Frank van Breukelen

Professor, School of Life Sciences
Expertise: Hibernation, Evolution, Biochemical adaptation, Physiology, Cellular biology, Pupfish


Frank van Breukelen is an associate professor of biological sciences in the UNLV School of Life Sciences. 

Since joining UNLV in 2002, van Breukelen has explored biochemical and molecular approaches to understand what allows animals to survive in extreme environments. Most notably, van Breukelen and his team have tackled projects involving small rodent hibernation and adaptation of the pupfish within the Death Valley region.

In addition to research, van Breukelen teaching courses on subjects including mammalian, cellular, and environmental physiology; biochemical adaptations; and bioenergetics.


  • Ph.D., Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • B.S., Animal Science, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Frank van Breukelen In The News

It’s a classic science fiction trope: Astronauts on an interstellar journey are kept in sleek, refrigerated pods in a state of suspended animation. Although such pods remain purely fictional, scientists have pursued research into inducing a hibernation-like state in humans to lessen the damage caused by medical conditions such as heart attacks and stroke, and to reduce the stress and costs of future long-distance space sojourns.
National Geographic
The day a cyprinodont challenges you to hold your breath for as long as possible, run away. Inhabiting hot springs in California's Death Valley, this tiny bubbler is able to go without oxygen for nearly five hours, according to a new, forthcoming study.
Las Vegas Review Journal
Despite being located in the hot and dry Mojave Desert, Nevada is home to 52 fish species found nowhere else in the world.
The "Game of Thrones" series ended last week.

Articles Featuring Frank van Breukelen

Graduation surprise
Campus News | August 1, 2023

News stories from the summer featuring UNLV students and faculty.

archival photo of man peering into water
Research | May 12, 2022

A bottomless hole, a tiny fish, and an ongoing preservation legacy that took a UNLV professor all the way to the Supreme Court and created one of North America's most important conservation sites.

Pupfish swimming
Research | April 23, 2015

UNLV researchers discover the pupfish's unique ability to go without oxygen. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost to the endangered species.

Frank van Breukelen
Research | April 16, 2014

Life Sciences and engineering professors team up to develop life-saving devices to detect stroke and heart problems.