Headshot of Brian Hedlund

Brian Hedlund


Life Sciences
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Brian Hedlund, Ph.D. holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Illinois, a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Washington, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Regensburg, Germany. Hedlund was hired at UNLV in 2003 and is currently a Professor in the School of Life Sciences. Hedlund has published over 120 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has been a principal investigator on more than $12 million in extramural grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, and National Science Foundation, including a CAREER award and a large international project funded through the Partnerships for International Science and Education (PIRE) program.

Hedlund's research focuses on the microbiology and biogeochemistry of both thermal and non-thermal springs, microbial biodiversity exploration, and the role of diet and the intestinal microbiome in Clostridioides difficile infection. Hedlund co-authored the SeqCode, an alternative code of nomenclature that was developed to expand formal systematics to all prokaryotes, rather than only those easily grown as pure cultures. Hedlund regularly serves on grant panel review boards both domestically and internationally and has taught more than 3,500 students at UNLV.



Hedlund's lab studies microorganisms in a variety of contexts and habitats, including animal models of Clostridium difficile infection, desert springs, and a variety of biotechnological applications. Their best-known work focuses on terrestrial geothermal springs in the western US and abroad. A major research thrust is exploration of microbial biodiversity. Currently, only half of the major lineages (phyla) of bacteria have been cultivated in a laboratory or carefully described in scientific literature. Many of these “dark” lineages are abundant in terrestrial geothermal systems and therefore ecologically important. They work with a variety of collaborators to learn about these organisms by combining microbial cultivation with environmental systems biology approaches such as environmental genomics (single-cell genomics and metagenomics), meta-transcriptomics and -proteomics, and targeted and whole-community stable isotope approaches such as fluorescence in situ hybridization coupled with nano-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (FISH Nano-SIMS) and quantitative stable isotope probing (SIP). These studies have also recently expanded to microorganisms in non-thermal springs in the Southwest.

His lab is also engaged in microbial systematics. They recently worked with an international consortium to develop a new code of nomenclature, the SeqCode, which uses genome sequence data as nomenclatural types. The SeqCode allows expansion of formal nomenclature to uncultivated microorganisms that make up a substantial proportion of the tree of life. Where possible, they also describe new taxa based on pure cultures. To understand these organisms in more detail than typically done by systematists, they combine traditional systematics with modern approaches such as genomics, environmental genomics, and exometabolomics.


WHI Lab Location: 312
WHI Lab Phone Number: 702-895-1168