Alessandra Leri teaches courses in organic chemistry, general chemistry, and environmental science. Her research group, composed entirely of MMC undergraduates, conducts experiments in environmental chemistry. She regularly brings students to the synchrotron facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island for experimental “beamtimes.” Her students have presented their results at various undergraduate research symposia in the region, winning presentation awards on many occasions.
Prof. Leri’s research interests lie in organic geochemistry, particularly the biogeochemical cycles of halogens in terrestrial and marine environments. Her papers have helped overturn the long-established paradigm of halogens as unreactive inorganic elements in the environment. Recently, her research has shown that natural organochlorine production is associated with fungal degradation of plant litter on the forest floor. Her subsequent work has shed light on the seasonal chlorination and dechlorination of soil organic matter. She has also revealed that naturally produced organobromine is ubiquitous in both marine and terrestrial systems, definitively changing the view of bromine in the environment. Prof. Leri has recently turned her attention to organochlorine pollutants, specifically the by-products of disinfection in manufacturing and household processes. With undergraduates at MMC, she investigates the production of organochlorine in fabrics during laundry bleaching and organochlorine in vaginal tampons. She also studies natural bromination mechanisms in seawater and soil using a newly developed synchrotron-based technique.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Chemistry, Princeton University (NSF Graduate Research Fellow)
M.A., Italian, University of Virginia
B.S., Chemistry, magna cum laude, College of William and Mary
Publications since 2010 (* denotes MMC undergraduate co-author)
- A. Leri and B. Ravel (2015). Abiotic bromination of soil organic matter. Environmental Science and Technology, Article ASAP. To access a free e-print, click here and create an ACS ID.
- A. Leri, L. Mayer, K. Thornton, P. Northrup, M. Dunigan*, K. Ness*, and A. Gellis* (2015). A marine sink for chlorine in natural organic matter. Nature Geoscience 8, 620-624.
- A. Leri, L. Mayer, K. Thornton, and B. Ravel (2014). Bromination of marine particulate organic matter through oxidative mechanisms. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 142, 53-63.
- A. Leri and B. Ravel (2014). Sample thickness and quantitative concentration measurements in Br K-edge XANES spectroscopy of organic materials. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 21, 623-626.
- A. Leri and L. Anthony* (2013). Formation of organochlorine by-products in bleached laundry. Chemosphere 90, 2041-2049.
- A. Leri and S. Myneni (2012). Natural organobromine in terrestrial ecosystems. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 77, 1-10.
- M. Krzmarzick, B. Crary, J. Harding, O. Oyerinde, A. Leri, S. Myneni, P. Novak (2012). Natural niche for organohalide-respiring Chloroflexi. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78, 393-401.
- A. Leri and S. Myneni (2010). Organochlorine turnover in forest ecosystems: The missing link in the terrestrial chlorine cycle. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 24, GB4021.
- A. Leri, J. Hakala, M. Marcus, A. Lanzirotti, C. Reddy, and S. Myneni (2010). Natural organobromine in marine sediments: New evidence of biogeochemical Br cycling. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 24, GB4017.
General Chemistry I-II and associated labs
Organic Chemistry I-II and associated labs
Energy and Climate Change
Introduction to Environmental Science
Environmental Science with an Ethical Perspective
Journals: Biogeosciences, Chemosphere, Environmental Science and Technology, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Funding Agencies: Czech Science Foundation, Department of Energy-Biological and Environmental Research, National Science Foundation
Synchrotron Facilities: Canadian Light Source, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source
Current Service to MMC
- Liaison to the Environmental Consortium of Colleges and Universities, 2015-present
- Coordinator, Environmental Studies Program, 2014-present
- Faculty Advisor, Science Society, 2008-2011, 2014-present
- Faculty Advisor, GoGreen Coalition, 2008-2009, 2014-present
- Departmental Website Coordinator, 2013-present
- Faculty Representative, Barry M. Goldwater Fellowship, 2012-present
- Member, Academic Standing Committee, 2010-present
- Member, Barry Commoner Lecture Series Committee, 2010-present