Department of Chemistry Biochemistry


Emeritus Professor and Research Professor

  Fax: (480) 965-2747

Research Interests

My research of over thirty years has been devoted to the study of the organic material in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, with emphasis on the molecular, isotopic, and chiral characterization of their soluble compounds. More recently, it has focused on the study of the non-racemic amino acids of meteorites, with compound specific isotopic analyses as well as model syntheses that would mimic their prebiotic catalytic activity and reactions.

Recent publications

"Sutter's Mill dicarboxylic acids as possible tracers of parent-body processes" Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 1-8 (2014) doi: 10.1111/maps.12264

"Processing of meteoritic organic materials as a possible analog of early molecular evolution in planetary environments" Pizzarello S., Davidowski S. K., Holland G.P. and Williams L.B. P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110, 15614-15619 (2013) doi: 10.1073/pnas.1309113110

"Radar-enabled recovery of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, a carbonaceous chondrite regolith breccia" Jenniskens et al. Science 338, 1583-1587 (2012). doi: 10.1126/science.1227163

"Catalytic syntheses of amino acids and their significance for nebular and planetary chemistry" Pizzarello S. Met. Planet. Sci. 47, 1291-96 (2012). doi: 10.1111/j.1945-5100.2012.01390.x

“Ammonia in the early solar system: An account from meteorites" Pizzarello S. and Williams L.B. Ap.J 749, 161-166 (2012). doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/749/2/161

"Hydrogen cyanide in the Murchison meteorite" Pizzarello S. Ap. J 754, L:27 (2012).doi: 10.1088/2041-8205/754/2/L27

"Large enantiomeric excesses in primitive meteorites and the diverse effects of water in cosmochemical evolution" Pizzarello S., Schrader D.L., Monroe A.A. and Lauretta D.S. PNAS (2012). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1204865109

"Abundant ammonia in primitive asteroids and the case for a possible exobiology" Pizzarello S., Williams L.B., Lehman J., Holland G.P. and Yarger J.L, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 4303-4306 (2011). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1014961108

"The soluble organic compounds of the Bells meteorite: Not a unique or unusual composition" Monroe A.A. and Pizzarello S. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 75, 7585-7595 (2011). doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2011.09.041

Selected Publication List

"Stereoselective syntheses of pentose sugars under realistic prebiotic conditions" Pizzarello S. and Weber A. L.  Origin Life Evol. Biosph 40, 3-10 (2010).

"Nitrogen-containing compounds in two CR2 meteorites: 15N composition, molecular distribution and precursor molecules" Pizzarello and W. Holmes Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 73, 2150-62 (2009).

"Molecular asymmetry in extraterrestrial chemistry: Insights from a pristine meteorite" Pizzarello S., Huang Y. and Alexandre M.D.R. PNAS 105, 7300-04 (2008).

"The chemistry of life's origin: A carbonaceous meteorite perspective" Pizzarello S.  Acc. Chem. Res. 39, 231-37 (2006).

"The deuterium enrichment of individual amino acids in carbonaceous meteorites: A case for the presolar distribution of biomolecules precursors" S. Pizzarello and Y. Huang Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 69, 599-605 (2005).

"Prebiotic amino acids as asymmetric catalysts" Pizzarello S.  and Weber A. L. Science 303, 1151 (2004).

"The Organic Content of the Tagish Lake Meteorite " Pizzarello S., Huang Y., Becker L., Poreda R.J., Nieman R.A., Cooper G.  and Williams M.  Science 293, 2236-39 (2001).

"Enantiomeric excesses in meteoritic amino acids" Cronin J. R.  and Pizzarello S.  Science 275, 951-55 (1997).