1. Who We Are
  2. What We Do
Internationally RecognizedInternationally Recognized
DRI is the environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education. With more than 500 employees and two main campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, DRI’s faculty members are nontenured, entrepreneurial and responsible for their own salaries from external grants and contracts. LEARN MORE
Excellence in ResearchExcellence in Research
DRI excels in basic and applied research and the application of technologies to improve people's lives throughout Nevada and the world. Our faculty and students apply scientific understanding to the effective management of natural resources while meeting Nevada's needs for economic diversification and science-based educational opportunities. LEARN MORE


The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet. For more than 50 years DRI research faculty, students, and staff have applied scientific understanding to support the effective management of natural resources while meeting Nevada's needs for economic diversification and science-based educational opportunities.
Click the links below to explore DRI's research capabilities and global impact

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 image of water sustainability
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DRI News and Announcements

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Wed, 17 Jan 2018

Scientists investigate northern Sierra Nevada snow droughts

New research from DRI explores root causes of declining snowpack levels Reno, NV (Wednesday, January 17, 2018): The Lake Tahoe Basin and northern Sierra Nevada are currently... Read more

Tue, 09 Jan 2018

Helix to help expand Healthy Nevada Project

Community-driven population health study prepares to significantly increase public enrollment Reno, Nev. and San Carlos, Calif. (Tuesday, January 9, 2018) – Fifteen months after launching the... Read more

Fri, 05 Jan 2018

DRI names Lawrence Buja new Vice President for Research

Reno, NV (Friday, January 5, 2018): Lawrence Buja, Ph.D., has been named the new Vice President for Research (VPR) for Nevada’s Desert Research Institute. Dr. Buja... Read more

Thu, 07 Dec 2017

Climate Engine offers unprecedented access to Earth image datasets

New web application utilizes Google Earth Engine to process and visualize climate and satellite image data Reno, NV (Thursday, December 7, 2017): Working with large environmental... Read more

Fri, 17 Nov 2017

DRI and Scripps Oceanography receive $3 million NOAA grant to help decision makers prepare for…

Program to focus on climate-driven impacts to local communities Reno, NV (Friday, November 17, 2017): A climate research program led by scientists at the Desert Research... Read more

Wed, 08 Nov 2017

DRI Science Alive included in Nevada’s newest list of recommended STEM programs

Reno, NV (Wednesday, November 8, 2017): The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is proud to announce that Science Alive, the Institute’s K-12 outreach program and home of... Read more

Tue, 05 Sep 2017

Massive Antarctic Volcanic Eruptions Linked to Abrupt Southern Hemisphere Climate Changes Near the End of…

New findings explain synchronous deglaciation that occurred 17,700 Years Ago (Reno, NV) – New findings published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences... Read more

Thu, 10 Aug 2017

Black Carbon Emissions from Ancient Wildfires Linked to Historical Climate Conditions

DRI-led research team publishes longest ice core black carbon record to date Reno, NV (Thursday, August 10, 2017): Smoky skies and burnt landscapes are the easily... Read more

Tue, 01 Aug 2017

In Memoriam - Dr. Barbara Zielinska

A memorial service for Barbara is scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2017 at the Mountain View Mausoleum, Meditation Chapel, 435 Stoker Avenue Reno at 12... Read more

Fri, 14 Jul 2017

DRI Researchers Identify Connection Between Atmospheric River Events and Avalanche Fatalities in Western United States

RENO, NV (Friday, July 14, 2017): Recently published research led by atmospheric scientists at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) demonstrates a connection between the occurrence... Read more

Fri, 14 Jul 2017

Source of Arctic Mercury Pollution Identified in New Study

DRI research team part of international effort to understand global impact Reno, NV (Friday July 14, 2017): Vast amounts of toxic mercury are accumulating in the... Read more

Thu, 29 Jun 2017

DRI’s Alan Gertler awarded prestigious fellowship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem

Reno, NV: Dr. Alan Gertler, DRI’s Vice President for Research and Chief Science Officer, has been named a 2017-2018 Lady Davis Fellow at the Hebrew... Read more

Wed, 17 May 2017

DRI secures $47 million to continue work for U.S. Department of Energy

Technical research contract to build on more than 40 years of scientific and engineering service Las Vegas, Nev. (Thursday, May 18, 2017): Building on more than... Read more

Mon, 24 Apr 2017

2017 Snowmelt Runoff Signals Good News for Walker Lake but Raises Flooding Concerns Along Walker…

USGS model simulations suggest that Walker Lake will rise by as much as 15 to 18 feet this year, the most in a single year... Read more

Wed, 19 Apr 2017

New Technology Company Comes to Nevada to Focus on Water Quality

Australia-based STAR Water Solutions to partner with DRI to bring innovative bio-filtration technologies to Nevada LAS VEGAS — With support from WaterStart, Australia-based water technology... Read more

Thu, 13 Apr 2017

Celebrating over 15 years of science in the classroom

DRI Science Alive Program launches new brand, new tools for Nevada’s teachers Reno, Nev. – Building on nearly two decades of science education and outreach across... Read more

Fri, 03 Mar 2017

DRI and Italian researchers collaborate to share climate science expertise

Las Vegas, Nevada – (March 3, 2017): The Desert Research Institute (DRI) this week hosted leaders from the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and... Read more

Fri, 03 Mar 2017

Regents honor DRI’s Casey Schmidt with Rising Researcher Award

Reno, Nev. (March 3, 2017): The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents this week awarded Casey Schmidt, Ph.D., an assistant research professor of... Read more

Wed, 22 Feb 2017

A new model, a new vision for health science

RENO, Nev. (February 21, 2016) – Six months after recruiting 10,000 residents to participate in a one-of-a-kind, community-based population health study, Nevada-based Renown Health, the... Read more

Thu, 16 Feb 2017

DRI unmanned cloud-seeding realizes beyond visual line of sight

Research team records longest unmanned, cross-country flight in Nevada history Reno, Nev. (Feb. 16, 2017) – Nevada’s unmanned cloud-seeding research team today realized another fundamental capability... Read more

Thu, 09 Feb 2017

A life-detection strategy for NASA’s Europa Lander Concept

DRI microbial ecologist co-authors report on the scientific value of future mission Reno, Nevada – Dr. Alison Murray’s research has taken her to the southern-most waters surrounding... Read more

Fri, 03 Feb 2017

Congratulations to Dr. Kristen Averyt

Statement from Acting President Dr. Robert Gagosian On behalf of everyone at the Desert Research Institute, I would like to congratulate Dr. Kristen Averyt on her... Read more

Fri, 03 Feb 2017

Regents name Dr. Kristen Averyt president of the Desert Research Institute

Reno, Nevada – February 3, 2017: The Board of Regents today approved the appointment of Dr. Kristen Averyt  as the next president of the Desert... Read more

Fri, 27 Jan 2017

Dr. Kristen Averyt named finalist for Desert Research Institute presidency

January 27, 2017 RENO, Nev. -- After completing a nationwide search, today the DRI President Search Committee and the Advisory Committee have nominated Dr. Kristen Averyt... Read more

Sat, 14 Jan 2017

Two finalists named for Desert Research Institute presidency

Finalists are Dr. Kristen Averyt of the University of Colorado Boulder and Dr. Philip Mote of the Oregon Climate Change Institute January 14, 2017 LAS VEGAS, Nev... Read more

Tue, 10 Jan 2017

Rocky Mountain haze - Study finds a link between drought and air quality in the…

Reno, Nevada - During summer months in the West people often head to the mountains to escape the haze regularly found in lower elevation cities... Read more

Fri, 02 Dec 2016

DRI Foundation names seven new Trustees, three reappointments

RENO, Nev. (Dec. 2, 2016) –The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents today approved the following appointments and election of officers to the DRI... Read more

Tue, 29 Nov 2016

Prominent geophysicist Marcia McNutt named 30th DRI Nevada Medalist

Special events scheduled for Fall 2017 in Reno and Las Vegas RENO, Nev. (Nov. 30, 2016) – The Desert Research Institute (DRI) proudly announces the selection... Read more

Thu, 10 Nov 2016

Hazardous chemicals discovered in flavored e-cigarette vapor

Scientists stress need for thorough research into flavored e-liquids RENO – Building on more than 30 years of air quality research in some of the most... Read more

Fri, 04 Nov 2016

In Memorial – Dr. Kelly Redmond

Donations to support the Dr. Kelly Redmond Memorial Fund can be made to the DRI Foundation online. [CLICK HERE] to donate and be sure to... Read more

Tue, 01 Nov 2016

Research Takes Flight with NV Energy Drone Pilot Program

RENO, Nev. – Nov. 1, 2016 - NV Energy announced today that with several partners, it has completed a drone pilot program to inspect, collect... Read more

Tue, 04 Oct 2016

Unmanned aircraft collect first real-time measurements of atmospheric turbulence over the northern Indian Ocean

New research reveals insights into how black carbon aerosols impact cloud formation RENO – It is widely known that black carbon, or soot, aerosol particles emitted... Read more

Fri, 16 Sep 2016

Renown Health, DRI and 23andMe population health study expanded to 10,000 participants after unprecedented public…

More than 5,000 people registered for a free DNA kit within the first 24 hours RENO, Nev. (Sept. 16, 2016) – A ground-breaking community-based population health... Read more

Wed, 14 Sep 2016

Renown Health and DRI Study Aims to Change the Way Nevada Thinks About Health

Collaboration Aims to Change the Way State Thinks About Health RENO, Nev. (Sept. 15, 2016) – Nevada-based Renown Health and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) are... Read more

Wed, 17 Aug 2016

Improving farm management with unmanned aviation

DRI and AboveNV complete successful test flights above Winnemucca Farms RENO – Using fixed-wing and rotor-driven aircraft, a team of research scientists from the Desert Research... Read more

Thu, 28 Jul 2016

DRI names Meghan Collins as STEM Research Scientist

Position to focus on new lifelong and experiential learning opportunities and STEM workforce development partnerships throughout Nevada RENO – In its continuing effort to improve Nevada’s... Read more

Fri, 22 Jul 2016

Increasing school attendance by improving WASH access

Catholic Relief Services, DRI, and UDS announce new collaboration and contributions to the WASH sector in Ghana July 22 2016, TAMALE, GHANA – More than 70-percent... Read more

Thu, 23 Jun 2016

DRI unmanned cloud-seeding project gains ejectable flare capability

RENO – Unmanned aerial cloud-seeding reached a new milestone through the successful integration and deployment of 14 ejectable cloud-seeding flares at low altitude. In several test... Read more

Thu, 16 Jun 2016

DRI’s Dana Trimble honored at 25th Annual Salute to Women of Achievement event in Reno

RENO – Dana Trimble, an associate research scientist at the Desert Research Institute was one of 70 local “Women in STEM” honored last month during... Read more

Fri, 03 Jun 2016

Governor Brian Sandoval awarded DRI President’s Medal

RENO – During today’s meeting of the DRI Research Foundation, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval was honored with the 32nd Desert Research Institute President’s Medal award. Dr... Read more

Fri, 03 Jun 2016

Annual DRI Convocation celebrates scientific achievement and honors graduate student research accomplishments

DRI President’s Medal awarded to Switch Supernap RENO – On Thursday, June 2 more than 200 people gathered at the Reno and Las Vegas campuses of... Read more

Tue, 31 May 2016

DRI and A&WMA honor Pine Middle School science teacher Susan Kaiser

RENO – In an ongoing effort to support STEM educators in Nevada, Drs. Judith Chow and John Watson, international air quality experts from Nevada’s Desert... Read more

Thu, 26 May 2016

DRI and Renown Health to exhibit in Nevada Pavilion at BIO International Convention in San…

RENO – Scientists from DRI’s Applied Innovation Center (AIC) today announced that they will be exhibiting alongside Renown Health doctors and community advocates next month... Read more

Tue, 24 May 2016

Call for Nominations - 2017 DRI Nevada Medal Award

RENO – The Desert Research Institution (DRI) Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 30th Annual DRI Nevada Medal Award to be awarded in the... Read more

Tue, 24 May 2016

Science Distilled – DRI and The Discovery launch new NOVA Science Café lecture series to…

First event to feature DRI climate experts discussing El Niño expectations and impacts RENO – Headlines on drought and El Niño created big expectations across the... Read more

Fri, 13 May 2016

Daniel Saftner awarded prestigious Fulbright Student Scholarship

Project will increase access to safe, sustainable drinking water sources in West Africa RENO – Daniel Saftner, a graduate research assistant at the Desert Research Institute (DRI)... Read more

Tue, 03 May 2016

Unmanned cloud-seeding aircraft takes flight in Nevada

UAS Test Site resources help industry-academic research team showcase UAS potential RENO – For the first time in aviation history, a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft has successfully... Read more

Mon, 02 May 2016

Regents name Dr. Robert B. Gagosian Acting President of the Desert Research Institute

Reno, Nevada - May 2, 2016 The Board of Regents today approved the appointment of Dr. Robert B. Gagosian as the acting president of the Desert... Read more

Tue, 12 Apr 2016

DRI Presents New Video Trailer

DRI is proud to share our new promotional video below. We hope this will inspire you and remind you to celebrate great science and the dramatic... Read more

Tue, 29 Mar 2016

AIC’s Brian Speicher appointed to The Discovery's Board

RENO – The Applied Innovation Center (AIC) at DRI is pleased to announce that Brian Speicher has been appointed to the Terry Lee Wells Nevada... Read more

Thu, 24 Mar 2016

WaterStart Launches New Brand, Aims to Provide Global Channel for Innovation

LAS VEGAS, NV – WaterStart , a cluster of global leaders in the implementation of water innovation, recently rebranded and unveiled a new website. Since 2013... Read more

Tue, 22 Mar 2016

ClimateEngine.org unveiled at White House Water Summit

DRI, U. Idaho, Google commit to expand new technology to address water issues RENO – The research team behind ClimateEngine.org unveiled their commitment to expanding the... Read more

Tue, 08 Mar 2016

DRI Fire Ecologist Awarded Nevada Regents’ Rising Researcher

Assistant Professor Adam Watts honored for his early career accomplishments RENO – The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents recognized Adam Watts, Ph.D... Read more

Sat, 27 Feb 2016

New database examines global mercury sinks and sources

Report examines global mercury sinks that contribute to air pollution and further illustrates a need to standardize measurement techniques RENO – Gaseous elemental mercury (Hg0) is... Read more

Tue, 23 Feb 2016

Autonomous cloud seeding aircraft successfully tested in Nevada

Revolutionary project uniting DRI expertise and Drone America technology RENO – A team of Nevada scientists and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) engineers have successfully flight... Read more

Fri, 19 Feb 2016

DRI President Dr. Stephen G. Wells named President of New Mexico Institute of Mining and…

Reno/Las Vegas - The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech), located in Socorro, New Mexico, announced this week that DRI president... Read more

Wed, 17 Feb 2016

DRI Wildland Fire Research Center targets new era of fire science

Interdisciplinary focus will draw on Institute’s broad expertise and climate change research RENO – More than 10 million acres of land across the United States were... Read more

Fri, 12 Feb 2016

The New Normal – Nevada scientists and American Indian tribal members talk climate change realities…

Water for the Seasons and Native Waters on Arid Lands projects highlighted   RENO – Despite an above average snowpack and several months of wet... Read more

Fri, 15 Jan 2016

DRI maintains top tier ranking in latest National Science Foundation survey

RENO\LAS VEGAS – Despite a nationwide trend in declining federal research support, Nevada’s Desert Research Institute (DRI) has maintained its top tier status in the... Read more

Thu, 14 Jan 2016

DRI, Drone America, and AviSight launch new UAS collaboration

Research and development to focus on reducing risk, increasing efficiency of airborne cloud-seeding RENO - A new industry-academic research partnership will bring together Nevada's top atmospheric... Read more