Associate Professor Earth, Environmental and Resource Sciences
Ben Brunner is a geochemist with a keen interest in geological processes that are accelerated by microbial and engineered catalysts. His work covers activities ranging from field- and sea-going research expeditions to cutting-edge light stable isotope analysis and numerical modeling of biogeochemical reactions. After completing his Ph.D. at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Brunner worked as postdoctoral scholar at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech in Pasadena, CA where he assessed if isotope patterns could be indicative for life beyond Earth. From there, he moved to Bremen, Northern Germany where, as Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, he studied microbial processes in marine sediments, followed by a position as Researcher/Associate Professor in the Center for Geomicrobiology at Aarhus University, Denmark. In 2014, he accepted a tenure track professorship at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where he is currently employed as Associate Professor and is head of the Element and Light Stable Isotope laboratory (EaSI-lab). At UTEP, Brunner is engaged in research on mineral transformation at salt diapirs and other extreme environments as well as approaches that aim at augmenting emerging green energy technologies by generating economically and ecologically valuable by-products.