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Biological Sciences

Staff information

Hans Bernstein

Chemical and Biological Signature Science Group
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: J4-18
Richland, WA 99354


Dr. Bernstein came to PNNL under the prestigious Linus Pauling Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship. His interdisciplinary scientific training is based on microbiology and chemical engineering, and his research accomplishments are at the juxtaposition of microbial ecology, biodesign, and molecular systems biology. Since coming to PNNL, he has been exploring design principles of interactive microbial consortia. In collaboration with scientists across the laboratory, Dr. Bernstein has been investigating how resource exchanges between microbial community members regulate and coordinate interspecies metabolic activities and gene expression events. This research employs a suite of advanced bioreactor cultivation techniques that include well-mixed and spatially heterogeneous cultivation and enable direct measurement of microbial growth kinetics that can be integrated with multi-omics analyses. He is performing these studies on natural microbial communities and synthetically constructed co-cultures. His research is helping PNNL uncover fundamental knowledge about how microbes interact in nature and enabling rational design of microbial consortia that can ultimately be controlled for targeted outputs.

Research Interests

  • Biodesign
  • Multi-omics
  • Microbial ecology
  • Biofilms and microgradients
  • Predictive models

Education and Credentials

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, WA, 2013
  • Ph.D Chemical Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, 2013
  • B.S. Chemical and Biological Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, 2007
  • E.I.T. Licensed Engineer in Training, 7/8 years completed towards PE license, 2007

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Adjunct Faculty, Voiland School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA

PNNL Publications


  • Beam JP, HC Bernstein, Z Jay, MA Kozubal, R Jennings, SG Tringe, and WP Inskeep.  2016. "Assembly and succession of iron oxide microbial mat communities in acidic geothermal springs." Frontiers in MicrobiologyDOI 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00025
  • James GA, AG Zhao, M Usui, RA Underwood, HD Nguyen, H Beyenal, E Pulcini, A Agostinho, HC Bernstein, et al.  2016. "Microsensor and transcriptomic signatures of oxygen depletion in biofilms associated with chronic wounds." Wound Repair and Regeneration DOI 10.1111/wrr.12401


  • Bernstein HC, M Charania, RS McClure, N Sadler, M Melnicki, EA Hill, LM Markillie, C Nicora, A Wright, MA Romine, and AS Beliaev. 2015. Multi-omic dynamics associate oxygenic photosynthesis with nitrogenase-mediated H2 production in Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142. Scientific Reports 5:Article No. 16004.  DOI: 10.1038/srep16004
  • Song HS, RS McClure, HC Bernstein, CC Overall, EA Hill, and AS Beliaev. 2015. "Integrated in silico analyses of the regulatory and metabolic networks of Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 reveal relationships between gene centrality and essentiality."Life 5(2):1127-1140.  DOI:10.3390/life5021127


  • Bernstein HC, A Konopka, MR Melnicki, EA Hill, LA Kucek, S Zhang, G Shen, DA Bryant, and AS Beliaev. 2014. "Effect of mono- and dichromatic light quality on growth rates and photosynthetic performance of Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002"Frontiers in Microbiology 5:Article No. 488.  DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00488
  • Beliaev AS, MF Romine, M Serres, HC Bernstein, BE Linggi, LM Markillie, NG Isern, WB Chrisler, LA Kucek, EA Hill, GE Pinchuk, DA Bryant, HS Wiley, JK Fredrickson, and A Konopka 2014. "Inference of interactions in cyanobacterial-heterotrophic co-cultures via transcriptome sequencing."The ISME Journal 8(11):2243-2255.  DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2014.69
  • Moran JJ, CG Doll, HC Bernstein, RS Renslow, AB Cory, JR Hutchison, SR Lindemann, and JK Fredrickson. 2014. "Spatially tracking 13C labeled substrate (bicarbonate) accumulation in microbial communities using laser ablation isotope ratio mass spectrometry."The ISME Journal 8(11):2243-2255. DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2014.69


  • Bernstein HC, JP Beam, MA Kozubal, RP Carlson, and WP Inskeep. 2013. "In situ analysis of oxygen consumption and diffusive transport in high-temperature acidic iron-oxide microbial mats"Environmental Microbiology 158. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.12109

Biological Sciences