Christopher Ehrhardt, Ph.D.


Associate Professor
(804) 828-2034

Dr. Ehrhardt holds a B.S. degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Connecticut at Storrs and received his PhD from UC-Santa Barbara in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. After his PhD, he completed two postdoc appointments at the FBI Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Dr. Ehrhardt’s main interests are in the areas of forensic biology, microbiology, and trace evidence analysis. He currently maintains a microbial culturing facility that he uses to investigate the chemical and biological signatures associated with the production process of illicitly-grown bacteria (e.g., Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis). Dr. Ehrhardt’s lab also works on developing new methods for analyzing complex cell mixtures that are recovered as evidence from a crime scene. Sample types range from bacterial communities within complex matrices to human cell mixtures recovered from ‘touch’ and trace biological samples. For more information, see his research blog page…

To view all of Dr. Ehrhardt's publications, visit ORCID

Recent Publications and Presentations

Philpott, M.K., Stanciu, C.E., Kwon, Y., Bustamante, E.E., Greenspoon, S.A., Ehrhardt, C.J. Analysis of cellular autofluorescence in touch samples by flow cytometry: implication for the front end separation of trace mixture evidence. Journal of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 409(17): 4167-4179. doi 10.1007/s00216-017-0364-0.

Wang, C., Ehrhardt, C.J., Yadavalli, V. Nanoscale characterization of forensically relevant epithelial cells and surface associated extracellular DNA. Forensic Science International. 277: 252-258.

Stanciu, C.E., Philpott, M.K., Bustamante, E.E., Kwon, Y.J., Ehrhardt, C.J. Analysis of red autofluorescence (650-670nm) in epidermal cell populations and its potential for distinguishing contributors to ‘touch’ biological samples. F1000 Research. 5:180.  doi: 10.1007/s00216-016-9659-9.

Wang, C., Stanciu, C.E., Ehrhardt, C.J., Yadavalli, V. The effect of growth temperature on the nanoscale biochemical surface properties of Yersinia pestis, Journal of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 408(20): 5585-91. doi: 10.1007/s00216-016-9659-9.

Wang, C., Stanciu, C.E., Ehrhardt, C.J., Yadavalli, V. 2016. Evaluation of whole cell fixation methods for the analysis of nanoscale surface features of Yersinia pestis KIM. Journal of Microscopy. 263: 260-267. doi: 10.1111/jmi.12387

Kwon, Y.J., Stanciu, C.E., Philpott, M.K., Ehrhardt, C.J. 2016. Flow cytometry dataset from cells collected from touch surfaces. F1000 Research. 5:390: doi: 10.12688/f1000research.8338.2.

Multinational Research Collaboration to Characterize Yersinia pestis Cells within Soil Matrices: Implications for Understanding Natural Reservoirs of Plague. ASM-Biothreats and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting, Washington, D.C. February 2017.

Detection of Bacillus anthracis spores from forensically relevant materials using DART-MS. Biothreats and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting, Washington, D.C. February 2017.


Optical differentiation of cell populations in contact mixtures using flow cytometry. AAFS, Las Vegas, NV

Separation of compromised blood mixtures using Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting for Single Source DNA Profiling. AAFS, Las Vegas, NV. 

Philpott, M.K., Stanciu, C.E., Bustamante, E.E., Kwon, Y.J., Ehrhardt, C.J.    Characterization and separation of touch mixtures using endogenous and exogenous properties of component cell populations. International Symposium for Human Identification. September, 2016. Minneapolis, MN,