Robert A Sanford

  • Research Associate Professor, Geology
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Personal profile

Research Interests

I focus on the Microbial Ecology of biogeochemical processes, particularly those that occur in the subsurface. Of particular interest are studies involving respiratory anaerobic microorganisms, such as those that reduce halogenated compounds and metals, in both natural and human impacted ecosystems. Recent projects have involved deep subsurface microbial activity in the Illinois Basin Mt. Simon formation; microbial community composition in the Mahomet aquifer (major drinking water source for Champaign); bioremediation of chlorinated solvents in low permeability zones; evaluation of sulfate reducing microbial growth in microfluidic devices; and detailed evaluation of the N-cycle in agricultural soils and tropical soils relative to greenhouse gas (nitrous oxide) formation.


  • GEOL 561: Geomicrobiology and Geochemistry (Spring)
  • Fall Geomicrobiology Topics Seminar (Climate Change, Bioremediation, etc.)


  • PhD. Microbiology, Michigan State University 1996
  • MS. Microbiology, Colorado State University
  • BA. Biology, Whitman College

Office Address

2026 Natural History Bldg.

Office Phone


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Research Output

Hierarchical detection of diverse Clade II (atypical) nosZ genes using new primer sets for classical- and multiplex PCR array applications

Chee-Sanford, J. C., Connor, L., Krichels, A., Yang, W. H. & Sanford, R. A., May 2020, In : Journal of Microbiological Methods. 172, 105908.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Mass-dependent selenium isotopic fractionation during microbial reduction of seleno-oxyanions by phylogenetically diverse bacteria

    Schilling, K., Basu, A., Wanner, C., Sanford, R. A., Pallud, C., Johnson, T. M. & Mason, P. R. D., May 1 2020, In : Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 276, p. 274-288 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Microbial U Isotope Fractionation Depends on the U(VI) Reduction Rate

    Basu, A., Wanner, C., Johnson, T. M., Lundstrom, C. C., Sanford, R. A., Sonnenthal, E. L., Boyanov, M. I. & Kemner, K. M., Feb 18 2020, In : Environmental Science and Technology. 54, 4, p. 2295-2303 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Roles of organohalide-respiring Dehalococcoidia in carbon cycling

    Yang, Y., Sanford, R., Yan, J., Chen, G., Chen, G., Cápiro, N. L., Li, X., Löffler, F. E., Löffler, F. E., Löffler, F. E., Löffler, F. E. & Löffler, F. E., Jun 2020, In : mSystems. 5, 3, e00757-19.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Open Access