Ruth M. Tinnacher Faculty Profile

Ruth  M.  Tinnacher

Assistant Professor

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Ruth Tinnacher has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at California State University East Bay since Fall 2016. She completed M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Science and Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines in May 2001 and December 2008, as well as a Dipl. Ing. (Equiv. M. Eng.) in Chemical Process Engineering in Industrial Environmental Protection at the University of Leoben, Austria in 2000. After working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for three years, she joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a Project Scientist in July 2011.

In her research, Dr. Tinnacher investigates environmental geochemistry problems that are driven by energy- and climate-related questions. Her primary research focus has been on the environmental impacts of nuclear energy and waste, with a particular interest in the mobility of radioactive contaminants in subsurface environments. In addition, she is also interested in the impacts of geologic CO2 sequestration and hydraulic fracturing on groundwater quality, and the link between environmental geochemistry and carbon cycling. Since joining Cal State East Bay, she has had the opportunity to teach lectures and/or lab sessions in the following areas: Environmental Chemistry, Quantitative Analysis and General Chemistry. Please see CV for more information.

  • Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 2008
  • M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 2001
  • Dipl.-Ing. in Chemical Process Engineering in Industrial Environmental Protection, Univ. of Leoben (Austria), 2000
  • Cand.-Ing. in Industrial Environmental Protection, Waste Disposal and Recycling, Univ. of Leoben (Austria), 1997
Spring Semester 2024
Course #SecCourse TitleDaysFromToLocationCampus
CHEM 42501Environ. ChemistryMWF9:00AM9:50AMSC-S302Hayward Campus
CHEM 68101ResearchARRARRHayward Campus

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

Tournassat, C.; Tinnacher, R. M.; Grangeon, S.; Davis, J. A.  Modeling Uranium(VI) Adsorption onto Montmorillonite under Varying Carbonate Concentrations:  A Surface Complexation Model Accounting for the Spillover Effect on Surface Potential, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2018, 220, 291-308.

Zheng, L.; Spycher, N.; Bianchi, M.; Pugh, J. D.; Varadharajan, C.; Tinnacher, R. M.; Birkholzer, J.; Nico, P. S.; Trautz, R. C.  Impacts of Elevated Dissolved CO2 on a Shallow Groundwater System: Reactive Transport Modeling of a Controlled-Release Field Test, Chemical Geology, 2016, 447, 117-132.

Tinnacher, R. M.; Holmboe, M.; Tournassat, C.; Bourg, I. C.; Davis, J. A.  Ion Adsorption and Diffusion in Smectite Clay Barriers: Molecular, Pore, and Continuum Scale Views, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2016, 177, 130-149.

Gilbert, B.; Comolli, L. R.; Tinnacher, R. M.; Kunz, M.; Banfield, J. F.  Formation and Restacking of Disordered Osmotic Hydrates of Smectite, Clays and Clay Minerals, 2016, 63, 432-442.

Zheng, L.; Spycher, N.; Varadharajan, C.; Tinnacher, R. M.; Pugh, J. D.; Bianchi, M.; Birkholzer, J.; Nico, P. S.; Trautz, R. C.  On the Mobilization of Metals by CO2 Leakage into Shallow Aquifers: Exploring Release Mechanisms by Modeling Field and Laboratory Experiments, Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology, 2015, 5, 1-16.

Tinnacher, R. M.; Begg, J.; Mason, H.; Ranville, J.; Powell, B. A.; Wong, J. C.; Kersting, A. B.; Zavarin, M.  Effects of Fulvic Acid Surface Coatings on Plutonium Sorption and Desorption Kinetics, Environmental Science and Technology, 2015, 49, 2776-2785.

Zhao, P.; Tinnacher, R. M.; Zavarin, M.; Kersting, A. B.  Analysis of Trace Neptunium in the Vicinity of Underground Nuclear Tests at the Nevada National Security Site. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 2014, 137, 163-172.

Varadharajan C.; Tinnacher, R. M.; Pugh J. D.; Trautz R. C.; Zheng L.; Spycher, N. F.; Birkholzer J. T.; Castillo-Michel H.; Esposito, R. A.; Nico, P. S.  A Laboratory Study of the Initial Effects of Dissolved Carbon Dioxide (CO2) on Metal Release from Shallow Sediments, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2013, 19, 183-211.

Tinnacher, R. M.; Nico, P. S.; Davis, J. A.; Honeyman, B. D.  Effects of Fulvic Acid on Uranium(VI) Sorption Kinetics, Environmental Science and Technology, 2013, 47, 6214-6222.

Tinnacher, R. M.; Zavarin, M.; Powell, B. A.; Kersting, A. B.  Kinetics of Neptunium(V) Sorption and Desorption on Goethite: An Experimental and Modeling Study, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2011, 75, 6584-6599.

Tinnacher, R. M.; Honeyman, B. D.  Theoretical Analysis of Kinetic Effects on the Quantitative Comparison of Kd Values and Contaminant Retardation Factors, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 2010, 118, 1-12.

Tinnacher, R. M.; Honeyman, B. D.  Modeling the Chemical Conversion of Organic Compounds in Sodium Borohydride Reduction Reactions, Organic Process Research and Development, 2008, 12, 456-463.

Tinnacher, R. M.; Honeyman, B. D.  A New Method to Radiolabel Natural Organic Matter by Chemical Reduction with Tritiated Sodium Borohydride, Environmental Science and Technology, 2007, 41, 6776-6782.

Book Chapters:

Tinnacher, R. M.; Dwivedi D.; Houseworth J. E.; Reagan, M. T.; Stringfellow, W. T.; Varadharajan, C.; Birkholzer, J. T.  Chapter 4: Hydraulic Fracturing from the Groundwater Perspective. In Groundwater Research on Exploration, Assessment, Modelling and Management of Groundwater Resources and Pollution, Taylor & Francis, 2016.

Sofield R. M.; Tinnacher R. M.; Eckard S. M.  Plutonium, In Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, Elsevier, 2013 (second edition).

Harper, R. M.; Tinnacher, R. M.  Plutonium. In Ecotoxicology. Vol. [4] of Encyclopedia of Ecology; Jorgensen, S. E., Fath B. D., Eds.; Elsevier: Oxford, 2008; 2845-2850 (first edition).

Peer-Reviewed Conference Proceedings:

Tinnacher, R. M.; Davis, J. A.  Effects of Chemical Solution Conditions on Uranium(VI) Diffusion in Clays. Proceedings to International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference, Albuquerque, NM,
April 28-May 2, 2013, 867-874.

Tinnacher, R. M.; Honeyman, B. D.  In Search of Simplicity in Reactive Transport Models. In Water-Rock Interaction, Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Water-Rock Interactions, Saratoga Springs, NY, June 27-July 2 2004; R. B. Wanty and R. R. Seal, II, Eds.; A. A. Balkema Publishers: Leiden, The Netherlands, 2004; v. 2, 1003-1006.

  • Lead principal investigator: “Effects of Mineral Impurities and Heat on Uranium(VI) Sorption onto Bentonite”, DOE Nuclear Engineering University Program, 2017; total funding awarded: $ 785,700.
  • Principal investigator: “Characterizing the Release of Organic Carbon from Groundwater Sediments Under Changing Geochemical Conditions”, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Standard Research Contract, 2017; total funding awarded: $ 9,818.
  • Principal investigator: “Effects of Calcite Impurities on Uranium(VI) Sorption to Montmorillonite Clay”, CSUEB Faculty Support Grant (Release Time), 2017; total funding awarded: 4 WTU’s, $ 200 (supplies).
  • Collaborative research proposal: “LBNL Sustainable Systems SFA 2.0 Science Plan”, Component: “Organic Matter Dynamics at Mineral Interfaces”, 2013; total funding awarded: $ 20.4 million.
  • Collaborative research proposal: “Assessment of Potentially Deleterious Effect of CCS Operations on Groundwater Quality”, California Energy Commission, 2012; total funding awarded: $ 400,000.
  • Collaborative research proposal: “Environmental Transport of Plutonium: Geochemical Processes at Femtomolar Concentrations and Nanometer Scales”, DOE Environ. Remediation Science Program, 2009; total funding awarded: $ 6.0 million.
  • Independent research proposal: “The Role of Organic Acids in the Transport of Trace Metals through Saturated Porous Media: the Application of Surface Chemical Models to Transport Simulations of Bench-Scale Experiments”, DOC Scholarship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences: 2002 and 2003; total funding awarded: € 43,800.