Bruce Fouke

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook
  • M.Sc. Paleobiology, University of Chicago
  • M.Sc. Geology, University of Iowa
  • B.Sc. Geology, Bradley University

Our laboratory research group focuses on the cross-disciplinary intersection of geology and molecular microbiology (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 oil and gas exploration and production; (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.

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 Biodoversity Laboratory on Curaçao. He serves on multiple science panels at NSF, DOE, NASA and the European Science Foundation. Results from his scientific research have been reported on in National Geographic, the New York Times, and National Public Radio.

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 Teaching Information