Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Peter S. Nico

Peter Nico

Peter S. Nico

Staff Scientist

Geochemistry Department



Phone: 510-486-7118

Fax: 510-486-5686


Biographical Summary

Peter Nico is a Soil and Environmental Biogeochemist who studies transition metal redox processes and their impact on the fate and transport of environmental contaminants.  He has also investigates soil carbon stabilization and mineralization mechanisms with an emphases on the role of mineral surfaces and redox active metals such as Fe and Mn.  Much of his work uses synchrotron based X-ray spectromicroscopic techniques to probe chemical and physical heterogeneity on the micron and nanometer scale.  He received his B.S degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis, and a M.S. in Organic Chemistry from U.C.L.A.  He received his Ph.D in 2001 in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from the University of California, Davis.  From 2001-2002 he was a  post-doctoral fellow in Soil and Environmental Biogeochemistry at Stanford University and still maintains a visiting scholar appointment there. From 2002-2005 he held the position of Assistant Professor of Chemistry at California State University Stanislaus before joining the Earth Sciences Division in 2005.


  • Post-Doctoral Fellow - Soil and Environmental Biogeochemistry, Stanford University - 2002
  • Doctor of Philosophy - Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry, University of California, Davis - 2001
  • Candidate in Philosophy - Organic Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles  - 1996
  • Masters of Science - Organic Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles - 1996
  • Bachelors of Science - Chemistry, University of California, Davis - 1994

Professional Experience

  • Geologic Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - August 2005- Present
  • Assistant Professor, California State University, Stanislaus - September 2002-August 2005
  • Visiting Scholar, Stanford University - September 2002-Present
    • Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Stanford University - November 2001-September 2002
    • Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
    • Research Director:  Dr. Scott Fendorf
  • Research Assistant, University of California, Davis - September 1996-2001
    • Department of Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry
    • Dissertation Advisor:  Dr. Robert J. Zasoski
  • Research Assistant, University of California, Los Angeles - September 1994-1996
    • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

    • Research Advisor:  Dr. M. Fredrick Hawthorne

Teaching Experience

  • Assistant Professor, California State University, Stanislaus - September 2002-2005
  • Lecturer, California State University, Hayward - Fall 2000
  • Adjunct Faculty, Woodland Community College - Spring 1999
  • Guest Lecturer; University of California, Davis - Winter 1998
  • Teaching Assistant; University of California, Davis and Los Angeles - 1994-1997

Professional Affiliations

  • Soil Science Society of America
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • EnviroSynch  


  • ALS Infrared Steering Committee - 2008-present
  • Co-Chair Planning Committee: Synchrotron Environmental Science IV - 2007-2008
  • Member, “Faculty Mentor Program” - 2003-2005
    • Faculty Mentor Program is a program through which students who are at more of a risk of not graduating are paired with “Faculty Mentors.”  Mentors are available to help students with academic or non-academic issues related to their success in college.
  • Member, Faculty Search Committee - 2004-2005
  • Member, Science II Ground Breaking Presentation Committee - September, 2004
  • Coordinator, Environmental Sciences Concentration - 2002 -present, California State University, Stanislaus
  • Chair, Visiting Lecturer Search Committee - 2002/2003, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Stanislaus
  • Student Representative
    • Agriculture and Environmental Chemistry Graduate Group, responsibilities included planning and organizing graduate group events; specifically recruiting and scheduling student and guest faculty speakers for the group’s fall and winter seminar series.
  • Student Member, Ad Hoc Committee on Graduate Group Membership Committee reevaluated and amended the process by which faculty were admitted to and retained in the Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry graduate group.
  • Student Representative, City of Davis/U.C. Davis Liaison Committee Committee acted as liaison between the City of Davis and the University.
  • Graduate Student Association Representative, U.C. Davis  Represented the graduate group at the university-wide Graduate Student Association meetings.
  • Graduate Student Association Representative, UCLA Chemistry Department
    • Responsibilities including helping to organize an “Alternative Careers in Chemistry” seminar series, which showcased, among others, speakers from non-research institutions talking about their careers.