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Bruce W Fouke

Ralph E. Grim Professor


Bruce Fouke is a Professor in Geology, Microbiology, and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He also serves as Director of the Illinois Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center. Bruce completed his B.Sc. at Bradley University, M.Sc. degrees at the University of Iowa and the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. at Stony Brook University. He then went on to complete postdoctoral appointments at the Free University Amsterdam, the University of California Berkeley, and Exobiology at NASA Ames Research Center. He was recently chosen as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Roy M. Huffington Distinguished Lecturer for the Asia-Pacific Region, during which he presented lectures in India, Japan, China, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. Bruce has held professorships at Lund University, Sweden, and the Illinois Center for Advanced Studies, and has active adjunct faculty appointments at the Thermal Biology Institute at Montana State University, and the Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity Laboratory on Curaçao. He serves on multiple science panels at NSF, DOE and NASA. Results from his scientific research have been reported on in National Geographic, the New York Times, and National Public Radio.

Research Interests

The Fouke laboratory research group focuses on the cross-disciplinary intersection of geology and molecular biology (Geobiology), with emphasis on the emergence and survival of Life within the context of dynamic Earth processes. Results have direct application to a wide variety of pressing societal interests that range from energy and human medicine to environmental sustainability and space exploration. Our active research projects include studies of: (1) applications of sedimentology, geochemistry and molecular microbiology to the subsurface biosphere and enhanced oil recovery; (2) quantification of the rate, mode and tempo of microbial evolution in response to steep gradients using a microfluidic test bed called the GeoBioCell; (3) the control of sea surface temperature on coral reef ecosystems, coral skeleton synthesis and the global emergence of infectious marine diseases; (4) the response of heat-loving (thermophilic) bacteria to changes in hot-spring flow rate, chemistry and temperature; (5) the timing and hydrology of the last flow of water in ancient Roman aqueducts; and (6) understanding human kidney stone formation with integrated geobiology approaches.


  • Ph.D. Stony Brook
  • M.Sc. Univ Chicago
  • M.Sc. Univ Iowa
  • B.Sc. Bradley Univ

Courses Taught

  • GEOL 111/ESE 111: Emergence of Life
  • GEOL 117/ESE 117: The Oceans
  • GEOL 143/ESE 143: History of Life
  • GEOL 415/GEOL 515: Field Geology
  • GEOL 440: Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Additional Campus Affiliations

Ralph E. Grim Professor, Geology
Professor, Geology
Director, Biotechnology Center
Professor, Biomedical and Translational Sciences
Professor, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
Professor, European Union Center
Professor, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Recent Publications

Assmus, M. A., Lee, M. S., Sivaguru, M., Agarwal, D. K., Large, T., Fouke, B. W., & Krambeck, A. E. (2022). Laser fiber degradation following holmium laser enucleation of the prostate utilizing Moses technology versus regular mode. World Journal of Urology, 40(5), 1203–1209.

Fouke, B. W. (2022). An apatite for kidney stones. Nature Geoscience, 15(9), 692-693.

Fouke, B. W., Bhattacharjee, A. S., Fried, G. A., Sivaguru, M., Sanford, R. A., Zhou, L., Alcalde, R. E., Wunch, K., Stephenson, A., Ferrar, J. A., Hernandez, A. G., Wright, C., Fields, C. J., Todorov, L. G., Fouke, K. W., Bailey, C. M., & Werth, C. J. (2022). Sulfate-reducing bacteria streamers and iron sulfides abruptly occlude porosity and increase hydraulic resistance in proppant-filled shale fractures. AAPG Bulletin, 106(1), 179-208.

Keenan-Jones, D., Motta, D., Garcia, M. H., Sivaguru, M., Perillo, M., Shosted, R. K., & Fouke, B. W. (2022). Travertine crystal growth ripples record the hydraulic history of ancient Rome’s Anio Novus aqueduct. Scientific reports, 12(1), Article 1239.

Ranoa, D. R. E., Holland, R. L., Alnaji, F. G., Green, K. J., Wang, L., Fredrickson, R. L., Wang, T., Wong, G. N., Uelmen, J., Maslov, S., Weiner, Z. J., Tkachenko, A. V., Zhang, H., Liu, Z., Ibrahim, A., Patel, S. J., Paul, J. M., Vance, N. P., Gulick, J. G., ... Burke, M. D. (2022). Mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 transmission at a large public university. Nature communications, 13(1), Article 3207. Advance online publication.

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