Dr. Gayan Rubasinghege

Gayan Rubasinghege, PhD

Assistant Professor




Assistant Professor, Saint Cloud State University, 2013-2014

Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Iowa, 2011-2013

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Iowa, IA 2011-2013

Ph.D., Physical and Environmental Chemistry, University of Iowa, 2011

B.Sc., Chemistry, University of Kelaniya, 2005


environmental interfaces, heterogeneous atmospheric chemistry and photochemistry, mineral dust, climate, biogeochemistry, marine chemistry, environmental toxicity and health, implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology, wastewater treatment.

Research Interests

Dr. Rubasinghege’s research revolves around nanomaterial, polymer composite and environmental chemistry, studying hidden reaction pathways and mechanisms in environmental processes to better understand the impact of mineral oxides and engineered nanoparticles on poorly understood environmental process. One of his projects focuses on (i) how and why different metal oxides and engineered nanoparticles behave differently during their environmental processing under various environmentally relevant conditions and (ii) the potential impacts of these processes on aquatic life and human health. These interdisciplinary studies specifically focus on effects of particle size (nano vs. micro), ionic strength, organic and inorganic pollutants and solar radiation on chemical reactivity and environmental processing of metal oxides in mineral dust as a source of trace metals to aquatic life, and their follow up aqueous phase behaviors.

surface of an aerosol dust/mineral oxide/engineered particle

In another research project Dr. Rubasinghege will combine molecular level insight from above aqueous phased studies to develop inorganic polymer and carbon nanotube based catalytic systems to address various environmental issues in open water bodies, including increasing amounts of wastewater pollutants. His research involves cutting-edged-technologies in spectroscopy (FTIR, XPS, ICP & AAS, UV-VIS, DLS), microscopy (SEM, TEM) and chromatography (GC-MS, HPLC).

Ongoing Projects:

1. Chemistry and Photochemistry of Mineral Oxides and Engineered Nanoparticles in Atmospheric Aerosol.

2. Linking Biological Activity of Ocean Diatoms to Atmospheric Processing of Fe-containing Minerals.

3. Implications of “Mineral Aging” in the Presence of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products.

4. Development of Nanoparticle based Catalytic Systems / Polymer Composites for Wastewater Treatments

Research Divisions

Atmospheric and Environmental


Solar Energy and Sustainability

Meet Dr. Gayan Rubasinghege discussing his reseach

Recent Publications

Hettiarachchi, E.; Hurub, O; Rubasinghege, G. Atmospheric processing and iron mobilization of ilmenite: An iron containing ternary oxide in mineral dust aerosol. Journal of Physical Chemistry A,2018, Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.7b11320.

Rubasinghege, G.; Gurung, R.; Rijal, H.; Maldonado-Torres, S.; Chan, A.*; Acharya, S.; Rogelj, S.; Piyasena, M. Abiotic degradation and environmental toxicity of ibuprofen: Roles of mineral particles and solar radiation. Water Research,2017, 131, 22-32.

Borcherding, J.; Baltrusaitis, B.; Chen, H.; Stebounova, L. ; Wu, C-M.; Rubansinghege, G. ; Mudunkotuwa, I. ; Caraballo, J. ; Zabner, J. ; Grassian, V. H. ; Comellas, A. Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Induce Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Growth, Biofilm Formation, and Inhibit Antimicrobial Peptide Function. Environmental Science: Nano,2014, 1, 123-132.

Rubasinghege G.; Ogden S.; Grassian, V.H. Heterogeneous Uptake and Adsorption of Gas-Phase Formic Acid on Oxide and Clay Particle Surfaces: The Roles of Surface Hydroxyl Groups and Adsorbed Water in Formic Acid Adsorption and the Impact of Formic Acid Adsorption on Water Uptake. Journal of Physical Chemistry A,2013, 117, 11316–11327.

Rubasinghege G. and Grassian, V.H. Role(s) of Adsorbed Water in the Chemistry of Environmental Interfaces. Chemical Communications 2013, 49, 3071-3094.

Baltrusaitis, J.; Chen, H.; Rubasinghege G. and Grassian, V.H. Heterogeneous Chemistry of Lead Oxide Particles with Gas-phase Nitrogen Dioxide Increases Lead Solubility: Environmental and Health Implications. Environmental Science & Technolog,2012, 46, 12806-13813.

Rubasinghege, G.; Kyei, P.; Scherer, M.; Grassian, V. Proton-promoted Dissolution of alpha-FeOOH Nanorods and Microrods: Size Dependence, Anion Effects (carbonate and phosphate), Aggregation and Surface Adsorption. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science,2012, 385, 15-23.

Rubasinghege, G.; Grassian, V. H. Surface-catalyzed Chlorine and Nitrogen Activation: Mechanisms for the Heterogeneous Formation of ClNO, NO, NO2, HONO and N2O from HNO3 and HCl on Alumina. Journal of Physical Chemistry A,2012, 116, 5180-5192.