Dr. Brenda Little Recognized for Research in Marine Molecular Processes


7/14/2003 - 43-03w
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541


Dr. Brenda Little, the Navy's senior scientist for Marine Molecular Processes in the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL's) Oceanography Division in Stennis, Mississippi, has been recognized for her sustained innovative role and outstanding transitional impact in the field of marine molecular processes.

For her achievements, she was presented the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award at a ceremony held at NRL's site in Stennis, Mississippi. Dr. Little was cited for "her meritorious achievements and dedication to the United State Navy and the Naval Research Laboratory while serving as the Senior Scientist for Marine Molecular Processes. Dr. Little's pioneering innovations and advancements in electron microscopy, biomineralization, and corrosion mechanisms have made great strides in furthering the United States Navy as a world leader in identifying and understanding microbiologically influenced corrosion."

During Dr. Little's Navy career of over 27 years, she advanced the field of marine molecular processes. She has made major contributions through her pioneering research and innovation in the use of environmental electron microscopy, as the first to apply the environmental scanning electron microscope to the study of biofilms. Her work with biomineralization has allowed the identification of mineralogical fingerprints for microbiologically influenced corrosion and has led to methods to identify potential biosignatures in extraterrestrial environments. Her research on corrosion of marine materials has had significant direct impact on a broad spectrum of Navy applications. Her research has been used to solve corrosion problems in seawater piping systems, fire protection systems, wire highlines, weapon cooling systems, and helicopter interiors. The results of her research have been applied to the selection of materials for nuclear waste storage. Most recently Dr. Little's research has demonstrated that two materials under consideration for the newly designed double hull destroyer were unsuitable because of their vulnerability to microbiologically influenced corrosion in the presence of natural seawater ballast. Her research results have led the Navy to investigate new ballast materials in the double hull destroyer design.

Dr. Little came to work for the Navy in 1976 at what was then the Naval Ocean Research and Development Activity (NORDA). NORDA became a part of the Naval Research Laboratory in 1992 and Dr. Little's current position is Senior Scientist for Marine Molecular Processes. She holds a B.S. from Baylor University and a Ph.D. from Tulane University. Dr. Little has published 71 journal articles, 97 papers in symposium proceedings, one book, and 22 book chapters. Her scientific achievements have been formally recognized by both the Women in Science and Engineering and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers, in which she is a Fellow.



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The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy's full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world. For more information, visit the NRL homepage or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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