Alessandra Leri

Professor of Chemistry
  • Prof. Leri at the Musée Curie, Paris

Alessandra Leri teaches courses in organic chemistry, general chemistry, and environmental science. She also leads a freshman seminar on the urban ecosystem and coordinates the program in Urban and Environmental Sustainability. Her research group, composed entirely of MMC undergraduates, conducts experiments in environmental chemistry. 

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 an original synchrotron-based technique. She has brought many 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 and earned an impressive list of accolades.


Professor of Chemistry


Natural Sciences





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

Recent Work

* denotes MMC undergraduate co-author


General Chemistry I-II and associated labs 

Organic Chemistry I-II and associated labs

Chemistry and the Environment

Energy and Climate Change

Environmental Science (conventional and online)

Environmental Science with an Ethical Perspective

New York City: The Urban Ecosystem (freshman seminar)

Professional Experience

Peer Reviewing

  • Journals: Biogeosciences, Chemosphere, Environmental Science and Technology, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Science of the Total Environment

  • 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 

Recent Service to MMC


Carson Hall 603