Derek Dee

Derek Dee

Assistant Professor, Food Science


FNH 240, 2205 East Mall

University of Alberta, Postdoctoral fellow, Dept. of Physics

University of Guelph, PhD, Biophysics

University of Guelph, MSc, Food Science

University of Saskatchewan, Hons., Food Science

Our research seeks to understand the forces that govern protein structure and function, with an emphasis on potential applications in food, biomaterials and medicine.

Current projects focus on protein folding, aggregation, and engineering amyloid-like nanomaterials. We are examining ways to control the self-assembly of food proteins into nanofibrils with differing functional properties, while also assessing whether these novel nanomaterials are safe for direct food application. Another research focus is utilizing novel bioconjugate chemistry and molecular biology tools to engineer proteins with non-standard amino acids. These can then be targeted for specific labelling to study protein modifications such as glycosylation, or to create nanofibrils fused with other functional domains to create novel devices and materials.

This research involves a variety of biochemical, molecular biology and biophysical approaches and offers a training environment that blends basic and applied sciences to better understand and utilize food proteins and enzymes.

Graduate Students: Potential graduate students who are interested in applying fundamental concepts (e.g., from biophysics, biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics, or molecular dynamics) to understand proteins for food or health applications are encouraged to apply. Please contact me ( and include your CV and a description of your research interests.

Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Postdoctoral Fellowship

Ontario Graduate Scholarship

National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Post Graduate Scholarship

Click here for a complete list of publications.

Liu L., Kerr, W.L., Kong, F., Dee, D.R., Lin, M. (2018) Influence of nano-fibrillated cellulose (NFC) on starch digestion and glucose absorption. Carbohydrate Polymers, 196: 146-153.

Sen Mojumdar, S., Scholl, N., Dee, D.R., Rouleau, L., Anand, U., Garen, C., Woodside, M.T. (2017) Partially native intermediates mediate misfolding of SOD1 in single-molecule folding trajectories. Nature Communications, 8:1881.

Dee, D.R., Woodside, M.T. (2016) Comparing the energy landscapes for native folding and aggregation of PrP. Prion, 10: 207-220.

Neupane, K., Foster, D.A.N., Dee, D.R., Yu, H., Wang, F., Woodside, M.T. (2016) Direct observation of transition paths during the folding of proteins and nucleic acids. Science, 352: 239-242.

Yu, H.*, Dee, D.R.*, Liu, X., Brigley, A.N., Sosova, I., Woodside, M.T. (2015) Protein misfolding occurs by slow diffusion across multiple barriers in a rough energy landscape. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112: 8308-8313. *co-first authors