About Joe

Joe Baker

Associate Professor, Chemistry, The College of New Jersey

Postdoctoral Scholar, The University of Chicago and The Center for Multiscale Theory and Simulation

Ph.D., Physics, The University of Arizona

B.S., Physics with Chemistry minor, The University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Associate Professor

The College of New Jersey

2014 - present

Joe has worked at TCNJ since 2014 when he joined the Chemistry Department as an Assistant Professor. TCNJ is a primarily undergraduate institution where faculty work as Teacher-Scholars focused on the engagement of undergraduates in experiential learning and research, which provides transformative experiences for their students. He teaches courses in general chemistry, quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, and computational chemistry. His computational chemistry/biophysics group uses molecular simulations and machine learning methods to study the dynamics and interactions of biomolecules, such as proteins, membranes, and bacterial pili, in ionic liquids and other solvents. We aim to understand how these molecules function under different conditions and how they can be targeted for drug discovery and materials design. 

Postdoctoral Scholar

The University of Chicago

2012 - 2014

As a postdoc in the Chemistry Department and The Center for Multiscale Theory and Simulation at The University of Chicago, Joe worked in the group of Greg Voth and studied actin filaments, essential components of the cell cytoskeleton that play a critical role in many cellular processes. His research focused on understanding how actin filaments function at the molecular level, which could lead to the development of new therapies for diseases that affect the cytoskeleton. He used both all-atom and coarse-grained simulations to model actin filaments and their interactions with other proteins, such as myosin and formin. Joe also studied the role of magnesium ions in actin filament dynamics. His research has helped to improve our understanding of how actin filaments assemble, disassemble, and interact with other proteins, which is essential for developing new drugs that target actin-related diseases.

Ph.D. in Physics

The University of Arizona

2003 - 2011

While pursuing a Ph.D. at The University of Arizona, Joe worked to unravel the molecular underpinnings of biomolecular processes. Specifically, his research focused on using molecular simulations to study drug transport through membrane proteins and the resilience of type IV pili filaments to force. Prior to his work with Florence Tama on computational molecular biophysics, Joe also worked with Ina Sarcevic to understand how physics beyond the standard model could influence the neutrino signal observed at detectors on earth from distant supernova events and from the supernova neutrino background. 

B.S. in Physics with Chemistry Minor

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas

1999 - 2003

At UNLV, Joe earned his B.S. in Physics with a minor in Chemistry. He collaborated with several scientists while at UNLV on a variety of projects. Joe's work included analyzing stellar spectra in the lab of Jeremy King in an attempt to identify solar twins, characterizing the chemical properties and three-dimensional structures of organic light emitting molecules (pre-OLED displays) with Linda Sapochak, and testing the predictions of quantum mechanics in the group of Dennis Lindle, a physical chemist, who studied photoelectron spectroscopy of gases.