Joining Caltech:

Smurthi Karthikeyan Smruthi Karthikeyan (starting Jan. 2023)
Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering

Dr. Karthikeyan's research interests lie at the interface of microbial ecology, computational biology and engineering. She builds predictive models that integrate physicochemical and transport data with multi-omic (DNA, RNA and metabolome-level) data to make accurate predictions of microbial community responses to environmental perturbations.

Jess F. Adkins

Smits Family Professor of Geochemistry and Global Environmental Science

Professor Adkins focuses on geochemical investigations of past climates using corals, sediments and their interstitial waters; Rate of deep ocean circulation and its relation to mechanisms of rapid climate changes; Metals as tracers of environmental processes; Radiocarbon and U-series chronology. Chemical oceanography.

Simona Bordoni

Visiting Associate in Environmental Science and Engineering

Professor Bordoni is interested in the dynamics of important atmospheric processes that influence weather and climate. Her work specifically focuses on the dynamics of monsoon systems, and aims at understanding fundamental dynamical mechanisms which are implicated in their existence, their location and different geographical features, and which might help understand how monsoons change with changing climates. (Currently on leave at University of Trento, Italy)

Jörn Callies

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering

As an ocean physicist, Jörn works to better understand the ocean’s circulation and how it regulates the climate on earth. By probing the ocean with in situ and satellite observations, developing simplified dynamical models, and deploying detailed numerical simulations, he aims to extract the laws that govern this turbulent fluid.

Richard C. Flagan

Irma and Ross McCollum-William H. Corcoran Professor of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Science and Engineering

Professor Flagan focuses on aerosols, and includes studies of secondary organic aerosols in the atmosphere, of biological particles such as pollen and their health impacts, and of the formation of particles and clouds in the atmosphere of Titan. At the center of his work is the development of methods for the physical, chemical, and biochemical characterization of aerosol particles ranging from particles as small a 1 nm diameter to pollen grains that can exceed 100 µm in size. He also applies methods derived from aerosol science to the study of phase transitions in materials, and the development of separations technologies.

Christian Frankenberg

Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist

Professor Frankenberg's research interests include remote sensing of atmospheric trace gases, biogeochemical cycles, hydrological cycle and distribution of water isotopes, inverse methods, and applied spectroscopy.

Michael R. Hoffmann

John S. and Sherry Chen Professor of Environmental Science

Hoffmann's group studies many facets of environmental science including: environmental chemistry, cloud and aerosol chemistry, chemical kinetics, semiconductor photocatalysis, sonochemistry, electrochemistry, radiation chemistry, advanced oxidation technologies, chemical catalysis applied to pollution control, photochemistry, chemical reaction mechanisms relevant to environmental systems.

Jared R. Leadbetter

Professor of Environmental Microbiology

Leadbetter’s research program at Caltech focuses on interspecies microbial interactions and has two distinct thrusts. One is lignocellulose conversion by the complex microbial communities present in the guts of termites. The other is the biodegradation of (and related research on) an important class of bacterial signaling molecules, acyl-homoserine lactones.

Mitchio Okumura

Professor of Chemical Physics

The research activities of Professor Okumura are in the areas of laser spectroscopy, kinetics, and reaction dynamics, applied to problems in atmospheric chemistry. He studies atmospheric free radicals and transient intermediates in order to understand the reactions and photochemistry that are most important in the troposphere and stratosphere. His goal is both to determine parameters of key reactions and species in the atmosphere, and to understand the chemical physics of these processes at the most fundamental level.

Tapio Schneider

Theodore Y. Wu Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist

Professor Schneider's research group studies atmospheric dynamics, both here on Earth and on other planets, on scales from clouds to the globe. To answer fundamental questions about atmospheric dynamics, such as what controls Earth's winds and precipitation patterns, the group analyzes observational data and performs systematic studies with numerical models, simulating flows ranging from the meter-scale motions in clouds to global circulations. Collaborating with other scientists, engineers, and applied mathematicians in the Climate Modeling Alliance, Professor Schneider's group also develops next-generation models for weather forecasting and climate prediction.

John H. Seinfeld

Louis E. Nohl Professor of Chemical Engineering

Professor Seinfeld focuses on atmospheric chemistry, secondary organic aerosol formation, and aerosol-cloud relationships in climate. His research group addresses these areas through laboratory chamber and flow tube experiments, large-scale atmospheric modeling, and aircraft measurements.

Andrew Thompson

Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering

Professor Thompson's research, which uses a combination of sea-going observations, idealized numerical models and theory, focuses on ocean circulation and the physical processes that transport heat, chemicals and biology within the ocean. His work specifically explores the dynamics of ocean turbulence; the role of eddies in ocean mixing and Southern Ocean circulation, with a goal of understanding how these processes govern the ocean's contribution and response to changes in Earth's climate.

Paul O. Wennberg

R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering; Executive Officer for Environmental Science and Engineering; Director, Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science

Paul Wennberg studies the composition of the atmosphere of Earth and other planets.  He is trained as a physical chemist and most of his investigations begin with atmospheric observations made by his research group in the laboratory or in the field. A hierarchy of models are used to study these observations. His group studies the carbon cycle, photochemistry, and air quality.

Yuk L. Yung

Professor of Planetary Science; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist

Professor Yung focuses on upper atmosphere photochemistry, radiative transfer through atmosphere, and stratospheric ozone depletion.

Affiliated Faculty

Geoffrey Blake

Professor of Cosmochemistry and Planetary Sciences and Professor of Chemistry

Geoffrey Blake applies innovative spectroscopic tools to investigate the chemical and physical processes that operate in natural environments.

John M. Eiler

Robert P. Sharp Professor of Geology and Geochemistry

Professor Eiler's focuses on isotope geochemistry of light elements (H, C, N, O and S), as applied to: the origin and evolution of igneous rocks; the origin and evolution of meteorites; planetary atmospheres; atmospheric and environmental chemistry; paleoclimate; and paleontology.

Woodward Fischer

Professor of Geobiology

Historical geobiology; evolution of the oxygenic photosynthesis and rise of atmospheric oxygen; origin of Archean and Proterozoic iron formation; distribution and evolution of lipid biomarker synthesis; coupled behavior of redox and acid based processes at critical transitions in Earth history.

Xiaojing (Ruby) Fu

Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering

Ruby Fu studies subsurface fluid mechanics and how they shape our natural and engineered environments. Her work is applied to a wide range of geoscience problems in energy, resources and geohazards. Her current interests include clathrate and ice formation in porous media, hydrology, geologic carbon sequestration, and volcanic/geothermal systems.

Andrew P. Ingersoll

Professor of Planetary Science, Emeritus

Professor Ingersoll focuses on dynamic meteorology and climatology; spacecraft studies of the Earth and other planets; chaotic dust storms and polar caps of Mars; moist convection and the long lived atmospheric vortices of Jupiter; oceanography; the unity of atmospheric circulations throughout the solar system.

Michael Lamb

Professor of Geology

Professor Lamb's research focuses on the sedimentary and geomorphic processes that shape the surfaces of Earth, Mars and Titan. Current topics include waterfall erosion, sediment transport in steep mountain streams, river terrace formation, river mouth dynamics, and hyperpycnal flows.

Dianne K. Newman

Gordon M. Binder/Amgen Professor of Biology and Geobiology; Executive Officer for Biology and Biological Engineering

Professor Newman focuses on Electron Transfer and Biofilm Physiology, Photosynthesis and Respiration Based on Iron and/or Arsenic, and Intra- and Extracellular Biomineralization.

Victoria J. Orphan

James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science and Geobiology; Allen V. C. Davis and Lenabelle Davis Leadership Chair, Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions; Director, Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions

Professor Orphan focuses on molecular microbial ecology of anaerobic communities involved in carbon and sulfur cycling; application and development of combined molecular and isotopic methods for relating uncultured microorganisms to biogeochemical processes and understanding interspecies interactions. 

Alex L. Sessions

Professor of Geobiology

Professor Sessions focuses on hydrogen and carbon isotopic studies of organic geochemistry and microbial biogeochemistry, with an emphasis on natural microbial processes regulating the production and preservation of marine and sedimentary organic matter. Also the development of new stable-isotopic methods for investigating complex organic materials and microbial ecosystems.


Norman H. Brooks

James Irvine Professor of Environmental and Civil Engineering, Emeritus

E. J. (John) List

Professor of Environmental Engineering Science, Emeritus