Professor Kimberly A. Prather is the Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry and Distinguished Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of California, San Diego.
Over the course of her career, Professor Prather has over 230 publications on a variety of topics related to aerosols. One focus area in her research involves understanding how aerosols impact climate, with a major emphasis on their role in modifying clouds and precipitation. Her group has also been investigating the sources of airborne viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and their impacts on indoor air quality and human health.
She is the founding Director of the NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment (CAICE), an NSF Center for Chemical Innovation. CAICE has transferred the full complexity of the ocean-atmosphere system into the laboratory to investigate how phytoplankton, bacteria, and viruses in the ocean influence atmospheric chemistry, clouds, and climate.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Prather has been active in science communication related to the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. She has given hundreds of media interviews and been an international leader in getting policy changes enacted to protect against the spread of this airborne virus and help end the COVID-19 global pandemic. She has been involved in helping develop safe re-opening plans for San Diego Unified School district, businesses, as well as UC San Diego.
Awards for her work include being an elected member of three prestigious academies: American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2010), National Academy of Engineering (2019) and National Academy of Sciences (2020). Some of her recent awards include the 2021 Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award, 2020 American Chemical Society Frank H. Field & Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry, 2015 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award, and the 2010 American Chemical Society Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science & Technology. She is an elected fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Association for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences.