Faculty Profile: Vicki Grassian Joins UC San Diego Community


UC San Diego’s rich history and unique academic experience were a major motivation for Vicki Grassian to move her laboratory more than half way across the country from the University of Iowa. Grassian, whose research focuses on understanding the climate and human health impacts of particles including atmospheric aerosol, such as sea spray, mineral dust, and brown carbon, recently joined the UC San Diego community.

“I am excited to be a part of the unique teaching and learning experience at UC San Diego,” said Grassian, a distinguished professor who holds joint faculty appointments in the departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Nanoengineering, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

One of many benefits for Grassian is her closer proximity to the wave facility in the Scripps Hydraulics Lab. The facility brings the ocean indoors to provide her with a controlled environment to conduct experiments on a variety of molecular-scale processes taking place at the ocean-atmosphere interface, such as the role iron-rich dust plays on the growth of red tides and other algal blooms.

As co-director of the Scripps-based National Science Foundation Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment, a position she has held since 2013, she has been part of numerous research collaborations within the UC San Diego and Scripps Oceanography research community to study the impacts atmospheric particles have on human health.

Grassian conducts experiments to isolate the particles that make up sea spray, which include sea salt and other chemicals naturally found in seawater, to study their overall impact on the global climate system. Her research also focuses on nanotechnology applications in environmental processes, such as remediation and decontamination, as well as the impacts of nanoparticles on human health.

Having already collaborated on research projects with many researchers at Scripps, she looks forward to forging new collaborations across the university to further advance scientific understanding on the effects of airborne particulates on the climate and human health.

Grassian is a fellow of the American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has received several distinguished awards for her research including the American Chemical Society’s National Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology, the Midwest American Chemical Society Award, and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s John Jeyes Award.



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