Geosciences at Virginia Tech

Faculty and Instructors

Michael F. Hochella, Jr.
University Distinguished Professor

5049 Derring Hall
+1.540.231.6227 (Phone)
+1.540.231.3386 (FAX)

Mailing Address:
4044 Derring Hall (0420)
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Ph.D., 1981, Stanford University
M.S., 1977, Virginia Tech
B.S., 1975, Virginia Tech


Teaching Interests

My teaching interests are wide ranging, from Earth systems science and sustainability (geo- and bio-aspects), to introductory, mineralogical, environmental, and resource geology, to advanced graduate level courses in my fields of specialty, including nanoscience and technology, mineral surface geochemistry, mineral-microbe interaction, mineralogy, crystallography, bulk and surface atomic structure analysis, and the theory, design, and use of X-ray, electron, ion, and laser-beam spectroscopic, diffraction, and analytic instrumentation.

Research Interests

  • elucidating the role that nanoscience and mineral surface geochemistry/biogeochemistry plays in major aspects of the earth sciences, including especially environmental issues and biogeochemical cycling of the elements.
  • mineral-microbe interactions from both geochemical and biochemical perspectives, applications to nutrients and toxins in the environment and their mobility.


The Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT) is a national center funded by NSF and EPA dedicated to elucidating the relationship between a vast array of nanomaterials — from natural, to manufactured, to those produced incidentally by human activities — and their potential environmental exposure, biological effects, and ecological consequences.

Headquartered at Duke University, CEINT is a collaboration between Duke, Virginia Tech, Carnegie Mellon University, and Howard University, as well as investigators from the University of Kentucky and Stanford University. The Hochella lab at Virginia Tech leads the effort to understand naturally occurring nanomaterials in the environment.


I am the director of VTSuN, the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. VTSuN is an interdisciplinary research center focused on advancing nanoscale science and engineering with an emphasis on environmental sustainability. VTSuN aims at developing nanoscale technologies and leveraging these technologies to help remedy global sustainability challenges in areas such as clean air and water, waste minimization, environmental remediation, food safety, and renewable energy.

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