Group of people seated and standing around a sculpture

Scott Hamilton-Brehm, recently named a 2024 Researcher to Know, advises the AlgaeUnlocked team. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

May 30, 2024

SIU prof named an Illinois Researcher to Know

CARBONDALE, Ill. – An associate professor of microbiology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale has been named to a prestigious list of researchers in the state.

Scott Hamilton-Brehm was one of just 31 such researchers named to the 2024 List of Researchers to Know. The list is published annually by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition.

The list highlights the groundbreaking research being done on Illinois’ campuses and provides a detailed look at some of the researchers that are driving innovation in the state. The members of the list represent 10 institutions of higher education in Illinois and includes researchers working to advance biotechnology, sustainability practices, mental health and other areas.

Arriving at SIU in 2016, Hamilton-Brehm teaches elementary microbiology and geomicrobiology. His research focuses on characterizing microbial communities from extreme environments, such as those with limited nutrients, are very hot, or anaerobic, and explores using these new microbes to solve world problems. His projects include:

  • Collaborating with students forming the team ‘Carbon Down Under’ and the local SIU spinoff company Thermaquatica to research methods for removing and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Mitigating harmful algae blooms.
  • Working on a team funded by NASA’s Deep Space Food Challenge aimed at creating a process to provide tasty, nutritious food to astronauts on future deep space voyages, using microbial processes and recycled carbon.
  • Advising the student team AlgaeUnlocked, winner of the first phase of the Department of Energy AlgaePrize 2023-2025 competition. The team aims to use microalgae and Thermaquatica’s technology to grow crops in off-Earth environments such as the moon and Mars.