Martin Schoonen 

Martin A.A. Schoonen

Office: ESS 206   Phone: (631) 632-8007  Fax: (631) 632-8240   
E-mail Address: mschoonen "at"

M.Sc., University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1984
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 1989
Faculty member at Stony Brook since 1989 

Professor Schoonen's research interests focus on the reactivity of earth materials under a wide range of conditions. Schoonen's research group is currently working on three major projects: heterogeneous catalysis involving mineral surfaces; carbon capture and storage; and medical geology.

Heterogeneous Catalysis on Mineral Surfaces

While catalysis, or promotion of reactions, is extensively studied in the chemical community, geochemists are only now addressing the importance of catalysis and photocatalysis in geochemical systems. Most of Schoonen's research has been directed at understanding the possible role of minerals in the conversion of relatively inert forms of biogenic elements (C, H, O, N, P, S) to small organic molecules or activated abiotic forms. Most of the recent effort in this area has been focused on studying the role of metal sulfides in the conversion of dintrogen to ammonia in the context of the Origin of Life.   Schoonen's group is part of the Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center funded by NASA.

Carbon Capture and Storage

Carbon capture and storage is one of the technologies being implemented around the world to eliminate carbon dioxide from emissions associated with the burning of fossil fuel. One option is to compress the gaseous waste stream into a supercritical liquid and inject it into deep saline aquifers. Schoonen's group is conducted research on the reactivity of sulfur gases (mostly hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide) which are expected to be co-injected along with carbon dioxide. The reactivity of the sulfur gases in subsurface environments dominated by supercritical carbon dioxide by itself or mixed with saline fluids is not understood. Schoonen's group conducts experimental studies to simulate the subsurface conditions and monitors the changes in the mineralogy of the exposed sediments.   Some of this work is done collaboratively with colleagues Teng-fong Wong, Department of Geosciences, Stony Brook, and Daniel Strongin, Department of Chemistry, Temple University. Schoonen's research on carbon capture and storage is funded by the US Department of Energy.

Medical Geology

Schoonen's group has been active in the emerging field of medical geology for about a decade. Research in the group focuses on mineral-driven radical formation and the interaction of minerals with biomolecules and human lung cells. The group has taken the lead in adapting a number of biomedial assays for use in mineral studies. Using these new methods, studies have been conducted on the role of pyrite in the development of black lung disease among coal miners and currently a study is being conducted to understand the effect of mineral dust on the health of soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Schoonen's group works closely with colleagues in Pharmacological Sciences at Stony Brook as well as colleagues in the US Geological Survey.   This research effort is primarily funded through an NSF- IGERT training grant. Schoonen is on the editorial board for the journal Environmental Geochemistry and Health.

Selected Publications 

Schoonen, M., Smirnov, A., Cohn, C.A., 2004. A perspective on the role of minerals in prebiotic synthesis. Ambio 33, 539-551.

Schoonen, M.A.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.

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., 2006. Role of pyrite in formation of hydroxyl radicals in coal: possible implications for human health. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 3, 16.

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.A. (Eds.), Medical Mineralogy and Geochemistry. American Mineralogical Society, pp. 179-221.

Cohn, C., Pedigo, C., Hylton, S., Simon, S., Schoonen, M., 2009. Evaluating the use of 3' -(p-Aminophenyl) fluorescein for determining particulate-induced formation of highly reactive oxygen species. Geochemical Transactions 10.

Cohn, C., Simon, S., Schoonen, M., 2008. Comparison of fluorescence-based techniques for the quantification of particle-induced hydroxyl radicals. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 5, 2.

Smirnov, A., Hausner, D., Laffers, R., Strongin, D.R., Schoonen, M.A.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.

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

Schoonen, M.A.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.

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

Murphy, R., Lammers, K., Smirnov, A., Schoonen, M.A.A., R., S.D., 2011. Hematite reactivity with supercritical CO2 and aqueous sulfide Chemical Geology 283, 210-217.

News & Announcements

Geosciences Seminar

Geosciences Department Newsletter


Stony Brook Geosciences going Far Beyond: Newest Department of Geosciences faculty member Weisen Shen's seismological research takes him to the South Pole.

Richard Reeder named Vice President for Research and Operations Manager

Mars Rover collects exciting evidence from Gale Crater

Congratulations to Scott McLennan who was named Distinguished Professor

Funding Opportunity for MS applicants interested in Instrumentation

Geosciences alum Barbara Cohen named to leadership position for Mars Exploration Rovers 

Q & A with Geosciences Graduate Student Steven Jaret as he prepares for the International FameLab national finals in Washington D.C. 

Geosciences Graduate Students bring hands-on Science education to area elementary schools

Melissa Sims chosen to introduce Secretary of Energy at NSLS-II Dedication

Celebrating Robert Cooper Liebermann

Professor Joel Hurowitz named Deputy PI for Mars 2020 Rover Instrument

PhD Student Yuyan (Sara) Zhao selected for Prestigious Dwornik Award

Professor Timothy Glotch to lead NASA funded research team

Professor Martin Schoonen named Chairman of the Environmental Sciences Department at BNL

Professors John Parise and Artem Oganov pursue Materials Genome Initiative

Professor Deanne Rogers finds evidence for past groundwater on Mars

Professor Robert Liebermann accepts Edward A. Flinn Award

Professor Scott McLennan selected for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Team

Professor Timothy Glotch receives NSF Career Award

Geosciences PhD Francis McCubbin receives Presidential Early Career Award

Professor Scott McLennan on NASA team that finds new evidence for water at Mars crater

Geoscience Researchers Develop Numerical Model to Better Forecast Forces Behind Earthquakes 

Geoscience Professor Don Weidner selected to receive Inge Lehman Medal

Geoscience researchers find that natural minerals disinfect drinking water

Professor Dan Davis publishes 4th edition of "Turn Left at Orion"

Stony Brook PhD and Faculty Advisor Show that the Moon Isn't as Dry as Previously Thought

The Department welcomes its new faculty member, Deanne Rogers

Jerome Varriale, Geosciences major, Named URECA Researcher of the Month  


Department of Geosciences - Earth and Space Science Building, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2100  Phone: (631) 632-8200
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