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Environmental Sustainability Division

Michael Hochella

Michael Hochella

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352


Michael F. Hochella, Jr. is an Earth scientist concentrating in the area of nano-bio-geo-environmental science on local, regional, and global levels. He is a Laboratory Fellow at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. He received his B.S. and M.S. from Virginia Tech in 1975 and 1977, respectively, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1981. He has been a professor, first at Stanford, and then at Virginia Tech, for a total of 28 years. He began a joint position with Virginia Tech and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in January, 2016. He has won many awards and honors (see below). He is a former President of both the Geochemical Society and the Mineralogical Society of America, and has served on high-level advisory committees at both NSF and DOE. He is the founder of the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, and the Virginia Tech National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure funded by the National Science Foundation.

Research Interests

  • Elucidating the roles that nanoscience/nanotechnology and mineral surface geochemistry/ biogeochemistry play in major aspects of the earth sciences, including especially environmental issues and biogeochemical cycling of the elements from local to global levels.
  • Mineral – microbe interactions from both geochemical and biochemical perspectives, applications to nutrients and toxins in the environment and their mobility.
  • Characterizing aqueous partitioning reactions at oxide and silicate surfaces; understanding interactions between mineral surfaces and species in solution with applications to aqueous system transport.

Education and Credentials

  • 8/77 to 8/81 - PhD, Stanford University, School of Earth Sciences.
  • 9/75 to 7/77 - MS, Virginia Tech, Department of Geological Sciences.
  • 9/71 to 6/75 - BS, Virginia Tech, Department of Geological Sciences.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award, 2016 (highest honor for faculty in the Commonwealth)
  • Elected Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry (United Kingdom), 2014
  • Elected Fellow, International Association of GeoChemistry, 2013
  • President, Mineralogical Society of America, 2012
  • George W. Brindley Lecture Award, Clay Minerals Society, 2008
  • Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2007
  • Distinguished Service Medal, The Geochemical Society, 2007
  • Elected Fellow, The Geochemical Society, 2007
  • Elected Fellow, European Association of Geochemistry, 2007
  • University Distinguished Professor, 2007 (life award and position,1% of faculty at VT)
  • Elected Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 2006
  • Virginia Scientist of the Year, 2005
  • Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Research Excellence, 2005
  • DOE Outstanding Research Award for Geosciences, 2003
  • Dana Medal, Mineralogical Society of America, 2002
  • Alexander von Humboldt Award, Germany, 2001
  • President, The Geochemical Society, 2000-2001
  • Elected Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America, 1990
  • Senior Fulbright Scholar Award, 1998
  • Elected Fellow, Geological Society of America, 1988

PNNL Publications


  • Mansor M., E. Cantando, Y. Wang, J. Hernandez-Viezcas, J. Gardea-Torresdey, M.F. Hochella, and J. Xu. 2020. "Insights into the biogeochemical cycling of cobalt: Precipitation and transformation of cobalt sulfide nanoparticles under low-temperature aqueous conditions." Environment Science and Technology 54, no. 9:5598-5607. PNNL-SA-148305. doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c01363


  • Estes E.R., D. Berti, N.R. Coffey, M.F. Hochella, A.S. Wozniak, and G. Luther. 2019. "Abiotic synthesis of graphite in hydrothermal vents." Nature Communications 10, no. 1:Article No. 5179. PNNL-SA-149325. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13216-z
  • Hochella M.F., D. Mogk, J. Ranville, I. Allen, G. Luther, L. Marr, and B.P. McGrail, et al. 2019. "Natural, incidental, and engineered nanomaterials and their impacts on the Earth system." Science 363, no. 6434:Article number eaau8299. PNNL-SA-138605. doi:10.1126/science.aau8299
  • Mansor M., C. Winkler, M.F. Hochella, and J. Xu. 2019. "Nanoparticulate Nickel-Hosting Phases in Sulfidic Environments: Effects of Ferrous Iron and Bacterial Presence on Mineral Formation Mechanism and Solid-Phase Nickel Distribution." Frontiers in Earth Science 7. PNNL-SA-148309. doi:10.3389/feart.2019.00151


  • Guo X., Y. Yang, D. Lu, Z. Niu, J. Feng, Y. Chen, and F. Tou, et al. 2018. "Biofilms as a sink for antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the Yangtze Estuary." Water Research 129. PNNL-SA-130868. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2017.11.029
  • Hower J., D. Berti, and M.F. Hochella. 2018. "Ultrafine Mineral Associations in Superhigh-Organic-Sulfur Kentucky Coals." ACS Omega 3, no. 9:12179-12187. PNNL-SA-141228. doi:10.1021/acsomega.8b01632


  • Schindler M., and M.F. Hochella. 2017. "Sequestration of Pb-Zn-Sb- and As-bearing incidental nanoparticles by mineral surface coatings and mineralized organic matter in soils." Environmental Science Processes & Impacts 19, no. 8:1016-1027. PNNL-SA-129891. doi:10.1039/c7em00202e
  • Xu J., H. Veeramani, N. Qafoku, G. Singh, M.V. Riquelme Breazeal, A. Pruden, and R.K. Kukkadapu, et al. 2017. "Efficacy of Acetate-Amended Biostimulation for Uranium Sequestration: Combined Analysis of Sediment/Groundwater Geochemistry and Bacterial Community Structure." Applied Geochemistry 78. PNNL-SA-120349. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.12.024
  • Xu J., H. Veeramani, N. Qafoku, G. Singh, M.V. Riquelme Breazeal, A. Pruden, and R.K. Kukkadapu, et al. 2017. "Efficacy of Acetate-Amended Biostimulation for Uranium Sequestration: Combined Analysis of Sediment/Groundwater Geochemistry and Bacterial Community Structure." Applied Geochemistry 78. PNNL-SA-123123. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.12.024


  • Schindler M., and M.F. Hochella. 2016. "Nanomineralogy as a new dimension in understanding elusive geochemical processes in soils: The case of low-solubility-index elements." Geology 44, no. 7:515-518. PNNL-SA-115942. doi:10.1130/G37774.1


  • Veeramani H., H. Veeramani, A. Scheinost, N. Monsegue, N. Qafoku, R.K. Kukkadapu, and M. Newville, et al. 2013. "Abiotic Reductive Immobilization of U(VI) by Biogenic Mackinawite." Environmental Science & Technology 47, no. 5:2361-2369. PNNL-SA-91214. doi:10.1021/es304025x


  • Learman D.R., H. Yi, S.D. Brown, S.L. Martin, G.G. Geesey, A.M. Stevens, and M.F. Hochella. 2009. "Involvement of Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 LuxS in Biofilm Development and Sulfur Metabolism." Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75, no. 5:1301-1307. doi:10.1128/AEM.01393-08
  • Wigginton N.S., K.M. Rosso, A.G. Stack, and M.F. Hochella. 2009. "Long-Range Electron Transfer Across Cytochrome-Hematite (a-Fe2O3) Interfaces." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 113, no. 6:2096-2103. PNNL-SA-61324.


  • Lower B.H., R.D. Lins, Z.W. Oestreicher, T. Straatsma, M.F. Hochella, L. Shi, and S. Lower. 2008. "In Vitro Evolution of a Peptide with a Hematite Binding Motif That May Constitute a Natural Metal-Oxide Binding Archetype." Environmental Science & Technology 42, no. 10:3821-3827. PNNL-SA-52976. doi:10.1021/es702688c


  • Wigginton N.S., K.M. Rosso, and M.F. Hochella. 2007. "Mechanisms of Electron Transfer in Two Decaheme Cytochromes from a Metal-Reducing Bacterium." Journal of Physical Chemistry B 111, no. 44:12857-12864. PNNL-SA-54180. doi:10.1021/jp0718698
  • Wigginton N.S., K.M. Rosso, B.H. Lower, L. Shi, and M.F. Hochella. 2007. "Electron tunneling properties of outer-membrane decaheme cytochromes from Shewanella oneidensis." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 71, no. 3:543-555. PNNL-SA-48154.


  • Lower B.H., M.F. Hochella, and S.K. Lower. 2006. "Putative Mineral-Specific Proteins Synthesized by a Metal Reducing Bacterium." American Journal of Science 305, no. 6-8 sp iss.:687-710. PNWD-SA-6661.
  • Xiong Y., L. Shi, B. Chen, M.U. Mayer, B.H. Lower, y. londer, and S. Bose, et al. 2006. "High-Affinity Binding and Direct Electron Transfer to Solid Metals by the Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 Outer Membrane c-type Cytochrome OmcA." Journal of the American Chemical Society 128, no. 43:13978-13979. PNNL-SA-50097. doi:10.1021/ja063526d


  • Neal A.L., T.L. Bank, M.F. Hochella, and K.M. Rosso. 2005. "Cell Adhesion of Shewanella Oneidensis to Iron Oxide Minerals: Effect of Different Single Crystal Faces." Geochemical Transactions 6, no. 4:77-84. PNNL-SA-48144.


  • Becker U., K.M. Rosso, R. Weaver, M. Warren, and M.F. Hochella. 2003. "Metal Island Growth and Dynamics on Molybdenite Surfaces." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67, no. 5:923-934. PNNL-SA-37235.


  • Lower S.K., M.F. Hochella, J. Banfield, and K.M. Rosso. 2002. "Nanogeoscience: From the Movement of Electrons to Lithosphere Plates." Eos 83, no. 6:1. PNNL-SA-36182.


  • Becker U., K.M. Rosso, and M.F. Hochella. 2001. "The Proximity Effect on Semiconducting Mineral Surfaces: A new aspect of Mineral Surface Reactivity and Surface Complexation Theory?." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 65, no. 16:2641-2649. PNNL-SA-32461.


  • Rosso K.M., U. Becker, and M.F. Hochella. 2000. "Surface Defects and Self-Diffusion on Pyrite {100}: an Ultra-High Vacuum Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Theoretical Modeling Study." The American Mineralogist 85. PNNL-SA-32460.


  • Rosso K.M., and M.F. Hochella. 1999. "A UHV STM/STS and ab initio investigation of covellite {001} surfaces." Surface Science 423, no. 2-3:364-374. PNNL-SA-34235.
  • Rosso K.M., U. Becker, and M.F. Hochella. 1999. "Atomically resolved electronic structure of pyrite {100} surfaces: An experimental and theoretical investigation with implication for reactivity." The American Mineralogist 84, no. 10:1535-1548. PNNL-SA-34238.
  • Rosso K.M., U. Becker, and M.F. Hochella. 1999. "The interaction of pyrite {100} surfaces with O2 and H2O: Fundamental oxidation mechanisms." The American Mineralogist 84, no. 10:1549-1561. PNNL-SA-34251.

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