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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Professor Kevin Rosso

IAS Distinguished Visitor - 2019/20

Kevin Rosso is a Laboratory Fellow and the Associate Director of the Physical Sciences Division for Geochemistry at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), in Washington State, U.S.A.He received his B.S. degree in Geological Sciences from Cal Poly at Pomona, California in 1992, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geochemistry from Virginia Tech in 1994 and 1998.His career to date has been at PNNL where, after starting as an entry-level research scientist in 1998, he was promoted to its highest rank by 2010 and now leads a research group of approximately 35 Ph.D. students, post-doctoral fellows, and staff scientists.Professor Rosso has published over 300 papers and book chapters, a body of work with an H-index of 56 and over 12,000 citations. He is a regularly invited speaker, with over 100 distinguished lectures delivered at University colloquia, workshops and conferences internationally.

Professor Rosso is best known for his pioneering research on electron transfer reactions between aqueous ions, mineral surfaces, and bacterial enzymes. Beginning with topics such as metal sulfide oxidation, bacterial reduction of metal oxides, contaminant interactions with clay minerals, and mechanisms of crystal growth and dissolution, his research expanded into geologic carbon sequestration, stress corrosion cracking in alloys, performance optimization of lithium battery materials, and the design of semiconductor materials for solar photocatalysis. Professor Rosso is well recognized as being at the center of the field of molecular geochemistry, a field he helped create with the inception of advanced tools such as scanning probe microscopy, quantum mechanical molecular simulations, and massively parallel supercomputers.

Professor Rosso won the Mineralogical Society of America Award in 2004, where he serves as Life Fellow, PNNL’s Laboratory Director’s Award in 2004, Virginia Tech’s Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award in 2009, and the Mineralogical Society’s Hallimond Lectureship in 2016. He held a Visiting Professorship at the University of Manchester, U.K. in 2014-2016, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of New South Wales, Australia and an Invited Professor at the University of Grenoble, France. Professor Rosso was an Associate Editor for American Mineralogist in 2004-2006, for Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta in 2008-2011, and currently serves on the Editorial Boards of ACS Earth and Space Chemistry and PLOS One. He leads the U.S. Department of Energy’s major geochemistry program at PNNL.

In collaboration with Dr Gary Sharples (Biosciences) and Professor Chris Greenwell (Earth Sciences), Professor Rosso intends to explore the potential of clay-based mineralogic nanotubes such as imogolite and halloysite as a platform for controlling rates of redox reactions through the effects of nanoconfinement, with potential applications across nanotechnology, catalysis, and drug delivery. This collaboration relates directly to the IAS sponsored project, Antibacterial Clay Therapy, led by Dr Gary Sharples and Dr Kimberley Jamie (Sociology).