Lab Fellow, Earth Scientist
Subsurface Science & Technology
Lab Fellow, Earth Scientist
Subsurface Science & Technology


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 (Emeritus) 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 32 years. He began a joint position with Virginia Tech and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in January, 2016. He has won many awards (e.g., the Dana Medal, the Alexander von Humboldt Award, and the Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award) and honors (e.g., Fellowships in eight international societies, including AAAS and AGU). 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 Interest

  • 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.


  • 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

  • Geochemical Society, C.C. Patterson Award (2021)
  • American Chemical Society, ACS Geochemistry Division medal (2021)
  • 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



  • Lybrand R.A., O. Qafoku, M.E. Bowden, M.F. Hochella, L. Kovarik, D.E. Perea, and N. Qafoku, et al. 2022. "Fungal hyphae develop where titanomagnetite inclusions reach the surface of basalt grains." Scientific Reports 12. PNNL-SA-163525. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-04157-z


  • Liu J., S. Inoue, R. Zhu, H. He, and M.F. Hochella. 2021. "Facet-specific oxidation of Mn(II) and heterogeneous growth of manganese (oxyhydr)oxides on hematite nanoparticles." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 307. PNNL-SA-158672. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2021.05.043


  • 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." Environmental Science & Technology 54, no. 9:5598-5607. PNNL-SA-148305. doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c01363

  • Rod K.A., P. Smith, W. Leng, S.M. Colby, R.K. Kukkadapu, M.E. Bowden, and O. Qafoku, et al. 2020. "Water-dispersible nanocolloids and higher temperatures promote the release of carbon from riparian soil." Vadose Zone Journal 19, no. 1:Article No. e20077. PNNL-SA-156976. doi:10.1002/vzj2.20077

  • Avellan A., Simonin M., Anderson S., Geitner N., Bossa N., Spielman-Sun E., Bernhardt E., Castellon B., Colman B., Cooper J., Ho M., Hochella M., Hsu-Kim H., Inoué S., King R., Laughton S., Matson C., Perrotta B., Richardson C., Unrine J., Wiesner M., Lowry G. (2020) Differential reactivity of copper- and gold-based nanomaterials controls their seasonal biogeochemical cycling and fate in a freshwater wetland mesocosm.  Environmental Science and Technology.  DOI: 10.1021/10/1021/acs.est.9b05097.
  • Medunic G., Grigore M., Dai S., Berti D., Hochella M.F., Mastalerz M., Valentim B., Guedes A., Hower J.C. (2020) Characterization of superhigh-organic-sulfur Rasa coal, Istria, Croatia, and its environmental implications.  International Journal of Coal Geology, 217, 103344.  DOI: 10.1016/j.coal.2019.103344.
  • Niu Z., Yang Y., Tou F., Guo X., Hunag R., Xu J., Chen Y., Hou L., Liu M., Hochella M.F. (2020) Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) can enhance the uptake of silver-containing nanoparticles in a wetland plant.  Environmental Science: Nano. DOI: 10.1039/C9EN01162E.


  • Hochella M.F. Jr., Mogk D.W., Ranville J., Allen I.C., Luther G.W., Marr L.C., McGrail B.P., Murayama M., Qafoku N.P., Rosso K.M., Sahai N., Schroeder P.A., Vikesland P., Westerhoff P., Yang Y. (2019) Natural, incidental, and engineered nanomaterials and their impacts on the Earth system.  Science, 363, eaau8299.  DOI: 10.1126/science.aau8299.
  • McDaniel D.K., Ringel-Scaia V.M., Morrison H.A., Coutermarsh-Ott S., Council-Troche M., Angle J.W., Perry J.B., Davis G., Leng W., Minarchick V., Yang Y., Chen B., Reece S.W., Brown D.A., Cecere T.E., Brown J.M., Gowdy K.M., Hochella M.F. Jr. and Allen I.C. (2019) Pulmonary exposure to Magnéli phase titanium suboxides results in significant macrophage abnormalities and decreased lung function.  Frontiers in Immunology 10:2714. (doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02714)
  • Schindler M., Mantha H., and Hochella M.F., Jr. (2019) The formation of spinel-group minerals in contaminated soils: The sequestration of metal(loid)s by unexpected incidental nanoparticles.  Geochemical Transactions, 20(1) DOI:10.1186/s12932-019-0061-3.
  • Inoue S., Yasuhara A., Ai H., Hochella M.F. Jr., and Murayama M. (2019) Mn(II) oxidation catalyzed by nanohematite surfaces and manganite/hausmannite core-shell nanowire formation by self-catalytic reaction.   Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 258, 79-96. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2019.05.011.
  • Estes E., Berti D., Coffey N.R., Hochella M.F. Jr., Wozniak A.S., Luther G.W. (2019) Abiotic synthesis of graphite in hydrothermal vents.  Nature Communications, 10, no. 1: Article No. 5179. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-13216-z.
  • Caraballo M.A., Wanty R.B., Verplanck P.L., Navarro-Valdivia L., Ayora C., Hochella M.F. Jr. (2019) Aluminum mobility in mildly acidic mine drainage: Interactions between hydrobasaluminite, silica and trace metals from the nano to the meso-scale.  Chemical Geology, 519, 1-10.  DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2019.04.013.
  • Gillispie E.C., Taylor S.E., Qafoku N.P., Hochella M.F., Jr. (2019) Impact of iron and manganese nano-metal-oxides on contaminant interaction and fortification potential in agricultural systems – a review.  Environmental Chemistry, DOI: 10.1071/EN19063.


  • Geitner N.J., Cooper J.L., Avellan A., Castellon B.T., Perrotta B.G., Bossa N., Simonin M., Anderson S., Inoue S., Hochella Jr. M.F., Richardson C.J., Bernhardt E.S., Lowry G.V., Ferguson P.L., Matson C.W., King R.S., Unrine J.M., Wiesner M.K., and Hsu-Kim H. (2018) Size-Based Differential Transport, Uptake, and Mass Distribution of Ceria (CeO2) Nanoparticles in Wetland Mesocosms, Environmental Science and Technology, 52, 9768-9776.  DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b02040.
  • Guo X, Y Yang, DP Lu, Z Niu, J Feng, YR Chen, FY Tou, E Garner, J Xu, M Liu, and MF Hochella. 2018. "Biofilms as a sink for antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the Yangtze Estuary." Water Research 129:277-286.  doi:10.1016/j.watres.2017.11.029


  • Yang Y., Chen B., Hower J., Schindler M., Winkler C., Brandt J., Di Giulio R., Liu M., Fu Y., Zhang L., Priya S.,Hochella M.F. Jr. (2017)  Discovery and ramifications of incidental Magnéli phase generation and release from industrial coal burning.   Nature Communications.
  • Schindler M, and MF 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(8):1016-1027. doi:10.1039/c7em00202e
  • Xu J, H Veeramani, N Qafoku, G Singh, MV Riquelme Breazeal, A Pruden, RK Kukkadapu, BN Gartman, and MF Hochella, Jr. 2017. "Efficacy of Acetate-Amended Biostimulation for Uranium Sequestration: Combined Analysis of Sediment/Groundwater Geochemistry and Bacterial Community Structure." Applied Geochemistry 78:172-185. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.12.024
  • Xu J, H Veeramani, N Qafoku, G Singh, MV Riquelme Breazeal, A Pruden, RK Kukkadapu, BN Gartman, and MF Hochella, Jr. 2017. "Efficacy of Acetate-Amended Biostimulation for Uranium Sequestration: Combined Analysis of Sediment/Groundwater Geochemistry and Bacterial Community Structure." Applied Geochemistry 78:172-185. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.12.024


  • Schindler M, and MF Hochella, Jr. 2016. "Nanomineralogy as a new dimension in understanding elusive geochemical processes in soils: The case of low-solubility-index elements." Geology 44(7):515-518.  doi:10.1130/G37774.1


  • Veeramani H, A Scheinost, N Monsegue, N Qafoku, RK Kukkadapu, M Newville, A Lanzirotti, A Pruden, M Murayama, and MF Hochella, Jr. 2013. "Abiotic Reductive Immobilization of U(VI) by Biogenic Mackinawite." Environmental Science & Technology 47(5):2361-2369. doi:10.1021/es304025x


  • Wigginton NS, KM Rosso, AG Stack, and MF Hochella, Jr. 2009. "Long-Range Electron Transfer Across Cytochrome-Hematite (a-Fe2O3) Interfaces." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 113(6):2096-2103. 


  • Lower BH, RD Lins, ZW Oestreicher, TP Straatsma, MF Hochella, Jr, 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(10):3821-3827.  doi:10.1021/es702688c


  • Wigginton NS, KM Rosso, and MF Hochella, Jr. 2007. "Mechanisms of Electron Transfer in Two Decaheme Cytochromes from a Metal-Reducing Bacterium." Journal of Physical Chemistry B 111(44):12857-12864.  doi:10.1021/jp0718698
  • Wigginton NS, KM Rosso, BH Lower, L Shi, and MF Hochella, Jr. 2007. "Electron tunneling properties of outer-membrane decaheme cytochromes from Shewanella oneidensis." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 71(3):543-555. 


  • Lower BH, MF Hochella, Jr, and SK Lower. 2006. "Putative Mineral-Specific Proteins Synthesized by a Metal Reducing Bacterium." American Journal of Science 305(6-8 sp iss.):687-710. 
  • Xiong Y, L Shi, B Chen, MU Mayer, BH Lower, londer, S Bose, MF Hochella, Jr, JM Zachara, JK Fredrickson, and TC Squier. 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(43):13978-13979. doi:10.1021/ja063526d


  • Neal AL, TL Bank, MF Hochella, Jr, and KM Rosso. 2005. "Cell Adhesion of Shewanella Oneidensis to Iron Oxide Minerals: Effect of Different Single Crystal Faces." Geochemical Transactions 6(4):77-84. 


  • Becker U, KM Rosso, R Weaver, M Warren, and MF Hochella, Jr. 2003. "Metal Island Growth and Dynamics on Molybdenite Surfaces." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67(5):923-934. 


  • Lower SK, MF Hochella, Jr, J Banfield, and KM Rosso. 2002. "Nanogeoscience: From the Movement of Electrons to Lithosphere Plates." Eos 83(6):1. 


  • Becker U, KM Rosso, and MF Hochella, Jr. 2001. "The Proximity Effect on Semiconducting Mineral Surfaces: A new aspect of Mineral Surface Reactivity and Surface Complexation Theory?" Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 65(16):2641-2649. 


  • Rosso KM, U Becker, and MF Hochella, Jr. 2000. "Surface Defects and Self-Diffusion on Pyrite {100}: an Ultra-High Vacuum Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Theoretical Modeling Study." American Mineralogist 85:1428-1436. 


  • Rosso KM, and MF Hochella, Jr. 1999. "A UHV STM/STS and ab initio investigation of covellite {001} surfaces." Surface Science 423(2-3):364-374. 
  • Rosso KM, U Becker, and MF Hochella, Jr. 1999. "Atomically resolved electronic structure of pyrite {100} surfaces: An experimental and theoretical investigation with implication for reactivity." American Mineralogist 84(10):1535-1548. 
  • Rosso KM, U Becker, and MF Hochella, Jr. 1999. "The interaction of pyrite {100} surfaces with O2 and H2O: Fundamental oxidation mechanisms." American Mineralogist 84(10):1549-1561.