James Brenan

Killiam Professor, Departmental Chair


Email: JBrenan@Dal.Ca
Phone: +1 902 494 2358
Fax: +1 902 494 6889
Mailing Address: 
Dalhousie University
1459 Oxford Street
PO BOX 15000
Halifax NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Petrology
  • Mineral deposits


   Life Sciences Centre
   3rd Floor Ocean Wing
   Rm. 3612


Ph.D. (Geology) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, USA) 1990
B.Sc. (Geological Sciences, Honours), McGill University (Montreal, Canada) 1985


My research focuses on experimental studies related to the behaviour of trace elements during igneous and hydrothermal processes.

High Pressure Laboratory

Current areas of study investigated  by his research group include:

  1.  the role of chromite and olivine in fractionating Re and platinum group elements in mafic igneous systems
  2. diffusion of Re, Os and Pt in sulfides and oxides with implications for “closure” of the Re-Os and Pt-Os isotopic systems
  3. constraints on Earth differentiation from siderophile element geochemistry
  4. behaviour of siderophile and chalcophile elements during the solidification of massive sulfide ore
  5. partitioning of redox-sensitive elements in mineral-melt systems
  6. fluid/mineral partitioning with application to the origin of subduction zone magmas.


  • Julian Boldy Award for Best Paper in Mineral Deposit Research, 2012
  • Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Toronto, 2004
  • Hawley Medal, Best Paper Award, Mineralogical Association of Canada, 2003
  • Young Scientist Medal, Mineralogical Association of Canada, 2002
  • Premier’s Research Excellence Award, 2000
  • Fellow and Life Member of the Mineralogical Society of America, 1998-present
  • Mineralogical Society of America Award, 1998