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Welcome to the Hochella group website

We are a research group directed by University Distinguished Professor Michael Hochella, Jr within the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech. Our work is in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology applied to environmental geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and mineralogy. We are a core member of the national Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT). We study complex environmental systems including mineral-microbe interactions and mineral surface science.


hochella group

The Hochella/Murayama/Michel group & "extended family," in October 2012.

Latest News and Events:

  • PhD students Carol, James and Sarah attended the ASU Winter School on Electron Microscopy in Phoenix AZ (January 7-12, 2013).
  • Harish gave a talk at the conference of the American Geophysical Union in San Fransisco, CA (December 3-7, 2012).

  • Mike attended the Geological Society of America conference in Charlotte, NC (November 4-7, 2012) 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 presented at the Americal Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia (August 19-23, 2012) and participated in a panel on research in Germany.

  • Rebecca French (PhD '11) has the first paper from her dissertation published in American Mineralogist. Be sure to check out the 3D Hi-Res TEM tomography.

  • Welcome Dr. Marc Michel, who is the Geoscience Department's newest nano-bio-geo-chemistry professor! He comes to us from Stanford where he was a postdoc in Gordon Brown's group.
  • We would like to welcome a new PhD student to our group, Sarah Ulrich, who comes to us from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the USGS in Reston.

(last updated January 14, 2013)


Mike was one of the inaugural Principal Editors of Elements ‚€“ a magazine of mineralogy, geochemistry, and petrology. Check out the new issue online for news and review articles relating to all things geochemistry.




Mike was the Principal Investigator of The EIGER Project (Exploring Interfaces through Graduate Education and Research). EIGER is funded by NSF‚€™s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program.



Our group is a part of ICTAS, VT's Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. Construction on the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory, which houses the newly-upgraded FEI Titan 300 TEM, was completed in 2007. Additionally, our lab has expanded into the main ICTAS headquarters building as a part of the 'Environmental Nanoscience and Technology' Lab with faculty members from Environmental Engineering.


In the summer of 2007, Mike (and a few of his colleagues) appeared on the science radio program Pulse of the Planet. The program, featured on NPR stations across the country, airs as two-minute clips of Earth-related research, news, and interviews. Mike is the focus of several episodes as part of the 'Science Diaries' series. To listen to the audio files and read a transcript of each episode, follow this link. Individual links are also provided below. You can read Mike's 'Science Diary' Blog here and a VT press release here.

Note: If you use iTunes, you can subscribe to the Pulse of the Planet Podcast by clicking here.

Individual episode links :

Clark Fork River, Hours in the Library, Headwaters, Restoration, Comparison, Shelved, Samples, and Found It!