milovanovic, D. Djonic, J. Hubert, T. Hawellek, A. Wacker, V. Jebens, K. Püschel, E.A. Zimmermann, M. Djuric, M. Amling, B. Busse. (2018) Inter-site variability of the osteocyte lacunar network in the cortical bone underpins fracture susceptibility of the superolateral femoral neck. Bone 112:187-193.

35. B. Gludovatz, F. Walsh, E.A. Zimmermann, S.E. Naleway, R.O. Ritchie, J.J. Kruzic. (2017) Multiscale structure and damage tolerance of coconut shells. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials 76:76-84.

34.F.N. Schmidt, E.A. Zimmermann, G.M. Campbell, G.E. Sroga, K. Püschel, M. Amling, S.Y. Tang, D. Vashishth, B. Busse. (2017) Assessment of collagen quality associated with non-enzymatic cross-links in human bone using Fourier-transform infrared imaging. Bone 97:243-251.

33. E.A. Zimmermann, S. Bouguerra, I. Londono, F. Moldovan, C.-E. Aubin, and I. Villemure. (2017) In situ deformation of growth plate chondrocytes in stress-controlled static vs dynamic compression. Journal of Biomechanics 56:76-82.

32. P. Milovanovic, E.A. Zimmermann, A. vom Scheidt, B. Hoffmann, G. Sarau, T. Yorgan, M. Schweizer, M. Amling, S. Christiansen, B. Busse. (2017) The formation of calcified nanospherites during micropetrosis represents a unique mineralization mechanism in aged human bone. Small 13:1602215.

31. C. Riedel, E.A. Zimmermann, J. Zustin, M. Niecke, M. Amling, M. Grynpas, B. Busse. (2017) The incorporation of fluoride and strontium in hydroxyapatite affects the composition, structure and mechanical properties of human cortical bone. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research 105:433-442.

30. E.A. Zimmermann, E. Schaible, B. Gludovatz, F.N. Schmidt, C. Riedel, M. Krause, E. Vettorazzi, C. Acevedo, M. Hahn, K. Püschel, S. Tang, M. Amling, R.O. Ritchie, B. Busse. (2016) Intrinsic mechanical behavior of femoral cortical bone in young, osteoporotic, and bisphosphonate-treated individuals in low- and high energy fracture conditions. Scientific Reports 6:21072.

29. M.J.K. Simon, F.T. Beil, C. Riedel, G. Lau, A. Tomsia, E.A. Zimmermann, T. Koehne, P. Ueblacker, W. Rüther, P. Pogoda, A. Ignatius, M. Amling, R. Oheim. (2016) Deterioration of teeth and alveolar bone loss due to chronic environmental high-level fluoride and low calcium exposure. Clinical Oral Investigations 20:2361.

28. E.A. Zimmermann, B. Busse, R.O. Ritchie. (2015) The fracture mechanics of human bone: Influence of disease and treatment. BoneKEy Reports 4:743.

27. C. Acevedo, H. Bale, B. Gludovatz, A. Wat, S.Y. Tang, M. Wang, B. Busse, E.A. Zimmermann, E. Schaible, M.R. Allen, D.B. Burr, R.O. Ritchie. (2015) Alendronate treatment alters bone tissues at multiple structural levels in healthy canine cortical bone. Bone 81:352-363.

26. E.A. Zimmermann and R.O. Ritchie. (2015) Bone as a Structural Material. Advanced Healthcare Materials 4:1287-1304.

25. P. Milovanovic, E.A. Zimmermann, C. Riedel, A. vom Scheidt, L. Herzog, M. Krause, D. Djonic, M. Djuric, K. Püschel, M. Amling, R.O. Ritchie, B. Busse. (2015) Multi-level characterization of human femoral cortices and their underlying osteocyte network reveal trends in quality of young, aged, osteoporotic, and antiresorptive-treated bone. Biomaterials 45:46-55.

24. E.A. Zimmermann, T. Köhne, H.A. Bale, B. Panganiban, B. Gludovatz, J. Zustin, M. Hahn, M. Krause, M. Amling, R.O. Ritchie, B. Busse. (2015) Modification to nano- and microstructural quality and the effects on fracture in Paget’s disease of bone. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 30:264-273.

23. M. Krause, M. Soltau, E.A. Zimmermann, M. Hahn, J. Kornet, A. Hapfelmeier, S. Breer, M. Morlock, B. Wulff, K. Püschel, C-C. Glueer, M. Amling, B. Busse. (2014) Effects of long-term alendronate treatment on bone mineralization, resorption parameters and biomechanics of single human vertebral trabeculae. European Cells and Materials 22:152-163.

22. A. Carriero, E.A. Zimmermann, S.J. Shefelbine, and R.O. Ritchie. (2014) A methodology for the investigation of toughness and crack propagation in mouse bone. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials 39:38-47.

21. S.K. Amugongo, W. Yao, J. Jia, W. Dai, Y-A.E. Lay, L. Jiang, D. Harvey, E.A. Zimmermann, E. Schaible, N. Dave, R.O. Ritchie, D.B. Kimmel, N.E. Lane. (2014) Effect of sequential treatments with alendronate, parathyroid hormone (1-34) and raloxifene on cortical bone mass and strength in ovariectomized rats. Bone 67:257-268.

20. W. Yang, V. Sherman, B. Gludovatz, M. Mackey, E.A. Zimmermann, E.H. Chang, E. Schaible, Z. Qin, M.J. Buehler, R.O. Ritchie, M.A. Meyers. (2014) Protective role of Arapaima gigas fish scales: Structure and mechanical behavior. Acta Biomaterialia 10:3599-3614.

19. E.A. Zimmermann, B. Gludovatz, E. Schaible, B. Busse, R.O. Ritchie. (2014) Fracture resistance of human cortical bone across multiple length-scales at physiological strain rates. Biomaterials 35:5472-5481.

18. A. Carriero, E.A. Zimmermann, A. Paluszny, S.Y. Tang, H. Bale, B. Busse, T. Alliston, G. Kazakia, R.O. Ritchie, S.J. Shefelbine. (2014) How tough is brittle bone? Investigating Osteogenesis imperfecta in mouse bone. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 29:1392-1401.

17. E.A. Zimmermann, B. Gludovatz, E. Schaible, N.K.N. Dave, W. Yang, M.A. Meyers, R.O. Ritchie. (2013) Mechanical adaptability of the Bouligand-type structure in natural dermal armor. Nature Communications 4:2634.

16. P. Milovanovic, E.A. Zimmermann, M. Hahn, D. Djonic, K. Püschel, M. Djuric, M. Amling, and B. Busse. (2013) Osteocytic canalicular networks: Morphological implications for altered mechanosensitivity. ACS Nano 7: 7542-7551.

15. B. Busse, H.A. Bale, E.A. Zimmermann, B. Panganiban, H.D. Barth, A. Carriero, E. Vettorazzi, J. Zustin, M. Hahn, J.W. Ager, K. Püschel, M. Amling, R.O. Ritchie. (2013) Vitamin D deficiency induces early signs of aging in human bone, increasing the risk of fracture. Science Translational Medicine 5:193ra88.

14. A. Bernhard, P. Milovanovic, E.A. Zimmermann, M. Hahn, D. Djonic, M. Krause, S. Breer, K. Püschel, M. Djuric, M. Amling, B. Busse. (2013) Micro-morphological properties of osteons reveal changes in cortical bone stability during aging, osteoporosis and bisphosphonate treatment in women. Osteoporosis International 24:2671-2680.

13. W. Yang, B. Gludovatz, E.A. Zimmermann, H.A. Bale, R.O. Ritchie, M.A. Meyers. (2013) Structure and fracture resistance of alligator gar (Atractosteus Spatula) armored fish scales. Acta Biomaterialia 9:5876-5889.

12. W. Yang, I.H. Chen, B. Gludovatz, E.A. Zimmermann, R.O. Ritchie, M.A. Meyers. (2012) Natural flexible dermal armor. Advanced Materials 25:31-48.

11. J. Jia, W. Yao, S. Amugongo, M. Shahnazari, W. Dai, Y.E. Lay, D. Olvera, E.A. Zimmermann, R.O. Ritchie, C.S. Li, T. Alliston and N.E. Lane. (2013) Prolonged alendronate treatment prevents the decline in serum TGF-β 1 levels and reduces cortical bone strength in long-term estrogen deficiency rat model. Bone 52:424-432.

10. E. Saiz, E.A. Zimmermann, J.S. Lee, U.G.K. Wegst, A.P. Tomsia. (2013) Perspectives on the role of nanotechnology in bone tissue engineering. Dental Materials 29:103-115.

9. E.A. Zimmermann, H.D. Barth, R.O. Ritchie. (2012) On the multiscale origins of fracture resistance in human bone and its biological degradation. JOM 64:486-493.

8. J. Regelsberger, P. Milovanovic, T. Schmidt, M. Hahn, E.A. Zimmermann, M. Tsokos, J. Zustin, R.O. Ritchie, M. Amling, B. Busse. (2012) Changes to the cell, tissue and architecture levels in cranial suture synostosis reveal a problem of timing in bone development. European Cells and Materials Journal 24:441-458.

7. D. Olvera, E.A. Zimmermann, R.O. Ritchie. (2012) Mixed-mode toughness of human cortical bone containing a longitudinal crack in far-field compression. Bone 50:331-336.

6. E.A. Zimmermann, E. Schaible, H. Bale, H.D. Barth, S.Y. Tang, P. Reichert, B. Busse, T. Alliston, J.W. Ager III, R.O. Ritchie. (2011) Age-related changes in the plasticity and toughness of human cortical bone at multiple length-scales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108:14416-14421.

5. H.D. Barth, E.A. Zimmermann, E. Schaible, S.Y. Tang, T. Alliston, R.O. Ritchie. (2011) Characterization of the effects of x-ray irradiation on the hierarchical structure and mechanical properties of human cortical bone. Biomaterials 32:8892-8904.

4. E.A. Zimmermann, M.E. Launey, R.O. Ritchie. (2010) The significance of crack-resistance curves to the mixed-mode fracture toughness of human cortical bone. Biomaterials 31:5297-5305.

3. E.A. Zimmermann, M.E. Launey, H.D. Barth, R.O. Ritchie. (2009) Mixed-mode fracture of human cortical bone. Biomaterials 30:5877-5884.

2. Z. Cheng, W. Yao, E.A. Zimmermann, C. Busse, R.O. Ritchie, N.E. Lane. (2009) Prolonged treatments with antiresorptive agents and PTH have different effects on bone strength and the degree of mineralization in old estrogen-deficient osteoporotic rats. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 24:209-220.

1. W. Yao, Z. Cheng, A. Pham, C. Busse, E.A. Zimmermann, R.O. Ritchie, N.E. Lane. (2008) Glucocorticoid-induced bone loss in mice can be reversed by the actions of parathyroid hormone and risedronate on different pathways for bone formation and mineralization. Arthritis and Rheumatism 58:3485-3497.

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