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Clara Chan

Associate Professor

I study geomicrobiology, in particular the interactions between microbes and minerals. My research focuses on microbial mineralization, including characterizing mineral phase, morphology, and reactivity, as well as investigating the roles microbes play in precipitation and crystallization processes. I take a multidisciplinary approach, combining geochemical field characterization and sampling, molecular biology, biochemistry, culturing and a wide variety of microscopy and spectroscopy techniques.


B.S., Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, 1997

M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 1998

Ph.D., Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, 2006

Research Areas of Interest

  • geomicrobiology
  • biomineralization
  • biofilms
  • biosignatures
  • nano-and environmental mineralogy
  • environmental geochemistry
Biosignatures of Fe-Oxidizing Microbes
TEM image of Mariprofundus ferroxydans stalks

Modern iron-oxidizing microbes and putative microfossils are aiding the identification of biosignatures in the rock record.

Microbe-S(0) interactions

How do microbes make and consume elemental S(0)?

Geomicrobiology (GEOL 467/667-010)

An exploration of the interface between geological and biological processes.

Earth Materials I: Minerals (GEOL 300)

Fall 2010, now changed to: Earth Materials (GEOL 202) Fall 2012, every year.

Writing in Geosciences (GEOL 667)

Approaches to writing in the geosciences.


Morphology of biogenic iron oxides records microbial physiology and environmental conditions.

FEMS Microbial Ecology

Hidden in plain sight: discovery of sheath-forming, Fe-oxidizing Zetaproteobacteria at Loihi Seamount.

Chan Publications

View a full list of publications by Clara S. Chan


• Geochemistry• Geobiology


CEOE School & Departments

School of Marine Science & Policy

Advancing the understanding, stewardship, and conservation of estuarine, coastal, and ocean environments.

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Department of Geological Sciences

Discovering how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.

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Department of Geography

Investigating the interactions between people and the environment and the processes that explain the location of human and natural phenomena.

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College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment • 111 Robinson Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA
Phone: 302-831-2841 • E-mail: ceoe-info@udel.edu

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