News Archive


  • Michael Hochella has been selected as one of the recipients of the 2016 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (Outstanding Faculty Awards). Well done Mike!


  • The Virginia Tech National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure (NCE2NI) was chosen along with 15 other national entities as a member of the new National Nanotechnology Coordinated InfrastructureMichael Hochella is the leading PI of the Virginia Tech Center, with key contributions of Marc Michel and Mitsu Murayama, among other faculty members affiliated with VTSuN. The National Science Foundation will provide a total of $81 million over five years to support these 16 sites. Mike, Marc and Mitsu, thank you for putting our group among the world leaders in the field of Nanotechnology! 
  • Welcome to Marc Michel's second Ph.D. student, Aly Hoeher, who succesfully graduated from Miami University!
  • Congratulations to Hannah King who graduated from Virginia Tech. Marc Michel's first student successfully defended her Master's thesis and is now embracing her new adventure as a Hydrologist at Geosyntec Hannah. We wish you best luck Hannah!


  • Jie Xu and Saurav celebrated their communion life with a wedding in India and another one in China. Congratulations Jie. You both looked fantastic!
  • Carol Johnson defended her Ph.D. with success! She will now start a new stage of her life with a Post-doc at Duke University! Congratulations Carol, Geosciences wishes you all the best!
  • Mitsu Murayama's research performance was recognized again, with the 2014 Deans's Award for Faculty Fellow. Congratulations Mitsu!
  • Another great achievement of Hannah King, awarded with the Society of Exploration Grophysics/ExxonMobil Student Education travel grant to Denver!
  • Marc Michel was featured in The Roanoke Times for his contribution in the development of new approaches to better trace long-term effects of coal ash spills. The article was entitled "Virginia Tech researchers search for ways to better trace effects of coal ash spills".
  • James Dale passed his prelims with success and is now a Ph.D. candidate. Congratualtions James!
  • Carol Johnson was awarded with the Geosciences Outstanding Graduate Service Award, during her graduation graduation ceremony and plans to defend her thesis in August. Let's go Carol!
  • CEINT researchers, including Michael Hochella were featured with in a New York Times article entitled "Silver too small to see, but everywhere you look"
  • John Rakovan, former post-doc at Mike's group, discovered the world's largest single crystal of gold ever found. This 218 gram gold nugget was found in Venezuela and is worth an estimated $1.5 million.
  • Congratulations to Hannah king for a new research award from the Geological Society of America (1,500 award).
  • Remarkable presence of Hannah King as a finalist in the College of Science Roundtable's "make-a-difference" Scholarship ($ 10,000 award), for which a strict selection of only four students accross all departments is made.
  • Great achievement of Hannah King awarded with the Department of Geosciences Research Award in honor of Charles J. Gose.
  • Felicitations to Mariana Quadros (Nina) for her marriage on the beautiful Brazilian island of Florianópolis.
  • Welcome to Marc Michel's first Ph.D. student, Rui Serra Maia, who just arrived from Portugal!
  • Congratulations to recent postdoc Manuel Caraballo on his marriage, and we wish him the best of luck in his new position as Assistant Professor at the University of Chile in Santiago.
  • Mitsu Murayama's 3M Nontenured Faculty Award for his work in three dimensional transmission electron microscopy has been renewed. The award was created more than 25 years ago to invest in individuals who will lead university teaching and research. Congratulations, Mitsu!


  • Mike Hochella turned 60 this year! Many alumni contributed thoughtful messages and fun photos from the past for his birthday card slideshow. No birthday party is complete without party hats and tasty cake, which Mike also greatly enjoyed.
  • Mitsu Murayama has been awarded a 3M Nontenured Faculty Award for his work in three dimensional transmission electron microscopy. The 3M Nontenured Faculty Award, previously known the Non-tenured Faculty Grant (NTFG), is highly competitive and was created more than 25 years ago by the 3M Technical Community in partnership with the 3M Community Giving Program, in order to invest in individuals who will lead university teaching and research. The aim of the program is to help promising faculty earn tenure and contribute to their academic fields. Congratulations, Mitsu!
  • More new group members! Yi Yang, a research associate who is a professor from China; Hannah King, Master's student with Marc Michel; and Michael Schindler, a visiting professor from Laurentian University who will be here for 3 months.
  • We would like to welcome our newest postdoctoral research associate, Jie Xu!
  • Nina Quadros won a poster award at the Gordon Research Conference for Environmental Nanotechnology with the title "Release of silver from children’s consumer products enhanced with nanoparticles."
  • Harish Veeramani has recently accepted a postdoc position at the University of Waterloo, Canada working with Dr. David Blowes. He will start there in early September 2013. 
  • Sarah Ulrich won the Dept. of Geosciences Teaching Award for introductory geoscience courses.
  • Research Associate Bojeong Kim has accepted a tenure track assistant faculty position at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She will start there in August 2013.
  • Congratulations to Bojeong and family on their new baby girl! Born healthy on April 6, 2013.
  • William Wu successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation on Friday, April 5, 2013. Congratulations!
  • Pulse of the Planet episodes featuring Mike Hochella and Kelly Plathe (PhD '10) from 2007 were re-aired in March of this year. The series is titled "How Toxins Move." [1. Clark Fork River] [2. Hours in the Library] [3. Headwaters] [4. Restoration] [5. Comparison] [6. Shelved] [7. Samples] [8. Found It!A new episode with Mike Hochella, "Nanoparticles - Ocean Fertilization" [link], aired on March 11, 2013.
  • Takuya Echigo (Postdoc '10) has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in Geology/Mineralogy at Shiga University in Japan.
  • Congratulations to Niven and his wife on their new baby!
  • Dr. Nina Quadros (Ph.D. '12, Marr group) is the new assistant program director for the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (VT SuN).
  • PhD students Carol, James and Sarah attended the ASU Winter School on Hi-Res Electron Microscopy in Phoenix, AZ (January 7-12).


  • Harish gave a talk at the conference of the American Geophysical Union in San Fransisco, CA (December 3-7).
  • Mike, Mitsu and Rebecca (PhD '11) featured in VT Magazine's How Tech Ticks: Matter of Scale (pictured left). [link]
  • Mike attended the Geological Society of America conference in Charlotte, NC (November 4-7) and gave his final Mineralogical Society of America Presidential Address. He now holds the position of "Past-President" of MSA.
  • Congratulations to Marc and his family on their new baby!
  • Carol gave a research talk and participated in a panel on researching in Germany at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia, PA (August 19-23, 2012). Click here to watch her presentation online (ACS membership and meeting registration required to view for free).
  • Mike, Manuel, Harish, and Carol presented at Goldschmidt 2012 in Montreal, CA (June 24-29).
  • Harish chaired a session at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna (April 22-27). Prof. Kuesel, Carol's supervisor in Germany, gave a keynote talk in this session and Denise Akob will presented a poster (w/ Carol as a coauthor).
  • Carol finally jumped the major hurdle that is the Ph.D. preliminary exam on April 16.
  • Bojeong's paper in the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Environmental Monitoring is featured on the cover, AND it is in the top ten of JEM articles viewed online in the month of March!
  • James presented a poster at the ICTAS fellows symposium at VT in April.
  • Kim et al 2012 featured in RSC Publishing's Hot article: The fate of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in soil (March 28) [link]
  • Chee-Sung Park is joining our group as an Affiliate Faculty member, hosted by Mike, for the coming year. He joins us from a very productive Ph.D. and postdoc in the Materials Science and Engineering department at VT. Welcome to the group, Chee-Sung!
  • Carol gave a talk at the Geosciences Student Research Symposium on March 2, and a poster and talk at the CEINT NSF site visit and internal meeting at Duke on March 19-21. Mike and Bojeong also gave talks at the CEINT site visit and meeting.
  • Science Magazine Editor's Choice: Not-So-Quicksilver (January 6) [link]


  • Bojeong Kim was listed in This Year's Trendsetter's List by Public Works Magazine. (December 1) [link]
  • Environmental Health Perspectives: Transformation of silver nanoparticles in sewage sludge (December 1) [link]
  • Science Magazine Perspective: Nanosilver revisited downstream (November 19) [link]
  • We would like to welcome our new postdoc, Manuel Caraballo, who completed his Ph.D. in Geosciences at the University of Huelva, Spain.
  • Carol gave a talk and spent 10 days in November at the Ernst-Ruska Center in Juelich, Germany. She greatly enjoyed playing with analyzing her natural samples on their nice TEMs.
  • Nanowerk: Researchers identify silver nanoparticles in sewage sludge of wastewater treatment plants (October 4) [link]
  • New Haven Independent: Virginia Tech scientists find nanosilver in sewage sludge (September 29) [link]
  • Chemical and Engineering News: The fate of silver nanoparticle waste (September 21) [link]
  • Harish gave a talk at Goldschmidt 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic. Mike presented a poster and Carol also attended.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Rebecca French who successfully defended her Ph.D. on August 12th, 2011. We wish her the best of luck with her future endeavors.
  • The Hochella group has recently gained a tiny new group member, born on April 29th, named Dujin. Congratulations Bojeong and Chee-Sung!
  • Congratulations to Rebecca French, who has accepted a 1-yr Congressional Fellowship from the American Geophysical Union starting Sept 1. She will have the chance to be a science advisor for Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Full story.
  • We would like to welcome our newest group member, Prof. Honghai Wu from South China Normal University in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. He will be visiting our group from April 25 through November.
  • Harish Veeramani will be traveling to EGU (European Geosciences Union) Conference in Vienna, Austria from April 3-6. He is co-chairing the Frontiers in Geobiology session.
  • Matthew Hull, a PhD candidate in Dr. Peter Vikesland's group who shares our lab in ICTAS, has accepted a position as the new Associate Program Director of VT SuN (Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology), previously held by Deborah. Congratulations, Matt! (4/1/2011)
  • Carol Johnson will be working on an interdisciplinary research project with Prof. Dr. Kirsten Küsel's Geomicrobiology group at the University of Jena, Germany from April 13 - December 13. This unique opportunity is supported by the EIGER (NSF IGERT) fellowship program. She is very excited to dive into a new project but will miss life in Blacksburg! (4/1/2011)
  • Deborah Aruguete is starting an exciting new job as Associate Program Director at the NSF Division of Earth Sciences in Washington, DC. The Hochella group begs her to come back and visit once in awhile, but will also enjoy the new free bed and breakfast option in Arlington. (2/3/2011)


  • Rebecca French presented a poster at AGU in San Francisco. (12/14/2010)
  • Steven Lower (PhD 2001) was presented with the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering. Congratulations Steven on this very special award! (12/13/2010, pictured left with Pres. Barack Obama)
  • Bojeong Kim's article on silver sulfide nanoparticles in sewage sludge (ES&T 2010) has attracted much attention, highlighted in C&EN, Science, and various blogs around the scientific community. [Links]
  • Yadan Shi has just arrived from China to join the Hochella group for two years as a visiting PhD student. Welcome, Yadan!
  • Rebecca French has successfully completed her preliminary exam and is headed to Huelva, Spain to do some field work in the Iberian Pyrite Belt from Sept. 22 - Oct. 21.
  • Congratulations to Juan (Jenny) Liu (PhD 2009), who has been hired as a Research Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Lab! She has been working with Kevin Rosso (PhD 1998) at PNNL for the last year and a half.
  • Lisa Brombacher, a 2nd year Bachelor's student in Geosciences at the University of Mainz, Germany, will be doing a research internship with the group from July 23 - October 23. Welcome, Lisa!
  • James Dale, our newest Ph.D. student who is joining us this fall (2010) from Chris Kim's group at Chapman University, has won a four-year ICTAS Graduate Student Fellowship, one of only two granted this year to incoming Ph.D. candidates in the College of Science at Virginia Tech. This is an exceptional honor. Congratulations James!
  • Kelly Plathe (PhD 2010) will be starting her new post-doc position at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in the Environmental Microbiology Lab.
  • We would like to welcome our new post-doctoral researcher, Dr. Harish Veeramani! He is coming to us from EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, originally from India.
  • Mike, Bojeong, Deborah, Takuya, and Rebecca all presented at Goldschmidt 2010 in Knoxville, TN (June 14-18). Carol also attended.
  • Dr. Deborah Aruguete is the new Associate Project Director for the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. She will have a new office in the new ICTAS building. Congratulations, Deborah!
  • Kelly Plathe sucessfully defended her PhD on February 4th - Congratulations!


  • Congratulations to Saumya Bose (Ph.D. 2006) and his wife Divya on the birth of their daughter, Sana! Saumya also has a new job at Arcadis, US, Inc in Emeryville, CA.
  • Mike gave the William Smith Lecture, entitled "New Hidden Earth: Nanoparticles and their Global Role in the Environment, Pollution, and Human Health" at the William Smith Meeting 2009 hosted by the Geological Society at the Burlington House in London England (Sept 21-23, 2009).
  • Mike, Rebecca and Carol all presented work at the 1st annual International Conference on the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology in Washington, D.C. (Sept. 8-9, 2009).
  • Kelly Plathe gave a talk at the 4th International Conference on Environmental Effects of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials in Vienna, Austria (Sept. 6-9, 2009).
  • Kelly Plathe gave a talk at the 19th Annual Goldschmidt Conference in Davos, Switzerland (June 09).
  • Dr. Takuya Echigo from the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences in Ibaraki, Japan, joined us as a new post-doctoral scholar.
  • Juliane Hopf, a PhD student from the University of Bayreuth (Germany), will be joining us for 3 months.
  • Former PhD student Juan Liu (2009) has started a post-doc position at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory working with former PhD student Kevin Rosso (1998) and Don Baer.
  • Former PhD student (2002) Erin O' Reilly has accepted a job as the Physical Scientist at the Mineral Management Services (MMS), Gulf of Mexico Region.
  • Former PhD student Nick Wigginton (2008) took a job as Associate Editor at Science Magazine.
  • Former PhD student Treavor Kendall (2003) has taken a professorship at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.
  • Rebecca French and Bojeong Kim published a paper entitled “Influence of Ionic Strength, pH, and Cation Valence on Aggregation Kinetics of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles" in ES&T.
  • Carol Johnson nominated as an EIGER fellow.


  • Kelly Plathe attended the 3rd International Conference on Environmental Effects of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials in Birmingham, England (9/14/08), then spent 3 months in Vienna, Austria and Goteborg, Sweden for her EIGER international internship.
  • Nick Wigginton took a post-doctoral position at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.
  • Deric Learman moved to Boston to take a post-doctoral position at Harvard.
  • Rebecca receives travel grant for Goldschmidt 2008 in Vancouver, BC. (6/7/08)
  • Congrats to Deric for successfully defending his Ph.D! (5/29/08)
  • Congrats to Nick for successfully defending his Ph.D! (4/21/08)
  • Read the press releases on Mike's Science Review article "Nanominerals, mineral nanoparticles, and Earth systems" here and here. (3/20/08)
  • Mike is featured on the VT webpage's "Spotlight on Achievement" section link (3/3/08)
  • Deborah travels to Birmingham, UK to attend an author's meeting for the book "Environmental and Human Health Consequences of Manufactured Nanoparticles" to present her chapter. (2/5/08)


  • Mike to speak at this fall's graduate commencement ceremony on Friday, December 14. link
  • Read the recent press release about Mike's new cover article on "Aquatic Environmental Nanoparticles" in Journal of Environmental Monitoring. (12/2/07)
  • Mike is elected as a AAAS fellow. VT NewsCollegiate Times (11/5/07)
  • Deric to speak at the GLC Speaker Series on November 2nd at 4:00. The title of his talk is "The Bacteria Whisperer: Understanding Cell-to-Cell Communication in the Environment." Check it out! (10/16/07)
  • The group is pleased to welcome Bojeong Kim (Ph.D. 2006, Cornell) to the group as a new Post-Doc. (9/26/07)
  • Deric headed down to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to study bacterial quorum sensing in September. (9/24/07)
  • The group welcomes new Ph.D. student Rebecca French (M.S. 2007, Cornell). (8/25/07)
  • Pulse of the Planet "Science Diaries" aired eight two-minute clips entitled "How Toxins Move" about Mike and colleagues looking for nanoparticles in the Clark Fork River, Montana. Click the links for the audio and transcripts of individual episodes. [VT press release] [1. Clark Fork River] [2. Hours in the Library] [3. Headwaters] [4. Restoration] [5. Comparison] [6. Shelved] [7. Samples] [8. Found It!
  • Mike has just been honored with the rank of University Distinguished Professor by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors! link (6/7/07)
  • Recent Ph.D. alumnus Andrew Madden has accepted an assistant professor position from the School of Geology and Geophysics at Oklahoma University. (5/10/07)
  • Alison Smith has been awarded the Outstanding Senior Award from the College of Science and was also selected as Virginia Tech Undergraduate Woman of the Year. Congratulations Alison!! (3/27/07)
  • Mike has been awarded the Geochemical Society's Distinguished Service Award. He will be presented with the award at the 2007 Goldschmidt Conference in Cologne, Germany this August. (3/13/07)
  • Prof. Lee Penn (University of Minnesota) met with our group and gave a special ICTAS seminar in March. The title of her talk was "Chemical, Physical, and Structural Properties of Oxide Nanoparticles." (3/12/07)
  • Mike and former student Steven Lower are featured in an Science/AAAS career development article "Making the Leap to Independence." (3/2/07)
  • Nick Wigginton was selected to participate in the 4th Annual Interfacial and Condensed Phase Chemical Physics Summer Research Institute hosted by PNNL this summer. (2/8/07)
  • Mike was recently interviewed by In the short program featured on NPR, he discusses bioreduction of hematite nanoparticles. (1/1/07)


  • Mike elected fellow of American Geophysical Union (AGU) link
  • Saumya Bose successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation. Congrats Saumya!
  • Biofuel cells without the biofuels: A highlight on an article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society that used some of Saumya's synthetic hematite nanoparticles.
  • Mike travels to PNNL on Nov 29-30 for the Biogeochemistry Grand Challenge close-out meeting.
  • Dr. Deborah Aruguete (Ph.D. 2006, UC Berkeley) joins the group in October as a post-doctoral researcher.
  • Read the press release about Saumya's ACS talk in San Francisco.
  • Nick nominated to attend 56th annual meeting of Nobel laureates and students in Lindau, Germany, July 2006 link
  • Kelly nominated as EIGER fellow in Spring 2006


  • Mike awarded Virginia’s Outstanding Scientist Award Collegiate Times
  • The EIGER project at VT is funded with Mike as Principal Investigator link
  • Elements magazine releases its first issue. Mike is one of three principal scientific editors and fellow VT professor Bob Bodnar served as Guest Editor for the inaugural issue VT news link
  • Mike awarded Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Research Excellence link
  • Andy awarded Geosciences Outstanding Service Recognition Award
  • Saumya awarded MSA Mineralogy and Petrology research grant
  • Deric receives Graduate Assistantship in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowship
  • Press release covering Tracy Bank's work relating to bacterial transport in groundwater link


  • Highlight on Andy Madden's research link
  • GSA press release for Mike's talk on metal transport in Montana's Clark Fork River Superfund complex (pictured left) link
  • Mike speaks at GSA symposium honoring Prof. Paul Ribbe, former series editor for Reviews in Mineralogy & Geochemistry and emeritus professor at Virginia Tech VT News


  • The group receives DOE's Most Outstanding Research at a Univeristy Award link
  • Treavor Kendall awarded Geosciences Outstanding Service Recognition Award
  • Andy awarded MSA Mineralogy and Petrology research grant
  • Research highlight about Erin O'Reilly's work link


  • Mike receives Dana Medal from Mineralogical Society of America
  • News Release about Treavor Kendall's research link


  • Mike awarded Alexander Von Humboldt award link
  • Andy awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Highlights on Steven Lower's Shewanella/AFM research VT linkDOE BESScience Magazine


  • Barry Bickmore awarded Outstanding Dissertation, Virginia Tech