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Yongsong Huang

Geological Sciences
Phone: +1 401 863 3822
Phone 2: +1 401 863 3339

I specialize in the development and application of organic isotope geochemistry and organic analytical chemistry to problems in the environment, paleoclimate, paleohydrology, and astrobiology. My goal is to create new approaches and applying these approaches to understanding mechanisms and solving prominent problems in continental climatic change, environmental response to climate change, analysis and separation of complex organic mixtures and in astrobiology.


I received my B.S. in Geochemistry from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1984, my M.S. in Analytical Chemistry from the Chengdu University of Science and Technology of China in 1987, a Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the Institute of Geochemistry/Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1990, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Organic Geochemistry from the University of Bristol, UK in 1997. Before coming to Brown, I worked as a Postdoc at Penn State and as a Guest Investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.


I have a broad interests in the use of molecular structures and isotopic ratios of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen in compound-specific organic materials from lake sediments, ocean sediments, vegetation, and meteorites. My analytical skills and understanding of organic analytical chemistry and organic geochemistry have enabled me to conduct successful research in a wide variety of fields, ranging from paleoclimatology (emphasis on continental paleoclimatology), to analytical chemistry and astrobiology. My research projects range from understanding the fundamental mechanisms and impacts of rapid climate change to the major factors that control spatial and temporal changes in C3-C4 vegetation types, as well as developing new analytical and separation techniques to study complex organic mixtures. I have established a world-class laboratory to process and measure the organic biomarkers and isotopic ratios in a wide range of samples. Major instrumentation includes, GC, GC-MS, GCIRMS, HPLC-DAD-FLD-MS.


American Geophysics Union, American Chemical Society, Geological Society of America, European Association of Organic Geochemists


GEOL 1370: Environmental Geochemistry

GEOL 1380: Environmental Stable Isotopes

GEOL 2910: Recent Advances in Organic Geochemistry

GEOL 2920: High Frequency Paleoclimate Variations and Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Modes (co-taught w/ Jim Russell)

GEOL 2920: Introduction to Astrobiology (co-taught w/Pete Schultz)

GEOL 2920: Introduction to Organic Geochemistry

Current Graduate Students:
William Longo
Elizabeth Thomas
Yinsui Zheng

Former Graduate Students:
William D'Andrea, Ph.D. '08
Li Gao, Ph.D. '13
Juzhi Hou, Ph.D. '08
Jonathon Nichols, Ph.D. '10
Kristy Pond, Sc.M. '02
Megan Fuller, Sc.M. '03
Susie Theroux, Ph.D. '13
Jaime Toney, Ph.D. '11

Former Postdoctoral Researchers:
Zhonghui Liu (2005-2007)
Yi Wang (2000 to 2005)
Weiguo Liu (2002 to 2003)
Jeremy Jacob (2003 to 2003)

Funded Research

Currently Funded Research:
NSF: Laminated west Greenland lake sediments as unique climatic and biogeochemical archives.

NSF: Collaborative research: Climate, land use, and the rise and fall of powerful Sub-Saharan African societies.

NSF: Collaborative research: Holocene drought in the North American interior.

NSF: Abrupt Climate Change during Marine Isotope Stage 3 in Southern Tropical Africa: Multiproxy Reconstructions from Lake Tanganyika.

NSF: Acquisition of a high performance liquid chromatograph – mass spectrometer (HPLC-MS).

NSF: Collaborative Research: Ecosystem Responses to Progressive and Rapid Climate Change During the Holocene in New England.

NASA: New insight to the prebiotic chemical evolution from advanced molecular and compound-specific isotopic analyses of carbonaceous chondrites.

NSF: High resolution, quantitative records of temperature and effective precipitation for the past 25 kyr from Lake Qinghai.

NOAA: High-frequency variations in the Indian Ocean Dipole during the past millennium reconstructed from East African and Indonesian lake sediment cores.

Other funding to Brown with my participation/contribution
NSF: I am one of the co-PIs for "Acquisition of a high resolution mass spectrometer" to Chemistry Department.

LUCE Foundation: I am one of the co-PIs for "Enhancing the Flow of North-South Environmental Knowledge.

Web Links

Curriculum Vitae

Download Yongsong Huang's Curriculum Vitae in PDF Format