Postdoctoral Associate

phone (617) 253 8875

Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
E25-637, 45 Carleton Street
Cambridge, MA 02139


2016-present Postdoctoral Associate- Organic Geochemistry, MIT
2012-2016 Postdoctoral Researcher- Arctic Biogeochemistry, Los Alamos National Laboratory
2006-2012 Ph.D.- Soil Biogeochemistry, University of California, Davis
2005 Undergraduate Researcher- Oceanography, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
2004-2006 Undergraduate Researcher- Environmental Toxicology, University of Southern Maine
2001-2006 B.S., Environmental Geology, University of Southern Maine


My research investigates abiotic chemical processes that may have played a role in origins of life on Earth. Specifically, I am currently working to understand abiotic formation of amphiphilic compounds, which are lipids that possess both hydrophobic and lipophilic properties, and are important components of contemporary cell membranes. In collaboration with researchers from NASA Ames and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, I am investigating the potential for amphiphilic compounds to form in interstellar molecular cloud environments characterized by low temperatures, low pressures, and impacted with irradiation. I am also considering the potential for abiotic formation of lipids in hydrothermal environments, and the effects of clays and other minerals to catalyze aqueous Fischer Tropsch Type reactions.

Select Publications

Google scholar citations

  • Throckmorton, H., Perkins, G., Feng, X., et al. Characterizing active layer hydrology in the Arctic Coastal Plain using stable isotopes. Hydrological Processes. (In Press)
  • Throckmorton, H., Perkins, G., Altmann, G., et al. (2015). Pathways and transformations of dissolved methane and dissolved inorganic carbon in Arctic tundra soils: Evidence from analysis of stable isotopes. Global Biogeochemical Cycles (Selected as a featured paper and Research Spotlight on the AGU Eos website).
  • Heikoop, J., Throckmorton, H., Newman, B., et al. (2015). Isotopic identification of soil and permafrost nitrate sources in an Arctic tundra ecosystem. JGR Biogeosciences.
  • Newman, B., Throckmorton, H., Graham, D., et al. (2015). Microtopographic and depth controls on active layer chemistry in Arctic polygonal ground. Geophysical Research Letters.
  • Throckmorton, H., Monte, N., Doane, T., et al. (2015). The soil matrix increases microbial C stabilization in temperate and tropical forest soils. Biogeochemistry.
  • Heckman, K., Throckmorton, H., Horwath, W.R., et al. (2014). Factors affecting the molecular structure and mean residence time of occluded organics in a lithosequence of soils under ponderosa pine. Soil Biology and Biochemistry.
  • Throckmorton, H., Bird, J.A., Dane, L. et al. (2012). The source of microbial C has little impact on soil organic matter stabilization in forest ecosystems. Ecology Letters 15, 1257-65.