General Information

Top of Page

Martin Schoonen

Department Chair

Schoonen's research areas include environmental molecular chemistry, geocatalysis, medical geology, astrobiology, and hydrogeochemistry. An expert in synthesis, surface chemistry, and geochemistry of metal sulfides, in particular iron sulfides, his applied research efforts have included geologic sequestration of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide (CO2), development of mineral-based photocatalysts, and development of acid mine drainage abatement technology. His current research projects focus on the role of iron minerals in subsurface CO2 sequestration, the use of metal sulfides as catalysts to degrade organic pollutants, and surface chemistry and reactivity of minerals under highly-saline conditions found at some DOE legacy waste sites.

While serving as Associate Vice President for Research at Stony Brook University, which since 1998 has co-managed Brookhaven Lab with Battelle Memorial Institute, Schoonen's primary responsibility was to evaluate large multidisciplinary research opportunities, form and lead teams, align institutional resources, and coordinate writing and submission of competitive proposals. He played a key role in the development of the proposal leading to the establishment of the Center for Environmental Molecular Science at Stony Brook and Brookhaven Lab. He also led a successful effort to attract a $12 million award to rebuild Iraqi universities.


  • Ph.D. Geochemistry and Mineralogy, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Doctoraal (equivalent to M.S.), University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. Double major in Geochemistry as well as Physical and Colloid Chemistry
  • Kandidaats (equivalent to B.S.) Geochemistry, University of Utrecht, The

Areas of Interest

  • Environmental Science
  • Geochemistry and Mineralogoy
  • Hydrogeochemistry

Awards, Honors and Memberships

  • SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship (2007)
  • Co-inventor, US Patent 7153541, Method for inhibiting oxidation of metal sulfidecontaining material (2006)
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Geological Society
  • International Medical Geology Association


  • Director Environmental Initiatives, Stony Brook University, 6/1/2013-present
  • Director Sustainability Studies Program, Stony Brook University, 8/2010-5/2013
  • Founding Interim Dean Stony Brook-Southampton 9/2006-3/2009
  • Associate Vice President for Research, Stony Brook University, 9/2002-8/2006
  • Professor of Geochemistry, Department of Geosciences, SBU, since 9/2000
  • Associate Professor of Geochemistry, Earth and Space Sciences Department, SBU,
  • Assistant Professor of Geochemistry, Earth and Space Sciences Department, SBU.
    9/1989 to 8/1995
  • Assistant Director of Long Island Ground Water Research Institute at SBU,
    6/1994 to 2002
  • Visiting Scientist, Brookhaven National Lab, Fall 1996

External Service

  • Chair Confucius Institute Advisory Board, since 2010
  • Member BNL Science and Technology Steering Committee, 2011-2013
  • Member Long Island Pine Barrens Advisory Committee in 1990’s
  • Member Editorial Board for Chemical Geology, 1993-2006
  • Editor-in-Chief Geochemical Transactions, 2005-2010
  • Associate Editor Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 2010-present
  • Co-organizer Medical Geochemistry and Mineralogy, Am. Min. Soc. Workshop
    San Francisco, Fall 2006
  • President Geochemical Division, American Chemical Society, 2007
  • Review Panelist for DOE-EPSCOR; NSF; and NASA
  •  Invited Participant China Environmental Council Roundtable meeting Beijing,
    April 2008.
  • Co-organized and presented talk at workshop titled “ Breakthrough
    Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture, Land, Drought, and Rural
    Development” at UN Commission on Sustainable Development 16th
    Conference, New York, 2008
  • Reviewer BNL Seed Grants 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

Publications (since 2005)

90 publications in peer-reviewed journals, ten book chapters, co-editor of ACS Symposium Series volume 612, co-editor MSA Reviews in Geochemistry and Mineralogy volume 64 (Medical Geochemistry and Mineralogy).

Schoonen, M. A. and Schoonen, J. M. T., 2014.  Removal of crystal violet from aqueous solutions using coal. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 422, 1-8, doi:10.1016/J.Jcis.2014.02.008.

Xu, J., Sahai, N., Eggleston, C.M., Schoonen, M.A., 2013. Reactive oxygen species at the oxide/water interface: Formation mechanisms and implications for prebiotic chemistry and the origin of life. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 363, 156-167.

Szema, A.M., Schmidt, M.P., Lanzirotti, A., Harrington, A.D., Lyubsky, S., Reeder, R.J., Schoonen, M.A., 2012. Titanium and Iron in Lung of a Soldier With Nonspecific Interstitial Pneumonitis and Bronchiolitis After Returning From Iraq. J Occup Environ Med. 54, 1-2.

Schoonen, M.A., Sklute, E.C., Dyar, M.D., Strongin, D.R., 2012. Reactivity of sandstones under conditions relevant to geosequestration: 1. Hematite-bearing sandstone exposed to supercritical carbon dioxide commingled with aqueous sulfite or sulfide solutions. Chemical Geology 296, 96-102.

Fisher, S.C., Schoonen, M.A., Brownawell, B.J., 2012. Phenylalanine as a hydroxyl radical-specific probe in pyrite slurries. Geochemical Transactions 13.

Harrington, A.D., Tsirka, S.E., Schoonen, M.A., 2012. Quantification of particle-induced inflammatory stress response: A novel approach for toxicity testing of earth materials. Geochemical Transactions 13:4

Harrington, A.D., Hylton, S.A., Schoonen, M.A., 2011. Pyrite-driven Reactive Oxygen Species Formation in Simulated Lung Fluid: Implications for Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis. Environmental Geochemistry and Health 34, 527-538.

Lammers, K., Murphy, R., Riendeau, A., Smirnov, A., Schoonen, M.A., Strongin, D.R., 2011. CO2 sequestration through mineral carbonation of iron oxyhydroxides. Environmental Science & Technology 45, 10422–10428.

Murphy, R., Lammers, K., Smirnov, A., Schoonen, M.A., Strongin, D.R., 2011. Hematite reactivity with supercritical CO(2) and aqueous sulfide. Chemical Geology 283, 210-217.

Wander, M.C.F., Schoonen, M.A., 2010. Green Rust Reduction of Chromium Part 2: Comparison of Heterogeneous and Homogeneous Chromate Reduction. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 114, 16408-16415.

Schoonen, M.A., Harrington, A.D., Laffers, R., Strongin, D.R., 2010. Role of hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radical in pyrite oxidation by molecular oxygen. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta 74, 4971-4987.

Murphy, R., Lammers, K., Smirnov, A., Schoonen, M.A., Strongin, D.R., 2010. Ferrihydrite phase transformation in the presence of aqueous sulfide and supercritical CO2. Chemical Geology 271, 26-30.

Cohn, C.A., Fisher, S.C., Brownawell, B.J., Schoonen, M.A., 2010. Adenine oxidation by pyrite-generated hydroxyl radicals. Geochemical Transactions 11.

Wander, M.C.F., Kubicki, J.D., Clark, A.E., Schoonen, M.A., 2009. Ferrous Iron Reduction of Superoxide, A Proton-Coupled Electron-Transfer Four-Point Test. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 113, 1020-1025.

Hao, J., Murphy, R., Lim, E., Schoonen, M.A., Strongin, D.R., 2009. Effects of phospholipid on pyrite oxidation in the presence of autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73, 4111-4123.

Cohn, C.A., Pedigo, C.E., Hylton, S.N., Simon, S.R., Schoonen, M.A., 2009. Evaluating the use of 3 '-(p-Aminophenyl) fluorescein for determining the formation of highly reactive oxygen species in particle suspensions. Geochemical Transactions 10.

Wander, M.C.F., Schoonen, M.A.A., 2008. Reduction of N-2 by Fe2+ via homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions - Part 1: Evaluation of aqueous photochemical, prebiotic pathways. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 38, 127-137.

Wander, M.C.F., Kubicki, J.D., Schoonen, M.A., 2008. Reduction of N-2 by Fe2+ via homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions Part 2: The role of metal binding in activating N-2 for reduction; a requirement for both pre-biotic and biological mechanisms. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 38, 195-209.

Smirnov, A., Hausner, D., Laffers, R., Strongin, D.R., Schoonen, M.A., 2008. Abiotic ammonium formation in the presence of Ni-Fe metals and alloys and its implications for the Hadean nitrogen cycle. Geochemical Transactions 9.

Cohn, C.A., Simon, S.R., Schoonen, M.A., 2008. Comparison of fluorescence-based techniques for the quantification of particle-induced hydroxyl radicals. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 5.

Zhang, X.V., Ellery, S.P., Friend, C.M., Holland, H.D., Michel, F.M., Schoonen, M.A., Martin, S.T., 2007. Photodriven reduction and oxidation reactions on colloidal semiconductor particles: Implications for prebiotic synthesis. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology a-Chemistry 185, 301-311.

Wander, M.C.F., Rosso, K.M., Schoonen, M.A., 2007. Structure and charge hopping dynamics in green rust. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 111, 11414-11423.

Michel, F.M., Ehm, L., Liu, G., Han, W.Q., Antao, S.M., Chupas, P.J., Lee, P.L., Knorr, K., Eulert, H., Kim, J., Grey, C.P., Celestian, A.J., Gillow, J., Schoonen, M.A., Strongin, D.R., Parise, J.B., 2007b. Similarities in 2-and 6-line ferrihydrite based on pair distribution function analysis of X-ray total scattering. Chemistry of Materials 19, 1489-1496.

Michel, F.M., Ehm, L., Antao, S.M., Lee, P.L., Chupas, P.J., Liu, G., Strongin, D.R., Schoonen, M.A., Phillips, B.L., Parise, J.B., 2007a. The structure of ferrihydrite, a nanocrystalline material. Science 316, 1726-1729.

Hurowitz, J.A., Tosca, N.J., McLennan, S.M., Schoonen, M.A., 2007. Production of hydrogen peroxide in Martian and lunar soils. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 255, 41-52.

Zhang, X.V., Kendall, T.A., Hao, J., Strongin, D.R., Schoonen, M.A., Martin, S.T., 2006. Physical structures of lipid layers on pyrite. Environmental Science & Technology 40, 1511-1515.

Wander, M.C.F., Kubicki, J.D., Schoonen, M.A., 2006. The role of structured water in the calibration and interpretation of theoretical IR spectra. Spectrochimica Acta Part a-Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 65, 324-332.

Wander, M.C.F., Kerisit, S., Rosso, K.M., Schoonen, M.A., 2006. Kinetics of triscarbonato uranyl reduction by aqueous ferrous iron: A theoretical study. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 110, 9691-9701.

Schoonen, M.A.A., Cohn, C.A., Roemer, E., Laffers, R., Simon, S.R., O'Riordan, T., 2006. Mineral-induced formation of reactive oxygen species, in: Sahai, N., Schoonen, M.A. (Eds.), Medical Mineralogy and Geochemistry. American Mineralogical Society, pp. 179-221.

Reeder, R.J., Schoonen, M.A., Lanzirotti, A., 2006. Metal speciation and its role in bioaccessibility and bioavailability, in: Sahai, N., Schoonen, M.A.A. (Eds.), Medical Mineraology and Geochemistry. American Mineralogical Society, Washington, DC, pp. 59-113.

Michel, F.M., Schoonen, M.A., Zhang, X.V., Martin, S.T., Parise, J.B., 2006. Hydrothermal synthesis of pure alpha-phase manganese(II) sulfide without the use of organic reagents. Chemistry of Materials 18, 1726-1736.

Cole, K.E., Ortiz, A.N., Schoonen, M.A., Valentine, A.M., 2006. Peptide- and long-chain polyamine-induced synthesis of micro- and nanostructured titanium phosphate and protein encapsulation. Chemistry of Materials 18, 4592-4599.

Hao, J., Cleveland, C., Lim, E., Strongin, D.R., Schoonen, M.A., 2006. The effect of adsorbed lipid on pyrite oxidation under biotic conditions. Geochemical Transactions 7.

Cohn, C.A., Mueller, S., Wimmer, E., Leifer, N., Greenbaum, S., Strongin, D.R., Schoonen, M.A., 2006d. Pyrite-induced hydroxyl radical formation and its effect on nucleic acids. Geochemical Transactions 7.

Cohn, C.A., Laffers, R., Schoonen, M.A.A., 2006c. Using yeast RNA as a probe for generation of hydroxyl radicals by earth materials. Environmental Science & Technology 40, 2838-2843.

Cohn, C., Mueller, S., Wimmer, E., Leifer, N., Greenbaum, S., Strongin, D., Schoonen, M., 2006. Pyrite-induced hydroxyl radical formation and its effect on nucleic acids. Geochemical Transactions 7.

Cohn, C., Laffers, R., Simon, S., O'Riordan, T., Schoonen, M., 2006a. Role of pyrite in formation of hydroxyl radicals in coal: possible implications for human health. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 3, 16.

Nielsen, U.G., Paik, Y., Julmis, K., Schoonen, M.A., Reeder, R.J., Grey, C.P., 2005. Investigating sorption on iron-oxyhydroxide soil minerals by solid-state NMR spectroscopy: A Li-6 MAS NMR study of adsorption and absorption on goethite. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 109, 18310-18315.

Michel, F.M., Antao, S.M., Chupas, P.J., Lee, P.L., Parise, J.B., Schoonen, M.A., 2005. Short- to medium-range atomic order and crystallite size of the initial FeS precipitate from pair distribution function analysis. Chemistry of Materials 17, 6246-6255.

Cohn, C.A., Pak, A., Strongin, D., Schoonen, M.A., 2005. Quantifying hydrogen peroxide in iron-containing solutions using leuco crystal violet. Geochemical Transactions 6, 47-51.

Usher, C.R., Paul, K.W., Narayansamy, J., Kubicki, J.D., Sparks, D.L., Schoonen, M.A., Strongin, D.R., 2005. Mechanistic aspects of pyrite oxidation in an oxidizing gaseous environment: An in situ HATR-IR isotope study. Environmental Science & Technology 39, 7576-7584.

Hurowitz, J.A., McLennan, S.M., Lindsley, D.H., Schoonen, M.A., 2005. Experimental epithermal alteration of synthetic Los Angeles meteorite: Implications for the origin of Martian soils and identification of hydrothermal sites on Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets 110.

Schoonen, M.A., Strongin, D.R., 2005. Catalysis of electron transfer reactions at mineral surfaces, in: Grassian, V. (Ed.), Environmental Catalysis. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fl, pp. 37-60.

Allen, M., Trevor, D., Nest, D., Schoonen, M., Strongin, D., 2005. Charge development on ferritin: an electrokinetic study of a protein containing a ferrihydrite nanoparticle, in: Karn, B., Masciangioli, T., Zhang, W.-X., Colvin, V., Alivisatos, P. (Eds.), Nanotechnology and the environment: applications and implications. American Chemical Society, Washington, pp. 226-229.