Grassian, Vicki
Surface science of complex environmental interfaces: heterogeneous atmospheric chemistry of sea spray and mineral dust; aerosol impacts on climate; applications and implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Contact Information
Distinguished Professor, Departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Nanoengineering and Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Distinguished Chair of Physical Chemistry
Co-Director, Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment
Associate Dean, Division of Physical Sciences

Office: Urey Hall Addn 3030
Phone: 858-534-2499
Group: View group members
1987 PhD, Chemistry, University of California Berkeley
1982 MS, Chemistry, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
1981 BS, Chemistry, State University of New York at Albany
2016 - present Distinguished Professor, University of California San Diego
2016 - present Distinguished Chair of Physical Chemistry, University of California San Diego
2016 - present Associate Dean, Division of Physical Sciences, University of California San Diego
2016 - present Adjunct Professor, University of Iowa
2013 - present Co-Director, Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate, University of California San Diego
2010 to 2015 F. Wendell Miller Professor, Departments of Chemi, University of Iowa
2010 to 2012 Dean’s Administrative Fellow, College of Liberal A, University of Iowa
2008 to 2015 Director, Nanotoxicology Research Core, Environmen, University of Iowa
2007 to 2012 Associate Director and Key Function Co-Director, I, University of Iowa
2006 to 2015 Director, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute, University of Iowa
2002 to 2015 Full Professor in the Departments of Chemistry, Ch, University of Iowa
1996-2002 Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Iowa
1990-1996 Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Iowa
Awards and Academic Honors
Chartered Chemist – Royal Society of Chemistry
UI Scholar of the Year Award, Office of VP for Research & Economic Development
Royal Society of Chemistry John Jeyes Award
Midwest American Chemical Society Award
American Chemical Society National Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology
Fellow, American Chemical Society
Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry
Fellow, AVS – a Society for the Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces and Processing
Graduate College Outstanding Mentor Award, University of Iowa
Collegiate Fellow – College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Iowa
Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, University of Iowa
Fellow, American Association of the Advancement of Science
James Van Allen Natural Sciences Faculty Fellowship, University of Iowa
Distinguished Achievement Award, University of Iowa
E. I. duPont de Nemours & Company Educational Award
Career Advancement Award - National Science Foundation
GE Foundation Faculty Fellowship
Association for Women in Science-Educational Award
Research Interests
The Grassian group is interested in fundamental laboratory studies that provide a better molecular understanding of the surface chemistry of complex environmental interfaces. Several ongoing projects include understanding the molecular level details of the heterogeneous chemistry of trace gases with particulate matter such as mineral dust and sea spray in the atmosphere, dissolution and mobilization of Fe-containing particles, optical properties of atmospheric aerosol and applications and implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology in environmental processes and human health. The Grassian group applies the techniques and methods of surface science, aerosol science, microscopy and spectroscopy to study these problems.
Primary Research Area
Physical/Analytical Chemistry
Interdisciplinary interests
Atmospheric and Environmental

Outreach Activities
Professor Grassian and her group are involved in a range of activities related to teaching and outreach. Mentoring and training the next generation of future scientist are important activities to all group members. Research focus areas of the Grassian group (environment, climate, health, nanoscience) are of broad interest to a variety of active learners that includes elementary school/middle school/junior high school students and their parents, high school students and retirees. Grassian group members have opportunities to give talks, interact, demonstrate and teach about their research and its benefits to society.
Image Gallery

Particles in the atmosphere provide reactive surfaces for adsorption as well as for important chemical and photochemical reactions.

The Grassian research group collaborates with chemists and other scientists in the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry and Climate (CAICE) to study the chemistry of sea spray aerosol. CAICE is a Chemical Center of Innovation funded by NSF.

Fe nanoparticles, such as goethite, alpha-FeOOH, nanorods, show unique reactivity with atmospheric water vapor and reactive gases (e.g. nitric acid) compared to microrods. Studies of nanoscale reactivity in environmental and human health processes are currently being investigated.
Selected Publications