Rene Boiteau

Courtesy Appointment

Rene Boiteau and his lab have moved to the University of Minnesota. His new email address is



Environmental organic chemistry

Bioinorganic chemistry

Mass spectrometry

Trace metal cycling

Research Interests

Understanding the sources, transformations, and biological impact of metals and nutrients in the environment is needed to develop accurate climate models, assess the fate and impact of harmful contaminants, and design sustainable practices for food and bio-fuel crop production. In most cases, however, the metabolic pathways, organisms, and genes involved in these global processes are still unknown. The cornerstone of our research is the development of state-of-the-art analytical approaches (especially mass spectrometry) that provide us with new windows into how elemental cycles are structured at the molecular level. Leveraging these and other 'omics' tools, our goal is to develop predictive knowledge of how metals and organic nutrients impact food webs, evolutionary adaptations, and environmental/human health.

Current Research

Much of our current research focuses on understanding how microbes and plants impact the mobility and bioavailability of metals in the environment. This work relies on the development of analytical approaches to characterize biologically produced organic metal species and determine their kinetic properties using chromatography coupled with multimodal mass spectrometry.


  • Linus Pauling Postdoctoral Fellow - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (2016-2018)
  • PhD - Chemical Oceanograph, MIT/WHOI, NSF Graduate Research Fellow (2010-2016)
  • MPhil - Earth Sciences, Cambridge University, Churchill Scholar (2009-2010)
  • BA - Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Northwestern University, Goldwater Scholar (2005-2009)

Feature Story

Iron man: Rene Boiteau wants to know how marine microorganisms get enough metal in their diets (November, 2018)

Recent Publications

  • Boiteau, R. M., Fansler, S. J., Farris, Y., Shaw, J. B., Koppenaal, D. W., Pasa-Tolic, L., & Jansson, J. K. (2019). Siderophore profiling of co-habitating soil bacteria by ultra-high-resolution mass spectrometry. Metallomics. (Emerging Investigator Special Issue)
  • Munson, K. M., Lamborg, C. H., Boiteau, R. M., & Saito, M. A. (2018). Dynamic mercury methylation and demethylation in oligotrophic marine water. Biogeosciences, 15, 6451–6460.
  • Boiteau, R. M., Till, C.P., Coale, T.H., Fitzsimmons, J.N., Bruland, K.W., Repeta, D.J., (2018). Patterns of iron and siderophore distributions across the California Current System. Limnology and oceanography, 9999, 1–14.
  • Boiteau, R. M., Shaw, J. B., Pasa-Tolic, L., Koppenaal, D.W., Jansson, J.K., (2018). Micronutrient metal speciation is controlled by competitive organic chelation in grassland soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 120, 283-291.
  • Bundy, R.M., Boiteau, R.M., McLean, C., Turk-Kubo, K.A., McIlvin, M.R., Saito, M.A., Mooy, B.A. Van, Repeta, D.J., (2018). Distinct Siderophores Contribute to Iron Cycling in the Mesopelagic at Station ALOHA. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5,1-15.
  • Boiteau, R. M., D. W. Hoyt, C. D. Nicora, H. A. Kinmonth-schultz, J. K. Ward, and K. Bingol. (2018). Structure Elucidation of Unknown Metabolites in Metabolomics by Combined NMR and MS / MS Prediction. Metabolites 8: 1–12.
  • Boiteau, R. M., Hawco, N., Mende, D., McIlvin, M, Sedwick, P., Fitzsimmons J.N., Saito, M., Delong, E., Repeta, D. J. Repeta (2016) “Siderophore-based microbial adaptations to iron scarcity across the eastern Pacific Ocean.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113(50), 14237-14242.
  • Boiteau, R. M., C. P. Till, A. Ruacho, R. M. Bundy, N. J. Hawco, K. A. Barbeau, K. W. Bruland, M. A. Saito, D. J. Repeta. (2016) “Characterization of nickel and copper binding by natural ligands along the US GEOTRACES Eastern Pacific Zonal transect.” Frontiers in Marine Science.3:243. 
  • Boiteau, R. M, D. Repeta (2015) “An extended siderophore suite from Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 revealed by LC-ICPMS-ESIMS.” Metallomics, 7, 877-884.
  • Böttjer, D., S.P. Jungbluth, R.M. Boiteau, B. Burkhardt, F. de Leo, and B.C. Bruno (2014) “Career choices in marine and environmental sciences: Navigating a sea of options.” Oceanography, 27(2):201–207
  • Boiteau, R. M, J. Fitzsimmons, D. Repeta, and E. Boyle (2013) “Detection of Iron Ligands in Seawater and Marine Cyanobacteria Cultures by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography−Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry.” Analytical Chemistry. 85(9), 4357-62.
  • Boiteau, R., M. Greaves, and H. Elderfield (2012) “Authigenic uranium in foraminiferal coatings: A proxy for ocean redox chemistry.” Paleoceanography, 27(3), 1–8.