Photo of Duane Moser

Duane Moser

Adjunct Faculty

Life Sciences
Water Resources Management


Dr. Duane Moser holds bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (Microbiology) and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (Limnology and Oceanography). He was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University (Geosciences) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Environmental Microbiology). Correspondingly, his research straddles the interface between Earth and life sciences. Topics include: 1) Astrobiology, with a focus on analog environments such as deep fractured rock ecosystems accessed via mines and boreholes, caves, desert springs, saline lakes, and ultra-dry or frozen deserts such as Chile’s Atacama and the Antarctic Dry Valleys. 2) Conservation Ecology, with an emphasis on development and implementation of environmental DNA (eDNA) tools for endangered species protection. 3) Molecular Archaeology – using ancient DNA (aDNA) to identify patterns of paleo-human habitation in the desert Southwest and 4) Bioremediation and Public health (wastewater surveillance for pathogens such as SARS CoV-2, contaminant fate and transport, and trace organic chemistry in surface waters). He utilizes a combination of classical microbiology and molecular life detection methods, in conjunction with environmental and stable isotope chemistry, to track the activities and identities of lifeforms (viruses-to-people) in the natural world.


Microbiology, Microbial Ecology, Hydrogeology, Molecular Archaeology, Bioremediation, Wastewater, Astrobiology

Expert Areas

environmental microbiology and microbial ecology

Additional Information

Dr. Moser is located at the Desert Research Institute (DRI), across the street (Swenson) from UNLV. Moser directs the Environmental Microbiology and Astrobiology Labs at DRI. He collaborates frequently with UNLV faculty and advises students and postdocs. His students obtain their degrees from the UNLV School of Life Sciences, but perform research using the facilities of both DRI and UNLV.