E. coli and Yeast

Shigella flexneri stained with live/dead stain


Microbiology is the study of single-celled organisms and non-living infectious particles (e.g. viruses and prions). Despite their small size, microorganisms make up about 50% of the Earth`s biomass. Microbes inhabited the planet long before eukaryotes (plants, animals, and fungi), it is therefore not surprising that microbes carry out key roles in the biogeochemical cycles and have major impacts on human and animal health. Today, microbes are used in a wide variety of industries.

Electron micrograph of Pseudomonas fluorescens

Figure 1: Images of microbes A: Mixed culture of E. coli and S. cerevisiae stained with DAPI and a FISH probe for eukaryotic cells; B: Shigella flexneri stained with BacLIGHTTM dyes; C: EM of Pseudomonas fluorescens

The School of Life Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) has a growing group of microbiologists who are looking into various aspects of the microbial world. We have close associations with other microbiologists who work in the Las Vegas area, making UNLV an exciting place to study microbiology. The NSF funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program provides undergraduates students with the opportunity to perform microbiology research over the summer at UNLV. To find out more, click on one of the buttons below.














Links to Upcoming events:







Faculty in School of Life Sciences at UNLV






Penny Amy (School of Life Sciences, UNLV)



Dr. Amy conducts research in applied microbiology leading to biotechnology applications. Her students and visiting colleagues study microbes as potential biofertilizers. She continues to be interested in microbes in natural environments and their ability to survive under low nutrient conditions.



Dennis Bazylinski (School of Life Sciences, UNLV)


The Bazylinski lab studies the magnetosome biomineralization in magnetotactic bacteria (MTB). We are interested in physiological aspects of these bacteria in marine habitats. A second research focus is the evolution of the magnetosome island on the basis of different MTB strains and the functional analysis of the mam genes.




Brian Hedlund (School of Life Sciences, UNLV)



Dr. Hedlund uses molecular microbial community surveys to drive attempts to cultivate and study novel hyperthermophilic (extremely heat-loving) Bacteria and Archaea from Nevada hot springs and other geothermal environments. A second research focus looks into evolutionary and natural historical relationships between mammals and their microbial commensals using the oral flora of desert mammals as an example.




Duane Moser (DRI; Adjunct in Biological Sciences)



Dr. Moser studies microbes in a variety of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, ranging from the deep terrestrial subsurface to sediments,

springs and soils. Moser's approach to microbiology is multidisciplinary, involving contributions from oceanographers and limnologists, hydrologists, and geologists.




Joseph Nika (College of Sciences, UNLV)



Dr. Joseph Nika is the Pre-Health Advisor for the College of Sciences. His specialties include Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Medical Microbiology. Dr. Nika does not have a research program and does not take graduate students.




Kathryn Rafferty (School of Life Sciences, UNLV)

Dr. Rafferty (Assistant Faculty in Residence) has a background in cell biology and genetics, particularly related to the heart and cardiovascular system. Dr. Rafferty currently teaches Immunology and Introductory Biology. Dr. Rafferty does not have a research program and does not take graduate students



Kurt Regner (School of Life Sciences, UNLV)


Dr. Kurt Regner (Associate Faculty in Residence) has a strong background in Biotechnology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology. Dr. Regner does not have a research program and does not take graduate students.




Eduardo Robleto (School of Life Sciences, UNLV)



The Robleto lab uses a modern genetic approach to study how a model bacterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens, adjusts to fluctuating environmental conditions in soil. The group also studies how Bacillus subtilis changes its genetic make up to withstand stationary/starving conditions (Yasbin-Robleto collaboration) and the effects of CO2 fluctuations and other global change phenomena on desert microbial communities using the Nevada Desert FACE facility.




Martin Schiller (School of Life Sciences, Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine)

Dr. Schiller`s lab works on bioinformatics research studying short contiguous functional peptide motifs. Many nettools developed by the SchillerLAB are at His lab also studies the role of these motifs in HIV at the bioinformatics and experimental level. Dr. Schiller is the Executive Director of the Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine (


Christy Strong (School of Life Sciences, UNLV)

Dr Strong (Assistant Faculty in Residence) has a strong background in molecular biology as well as HIV structure and function. Dr. Strong currently teaches introductory biology courses as well as Virology. Dr. Strong does not have a research program and does not take graduate students.




Helen J. Wing (School of Life Sciences., UNLV)


Dr. Wing studies the bacterial pathogen Shigella flexneri. Research focuses on proteins in the bacterial outer membrane. We are interested in how these molecules are regulated, how they function, and what they specifically interact with in the human host and the external environment.






Other Microbiologists in the Las Vegas area




Ernesto Abel-Santos (Dept. of Chemistry, UNLV)




Jaci Batista (Civil & Env. Eng., UNLV)




Mark Buttner (Department of Environmental and Occupational Health)




Patricia Cruz (Department of Environmental and Occupational Health)




Kumud Acharya (DRI)




Henry Sun (DRI)




Mahboob Qureshi (Touro University , Henderson)




Terry Else (Touro University)

David James (Civil & Env. Eng., UNLV)

Robin Herlands (NSC)

Heidi Porter (CSN)

Deborah Harbor (CSN)