Raina M. Maier

Dr. Raina Maier
Saguaro Hall, 322

Department of Soil Water and Environmental Science
The University of Arizona
P.O. Box 210038
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0038

Office Phone: 
(520) 621-7231
Lab Phone: 
(520) 621-9759
(520) 626-6782

Ph.D., Microbiology, 1988, Rutgers University

B.A., Biology/Chemistry, 1979, University of Minnesota

2000-present.   Professor, Soil, Water and Environmental Science; Center for Toxicology; BIO5 Institute; Member, Microbiology Graduate Program; University of Arizona.

1995-2000.   Associate Professor, University of Arizona.

1991-1995.   Assistant Professor, University of Arizona.

1988-1990.   Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Biochemistry
and Biophysics, Iowa State University.

1983-1988.  Research/Teaching Assistant, Department of Biochemistry and
Microbiology, Rutgers University

My research interests lie in three focal areas. The first concerns investigation of the ability of bacteria to survive in extremely oligotrophic environments. We are seeking patterns in the diversity and community structure of bacteria in oligotrophic environments including subsurface soils, Sonoran and Atacama Desert soils, Kartchner Caverns surfaces, and mine tailings from sites in southern Arizona. In addition we are investigating how drying and wetting cycles influence the survivability of bacteria in such environments. The second focal area relates to the development of a fundamental understanding of the biological factors and processes influencing the transport and fate of bacteria and contaminants in the environment. This research combines experimental-based investigation with modeling. The information gained from this research is used in the development of innovative remediation approaches which can be tested at a range of scales, from the pore-scale to the field-scale. The third focal area is the study of microbial surfactants (biosurfactants) including discovery of new biosurfactants, elucidation of the role of biosurfactants in microbial survival, and the development of potential biomedical and environmental applications for these fascinating molecules.

Journal Articles (Note Miller = Maier)

   1. Wickramasekara, S., J.W. Neilson, N. Patel, A. Hilderbrand, R.M. Maier, and V. Wysocki. Proteomics analyses of the opportunistic pathogen Burkholderia vietnamiensis using protein fractionations and mass spectrometric techniques. Biochim. Biophys. Acta – Proteins and Proteomics, in revision.
   2. Lebrón-Paler, A., A. Tometich, J.W. Neilson, B.A. Becker, R.M. Maier, C.K. Larive, and J.E. Pemberton. Structure and speciation of monorhamnolipids harvested from Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 9027. Anal. Bioanal. Chem., in revision.
   3. Legatzki, A., M. Ortiz, J.W. Neilson, R.R. Casavant, M.W. Palmer, C. Rasmussen, B.M. Pryor, L.S. Pierson III, and R.M. Maier. Factors influencing the speleothem-specific structure of bacterial communities on the surface of formations in Kartchner Caverns, AZ, USA. Geomicrobiol. J., in press.
   4. Hayes, S.M., P.A. O’Day, S.M. Webb, R.M. Maier, and J. Chorover. 2011. Changes in zinc speciation with mine tailings acification in a semiarid weathering environment. Environ. Sci. Technol., in press.
   5. Vaughan, M.J., R.M. Maier, and B.M. Pryor. 2011. Fungal communities on speleothem surfaces in Kartchner Caverns, Arizona, USA. Internat. J. Speleology, 40:65-77.
   6. Legatzki, A., M. Ortiz, J.W. Neilson, S. Dominguez, G.L. Andersen, R.S. Toomey, B.M. Pryor, L.S. Pierson III, and R.M. Maier. 2011. Bacterial and archaeal community structure of two adjacent calcite speleothems in Kartchner Caverns, Arizona, USA. Geomicrobiol. J. 28:99-117.
   7. Solis-Dominguez, F., A. Valentin-Vargas, J. Chorover, and R.M. Maier. 2011. Effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on plant biomass and the rhizosphere microbial community structure of mesquite grown in acidic lead/zinc mine tailings. Sci. Total Environ. 409:1009-1016.


Stanghellini, M.E., R.M. Miller, S.L. Rasmussen, D-H. Kim, and Y. Zhang. 1998. Microbially Produced Rhamnolipid (Biosurfactants) for the Control of Plant Pathogenic Zoosporic Fungi. U.S. Patent No. 5,767,090.


Maier, R.M., I.L. Pepper, and C.P. Gerba. 2009. Environmental Microbiology, 2nd edition, Academic Press, San Diego, CA.

Web Publications

Maier, R.M. and H.F. Henry. 2011. Boston Mill Site Pilot Study, Cochise County, Arizona. Case study as part of a web-based technical and regulatory guidance. Interstate Technology Regulatory Council. http://www.itrcweb.org/miningwaste-guidance/cs65_boston_mill.htm

Book Chapters

   1. Soberon-Chavez, G., and R.M. Maier. 2010. Biosurfactants: general overview. Chapter in Biosurfactants: From Genes to Applications. Microbiology Monographs, Springer, pp. 1-11.
   2. Maier, R.M. 2006. Biological processes affecting contaminant fate and transport. Pollution and Environmental Science, 2nd edition, Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp. 105-120.