Profiles

Steven Sholes [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences

Office: Johnson 262

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars

Aaron Brewer [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Life in Extreme Environments, Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Chloe Hart [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Benjamin Charnay [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Research Associate,
Astronomy

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

I am a planetary scientist working with the Virtual Planet Laboratory in the Astronomy Department at the University of Washington in Seattle WA to study the atmospheres of exoplanets and the early Earth. I am particularly interested in the impact of clouds and haze on climate and observational spectra.

I earned my Ph.D. in 2014 in Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (Paris, France) working on the 3D modelling of the atmospheres of Titan and the early Earth.

Homepage: http://www.lmd.jussieu.fr/~bclmd/home.html

Selected Publications:

Charnay B., Forget F., Wordsworth, Leconte J., Millour E., Codron F. and Spiga A. Exploring the faint young Sun problem and the possible climates of the Archean Earth with a 3D GCM. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres).

Leconte J., Forget F., Charnay B., Wordsworth R. and Pottier A. Increased insolation threshold for runaway greenhouse processes on Earth like planets. Nature.

Charnay B. and Lebonnois S. Two boundary layers in Titan's lower troposphere inferred from a climate model. Nature Geoscience.

Wordsworth R., Forget F., Selsis F., Millour E., Charnay B. and Madeleine J.-B. Gliese 581d is the First Discovered Terrestrial-mass Exoplanet in the Habitable Zone. The Astrophysical Journal Letter.

Fang–Zhen Teng [EMAIL]

Associate Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 435
Phone: 206-543-7615

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

I study the composition and evolution of the Earth and early solar system by using stable isotope systematics measured by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS). Examples of current projects include:

      Formation and differentiation of the Moon, Mars and other extraterrestrial bodies by studying isotopic compositions of lunar samples, Martian meteorites, chondrites and achondrites.

      Composition, differentiation and evolution of the bulk Earth/ major reservoirs through studies of isotopic compositions of peridotites, komatiites, basalts, arc lavas, granites and seawater.

      Global elemental cycling among hydrosphere, crust and mantle through isotopic studies of river water, sedimentary rocks, weathering profiles, seafloor alteration and metamorphic rocks.

      Geothermometry and geospeedometry through studies of equilibrium and kinetic isotope fractionation in igneous & metamorphic minerals, theoretical predications and lab experiments.

      Paleoceanography and paleoclimate through isotopic and elemental studies of coral samples, speleothem, loess and lake sediments.

      Studies of isotope fractionation during biogenic processes through laboratory experiments and by using natural samples

Joshua Krissansen–Totton [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 262

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Wolf Clifton [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Museology

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Education & Outreach

Brett M. Morris [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Astronomy




Office: B337

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures, Education & Outreach


C.V. : http://staff.washington.edu/bmmorris/docs/BrettMorrisCV.pdf

Biography:

Recent news: My open source photometry code project OSCAAR was recently featured in an awesome NASA press release!

Paul Kintner [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Matthew Koehler [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Chantz Thomas [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Chemistry

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Space Exploration

Peter Driscoll [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Program Fellow,
Astronomy




Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures


C.V. : https://sites.google.com/site/peteredriscollswebsite/home/curriculum-vitae

Biography:

I am a planetary physicist working with the Virtual Planet Laboratory in the Astronomy Department at the University of Washington in Seattle WA to explore the influence of planetary interiors on habitability.

Previously I collaborated with the Open Earth System research group as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Geology and Geophysics Department at Yale University in New Haven, CT. I am developing models of the earliest evolution and coupling of planetary interiors, magnetic fields, atmospheres, carbon cycling, and plate tectonics.

From 2010-2012 I was a Bateman Fellow at Yale studying the influence of planetary magnetic fields on atmospheric escape, the effects of heat loss due to melting on the thermal history of the Earth, and how magnetic field polarity bias relates to reversal frequency in the Phanerozoic and Precambrian.

I earned my Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Science from Johns Hopkins University in 2010. The subject of my Ph.D. thesis was numerical dynamo modeling of magnetic field reversals, core evolution, and the possibility of dynamos in terrestrial exoplanets.

Prior to my doctoral studies at JHU I was a member of the California and Carnegie Planet Search Team at San Francisco State University, where I earned a M.S. in Physics in 2006. My research focused on developing statistical methods for estimating physical parameters from exoplanet radial velocity observations.

James Hermanson [EMAIL]

Professor and Chair,
Aeronautics & Astronautics




Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Space Exploration


C.V. : http://www.aa.washington.edu/faculty/hermanson/hermanson_cv.pdf

Biography:

Professor James C. Hermanson received a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics & Astronautics from the University of Washington in 1977.  Subsequently he was an Engineer with Boeing Aerospace Company.  He performed his graduate studies at the California Institute of Technology, earning a Master of Science in 1980 and a Ph.D. in 1985, both in Aeronautics.  Dr. Hermanson was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Institut für Physikalische Chemie at the Universität Göttingen, in Göttingen, Germany.  Other professional experience includes the Boeing Aerospace Company in Kent, WA, United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford, CT. and Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA.  Professor Hermanson has been with the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at the University of Washington since 2002, where he holds the rank of Professor and currently serves as the Chair of the Department. 

Professor Hermanson and his research groups are known for their work in compressible flow, combustion and two-phase flows.  His research in compressible flow has involved the study of the penetration and structure of gas-phase and supercritical-fluid transverse jets in supersonic flow, the instability and mixing associated with shock wave passage through turbulent vortex rings and jets, fuel droplet disruption in supersonic flow, and mixing enhancement in compressible flow by lobed mixers.  His work in combustion has included turbulent shear layer mixing and combustion, the stability and emissions of premixed and partially premixed turbulent flames, and the turbulent structure and emissions of strongly-pulsed, turbulent jet diffusion flames in normal- and microgravity.  Multi-phase flow research conducted by Prof. Hermanson’s group has examined condensing and evaporation films and the development of ultrasound diagnostics for film thickness measurement. 

Professor Hermanson's astrobiology-related interests include spaceflight, orbital mechanics and thermodynamics as related to planetary environments. 

Professor Hermanson is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  Hermanson also served as Associate Editor of the AIAA Journal from 1998 to 2002.  In 2004 Dr. Hermanson received a best paper award for his work in microgravity combustion of pulsed, turbulent jet diffusion flames.  He was holder of the George I. Alden Chair in Engineering at WPI from 1999-2002 and received an NSF CAREER Award in 1998.  Hermanson is the author or co-author of more than 100 publications and conference papers.

Drew Gorman–Lewis [EMAIL]

Assistant Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences




Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Life in Extreme Environments


C.V. : http://faculty.washington.edu/dgormanl/cv.html

Biography:

Current Research Interests:  Natural and anthropogenic processes such as biogeochemical cycles, mineral dissolution, activities related to industry, mining, and nuclear energy introduce a variety chemical species into the environment. Many processes involving microorganisms, mineral surfaces, and aqueous complexation reactions influence the migration of these species through the environment. To have a better understanding how these processes affect water quality, contaminant migration, and remediation efforts I combine interdisciplinary techniques from microbiology, low temperature aqueous geochemistry, physical chemistry, and thermodynamic modeling to get a quantitative understanding of the processes affecting the movement of chemical species through the environment.  In addition to investigating the influence of microbes on the the environment, I'm also interested in microbial adaptions to extreme environments.  Current research includes investigations of nutrient uptake by oligotrophs and metabolic efficiency measurement of extremophiles.

Randall Perry [EMAIL]

Chair & Founder,
UK Space Settlement Design Competition

Ph.D, Earth & Space Sciences, UW (2004)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Llyd Wells [EMAIL]
Ph.D, Oceanography, UW (2006)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Jeremy Dodsworth [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Fellow,
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Ph.D, Microbiology, UW (2006)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Steve Vance [EMAIL]

Research Scientist,
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA

Ph.D, Earth & Space Sciences, UW (2007)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Ken Williford [EMAIL]

Research Scientist,
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA

Ph.D, Earth & Space Sciences, UW (2007)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Mark Claire [EMAIL]

Lecturer (Earth Systems Biogeochemistry),
University of East Anglia

Ph.D, Astronomy, UW (2008)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Nicolas Pinel [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Researcher,
Institute for Systems Biology

Ph.D, Microbiology, UW (2009)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Nicolas Cowan [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Fellow,
Physics & Astronomy, Northwestern University

Ph.D, Astronomy, UW (2009)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

Research interests: Inverse problems in exoplanet remote sensing, low-order climate models.

Eric Collins [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Fellow,
Astrobiology, McMaster University

Ph.D, Oceanography, UW (2009)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Julie Huber [EMAIL]

Assistant Scientist,
Josephine Bay Paul Center, Marine Biological Laboratory

Ph.D, Oceanography, UW (2004)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Nathan Kaib [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Fellow,
CIERA, Northwestern University

Ph.D, Astronomy, UW (2010)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Jelte Harnmeijer [EMAIL]

Director,
Sustainable Community Energy Network, Edinburgh, Scotland

Ph.D, Earth & Space Sciences, UW (2010)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Aaron Goldman [EMAIL]

Assistant Professor,
Oberlin College

Ph.D, Microbiology, UW (2010)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Clara Fuchsman [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Research Associate,
Oceanography, UW

Ph.D, Oceanography, UW (2010)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

John Kirkpatrick [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Fellow,
University of Rhode Island

Ph.D, Oceanography, UW (2011)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

Research interests: Microbial ecology, deep biosphere research, biogeochemistry, and nutrient cycling.

Loren Ballanti [EMAIL]
Ph.D, Biology, UW (2011)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Jesse Colangelo–Lillis [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
McGill University

M.S., Oceanography, UW (2012)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Michele Cash [EMAIL]

Space Plasma Physicist,
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center

Ph.D, Earth & Space Sciences, UW (2012)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Space Exploration

Matt Schrenk [EMAIL]

Assistant Professor (Biology, Geology),
East Carolina University

Ph.D., Oceanography, UW (2005)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Sanjoy Som [EMAIL]

Research Scientist & Director,
Blue Marble Space Institute of Science

Ph.D., Earth & Space Sciences, UW (2010)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Darci Snowden [EMAIL]

Research Associate,
Lunar & Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona

Ph.D, Earth & Space Sciences, UW (2010)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures, Space Exploration

John Armstrong [EMAIL]

Associate Professor (Physics),
Weber State University

Ph.D, Astronomy, UW (2003)



Phone: 801.626.6215

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars, Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

My primary research focus is working with the Virtual Planetary Laboratory to help characterize the properties of planets around other stars. In addition, I analyze data from several Mars missions to explore the history of the Martian climate. I am also interested in problems related to high performance computing and visualization.

Darlene Zabowski [EMAIL]

Professor,
Environmental & Forest Sciences




Office: 204 Bloedel Hall
Phone: 206-685-9550

Box Number: 352100

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

My research has focused on soil genesis and forest soils, particularly biogeochemical cycling in forest soils and forest ecosystems. In addition to working on forest soils, I have worked with soil development and extremely disturbed sites such as glacial deposits, tailings from mining and mine reclamation. I have also worked with alpine and subalpine systems. I teach courses in Introductory Soils, Introduction to Environmental Science, Soil Genesis and Classification, Biogeochemical Cycling in Soils and Forest Ecosystems, and Field Survey of Wildland Soils.

Sharon Doty [EMAIL]

Associate Professor,
Environmental & Forest Sciences




Box Number: 352100

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

Sharon Doty graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. degree in Genetics in 1989. She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Washington in 1995 with Prof. Gene Nester, studying Agrobacterium plant signal perception and responses. She did postdoctoral research in plant biochemistry with Prof. Milt Gordon in the UW Biochemistry Dept., focusing on developing improved phytoremediation of organic pollutants.

She joined the faculty of the UW College of Forest Resources in 2003 and is currently an Associate Professor in the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences in the College of the Environment. Professor Doty is interested in plant microbiology including nitrogen fixation in non-legumes, remediation of pollutants using plants, and biochemical production.

Recently, there has been a proliferation in research on endophytes, the microorganisms living fully within plants. Some endophytes are diazotrophic (nitrogen-fixing). It is now clear that these diazotrophic endophytes function in a wide range of plants across the globe. These discoveries point to a hitherto unexplored diversity of microbial life critical to the growth of plants in low-nutrient areas. Currently, plants are classified as “N-fixing” only if they have root nodules. By missing the important contributions of diazotrophic endophytes, it is not possible to make accurate assessments of terrestrial dinitrogen fixation. Furthermore, it has long been assumed that plants rely purely on specific genetic traits for successful adaptations to high temperature, salt, drought, low nutrients, etc. Recent evidence, however, points to symbiosis with microbial partners as a critical mechanism for the ability of plants to colonize and to thrive in challenging environments.

Matt Tilley [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences




Box Number: 351310

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures, Space Exploration, Education & Outreach


C.V. : https://www.dropbox.com/s/md71oetlv5ikf9x/TilleyMatt_cv.pdf

Biography:

I have interests in computational physics and numerical modeling of physical phenomena at the intersection of theory and observation. I currently model stellar wind interaction with planetary systems to investigate magnetospheric plasma dynamics, and I am interested in both Solar System objects as well as the habitability and potential detection signatures for extrasolar planets and their satellites.

 

Evan Firth [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Oceanography

Office: MSB 362

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

I am a first year graduate student studying Arctic microbes with Jody Deming. I have not yet defined my specific research topic, but I do know that I'm interested in the potential of modeling, both in Oceanographic and Astrobiological applications. This interest has primarily been fueled by UW's own Virtual Planetary Laboratory - I find inspiration in their ability to: 1) Predict the characteristics of far-off worlds with very few inputs, and 2) Set the stage for our exploration of the next frontier - before instrumentation has even been developed to do so.

I firmly believe that humanity could really use another grand adventure, and that a journey to the stars is just what the doctor ordered.

Russell Deitrick [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Astronomy




Office: Physics & Astronomy B333

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

I'm an astronomy grad working on models of the dynamics of exoplanets in multi-planet systems, particularly those with high eccentricity and high mutual-inclination, in order to understand how planet-planet interactions may affect habitability. My goals are to develop fast computational methods of determining the important interactions between planets and to link these to simple energy balance models for climate. I love the ocean, clouds, algebra, books, sleeping in, and cats.

Rodrigo Luger [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Astronomy




Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Tina Swenson [EMAIL]

Program Administrator,
UW Astrobiology Program

Project Administrator, Virtual Planetary Lab Phone: 206-685-9237

Box Number: 351580

Biography:

Tina is the Program Administrator for the Astrobiology Program, providing fiscal management and student support. She is also the Project Administrator for the NAI's Virtual Planetary Laboratory group. In this capacity, Tina manages the fiscal portion of the NASA cooperative agreement which funds this program. She also assists the P.I., Dr. Meadows, with projects related to the management of the group.

Nicole Evans [EMAIL]

Project Assistant,
UW Astrobiology Program

Research Assistant, Virtual Planetary Laboratory



Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

Nicole earned a B.S from the University of Washington in Astronomy & Physics. She has done research for the Virtual Planetary Laboratory on the detectability of planetary habitability and biosignatures by future planet-finding missions, such as NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder. She currently provides administrative support for UW Astrobiology.

Benjamin Vega–Westhoff [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Astronomy

Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Thomas Tobin [EMAIL]

Dual-Title PhD,
Earth & Space Sciences & Astrobiology (2014)




Office: JHN 423
Phone: +1-2678-TTOBIN

Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Life in Extreme Environments

Eva Stueeken [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences

Box Number: 351310

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

G. Wayne Stewart [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences




Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars

Meg Smith [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences




Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars, Education & Outreach

Biography:

Hi! I'm a third year graduate student in the department of Earth and Space Sciences (ESS). My primary research interest is the geochemical and atmospheric evolution of terrestrial planets, and my adviser is Prof. David Catling.

My current work focuses on understanding the formation of perchlorate salts on Mars (discovered by NASA's Phoenix lander in 2008, and probably discovered once again by NASA's Mars Science Laboratory in 2012). The primary question we wish to answer is: where did the perchlorate on Mars come from? Perchlorate is interesting for several reasons, including that the salts are highly hygroscopic and may be partially responsible for the presence of liquid brines on Mars today. In anoxic environments on Earth, perchlorate can be reduced by microorganisms, so perhaps there was a time on Mars when life used perchlorate as food (this is purely my own speculation, though). Stay tuned to the scientific literature, as our results are likely to be published in 2013.

The next project I will be embarking upon will be focused on geochemical modeling of the 'second rise of oxygen' on Earth. This event occurred approximately 0.8 billion years ago, and it is highly enigmatic. We believe it is crucial to understand this event because it is only after this point in time that the Earth became habitable to macroscopic life like ourselves. If we can pinpoint how this 'second rise of oxygen' occurred, we will be further along the path to understanding what drives the oxygenation of a planet. As astrobiologists, our goal is to understand the past, present, and future habitability of our universe, so this is a necessary effort, indeed.

In addition to my research interests, I am also interested in Education and Public Outreach. Astrobiology is a great vehicle to get people engaged in science. Astrobiologists used hard science to understand far-reaching questions that spark the interest of almost everyone on the planet, including "are we alone in the universe?" and "where did we come from?". I've recently been helping a group of elementary school students in Maryland with their unit on Mars, and it's been a great treat!

David J. Smith [EMAIL]

Research Scientist,
Kennedy Space Center, NASA

Dual-Title PhD, Biology & Astrobiology (2012)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments, Space Exploration

Biography:

I have always been captivated with astrobiology and the prospect of discovering life beyond Earth. I am passionate about spaceflight and eager to be involved in the new era of scientific exploration on the Moon and Mars.
 
As a NASA graduate co-op, I combine my PhD research with practical work experience at Kennedy Space Center (typically one quarter per year). I came to the University of Washington from Princeton University, where I studied Ecological & Evolutionary Biology. Currently based in the Biology Department at UW, my research interest is aerobiology in the upper atmosphere.
 
To collect samples I have used NASA high-altitude aircraft and mountaintop observatories in the Pacific Northwest. I want to understand the diversity, survival, and distribution of microorganisms floating high above the Earth's surface; a challenging environment characterized by high irradiation, low temperature and pressure, and extreme desiccation. I am currently Principal Investigator of MIST (Microorganisms in the Stratosphere), a NASA/KSC balloon mission aiming to measure microbial populations at extreme altitudes starting in 2012. 
 
Beyond my aerobiology interests, I have participated in several exciting research rotations at UW. I have traveled to the Antarctica three times to study late Cretaceous environmental conditions using paleomagnetics and biostratigraphy.
 
A list of my publications can be located here: http://www.biology.washington.edu/users/david-j-smith

Anna Simpson [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Environmental & Forest Sciences




Box Number: 352100

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

I'm a PhD student in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, working on the effects of nitrogen deposition on high-elevation soil microbial communities. I'm also interested in the creation of sustainable closed ecosystems to support human life in space.

Aomawa Shields [EMAIL]

Dual-Title PhD,
Astronomy & Astrobiology (2014)




Office: Physics and Astronomy Building, Room B323
Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures, Education & Outreach

Biography:

I'm a fourth-year graduate student in the Astronomy department and Astrobiology Program at the University of Washington.
 
My research focuses on modeling the climate of extrasolar planets using observational stellar spectra. I am specifically interested in constraining the probability of low-latitude glaciation on extrasolar planets as a function of host star and planetary properties.
 
I received my Sc.B in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences from MIT in 1997, and an MFA in Acting from UCLA in 2001. Between then and entering graduate school I worked at Caltech supporting the astronomical community in its use of the Spitzer Space Telescope, co-hosted the PBS show "Wired Science", acted in the film "Nine Lives" (one of Ebert and Roeper's "Top Ten Films of 2005"), and published the essay 'Universe: The Sequel' in the anthology "She's Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff" (Seal Press, 2006).
 
Recently I was honored to win the Audience Choice award in the 2012 United States FameLab science communication competition. In my spare time my husband Steven and I like to travel, grill on our patio, and watch TV with our two mother and daughter cats, Mama and Mimi.

Eddie Schwieterman [EMAIL]

Graduate Student, M.Sc. ,
Astronomy




Office: PAB 325
Phone: 206-616-1505

Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures, Education & Outreach

Biography:

I am a third-year graduate student pursuing a dual-title PhD in astronomy and astrobiology. I work as a research assistant for my adviser Victoria Meadows as part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory (VPL). My research involves spectral models of terrestrial planets and retrieval of planetary properties (e.g. temperature, surface type) from disk-integrated spectra.

Shane Schoepfer [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences




Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Biography:

Interests: Biogeochemistry, mass extinctions, ocean anoxia, nutrient cycling, and isotope geochemistry

Tyler Robinson [EMAIL]

NASA Postdoctoral Fellow,
NASA Ames Research Center

Dual-Title PhD, Astronomy & Astrobiology (2012)



Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

I am a scientist whose research interests include planetary science, exoplanets, planetary climate, remote sensing, habitability, and astrobiology. I have worked on a variety of interdisciplinary projects, both as a scientist and as an educator. My dissertation work focused on using data and models from the Earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences to better understand characterization techniques for Earth-like exoplanets.  Recently, I've been working with colleagues to develop simple, intuitive models of planetary atmospheres that can be used to explain key phenomenon, and which could be used to help constrain planetary habitability using observations.

Amit Misra [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Astronomy




Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

I'm a fifth year graduate student working on spectral modeling of exoplanets for my thesis. My recent work has been on developing a transit transmission spectroscopy model that includes refraction and on a new method to measure atmospheric pressure on exoplanets. In my spare time I enjoy playing the piano, reading, and playing with my son.

Osa Igbinosun [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Aeronautics & Astronautics

Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars, Space Exploration

Kelly Hillbun [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 423
Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Biography:

Interests: Carbonate geology, stable isotope geochemistry, paleontology.

Marcela Ewert Sarmiento [EMAIL]
Dual-Title PhD, Oceanography & Astrobiology (2013)



Office: MSB 364
Phone: (205) 543-0147

Box Number: 357940

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments, Education & Outreach

Biography:

Marcela has a bachelor's degree in Biology and a MS in Astronomy from the National University of Colombia (Bogotá).
 
She is currently working with Dr. Jody Deming on the protective strategies of microbes inhabiting the extreme environments of Arctic sea ice. She has an ongoing interest in science outreach and is a Pacific Science Center Fellow since 2009. 
 
Her research focuses on the protective role of extracellular substances from sea-ice organisms against the low temperatures and high salinities characteristic of the sea-ice environment. Understanding how sea-ice microorganisms survive extremes of low temperature and high salinity brings insight into the habitability of icy environments elsewhere.

Kyle Costa [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Microbiology

Box Number: 357735

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Regina Carns [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences




Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Biography:

Interests: Glaciology, snow metamorphism, sea ice, Snowball Earth.

Jeff Bowman [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Oceanography




Box Number: 357940

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

I am currently pursuing a PhD in biological oceanography with a graduate certificate in astrobiology. My research focuses on the microbiology of Earth’s cryosphere, the frozen portions of Earth’s atmospheric, terrestrial, and water environments.

In addition to understanding the distribution and implications of microbial life in Earth’s cryosphere, I am interested in how different components of the cryosphere can serve as analogues for frozen environments elsewhere in the universe.

Jonathan Bapst [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 432
Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars

Giada Arney [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Astronomy




Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures, Education & Outreach

Biography:

I am a fourth year graduate student working towards a dual title PhD in astronomy and astrobiology under the supervision of Victoria Meadows. I am interested in the future of exoplanet characterization with TPF-style technology.  Hazy atmospheres are likely to be common in the exoplanet population, and I study Venus, Titan, and early Earth (the 'Pale Orange Dot!') as solar system analog worlds for hazy exoplanets using a combination of radiative transfer and photochemical modeling tools.

Rika Anderson [EMAIL]

Dual-Title PhD,
Oceanography & Astrobiology (2013)




Box Number: 357940

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Life in Extreme Environments, Education & Outreach

Biography:

I'm a graduate student in the School of Oceanography, where I work with Professor John Baross on the ecology and evolution of microbial communities at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. We hope to better understand the ways in which viruses, which most people consider to be harmful parasites, may actually help their bacterial and archaeal hosts to better survive in the harsh conditions of hydrothermal vent environments.
 
Through this, we hope to gain insight into the fundamental evolutionary processes occurring in these extreme environments, which may help us understand how life could operate in similar environments on other planetary bodies as well as in the origin of life itself.

Elena Amador [EMAIL]

Graduate Student,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 317 and 262
Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars

John Wisniewski [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Research Associate,
Astronomy




Office: PAB C304
Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Graciela Matrajt [EMAIL]

Research Scientist,
Astronomy




Office: PAB B327
Phone: 206-543-9430

Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Education & Outreach

Rachel Horak [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Research Associate,
School of Oceanography




Office: Ocean Sciences Builiding 514
Phone: 206-543-0272

Box Number: 357940

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments, Education & Outreach

Biography:

My current research involves the nitrogen cycle in marine environments: what microbes are there, what are they doing, and how do they affect global biogeochemical cycles.
 
Most of my study sites are incredibly low in ammonium and nitrate, which makes them "extreme environments". I study mechanisms that the microbes have to live in such environments, and the interactions between organisms in these environments which facilitates their survival.
 
I am also highly interested in astrobiology education and outreach. I had the opportunity to teach a few astrobiology graduate classes, I frequently teach my own freshman seminar at UW, and I volunteer at the Pacific Science Center.

Ian Dobbs-Dixon [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Research Associate,
Astronomy




Office: PAB C304
Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle. My primary research interests are the study of planetary interiors and atmospheric dynamics with a particular focus on elucidating their roles in influencing planetary evolution and shaping observable features. My main expertise lies in numerical modeling of hydrodynamical and radiative processes.

William Brazelton [EMAIL]

Postdoctoral Research Associate,
Oceanography

Ph.D, Oceanography, UW (2010)



Box Number: 357940

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

I was a graduate student in the UW Astrobiology program from 2002-2010, and I liked it so much that I found a way to stay here for post-doctoral research!

I am a co-author along with several fellow UW Astrobiology students on a recently published review on the origin of life. The authors are multidisciplinary, the content is interdisciplinary, and we think it is a good example of how UW Astrobiology students are trained to think and write. Check it out.

My personal website has links to other publications and some general-audience writings.
 

Rory Barnes [EMAIL]

Research Assistant Professor,
Astronomy

Office: PAB B376
Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Stephen Wood [EMAIL]

Research Assistant Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 247
Phone: 206-543-0090

Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars, Space Exploration

Biography:

In the broadest terms, my research concerns the interactive and evolving relationships between planetary surfaces, volatiles, and environmental conditions. By "surfaces" I mean not just the visible upper surface, but the entire regolith - the porous outer layer covering the bedrock of a planet or moon. By "volatiles" I mean any compounds which can exist in vapor and condensed phases over the range of surface temperatures and pressures on the planet, such as H2O on Earth, CO2 on Mars, or N2 on Triton. And "environmental conditions" include factors such as the planet's orbital parameters. These three components form a strongly coupled system that evolves through time, driven by changes in external forcing such as the solar or geothermal flux.

Much of my work is focused on understanding the microphysical processes that govern the internal response and feedback mechanisms in these coupled systems. My primary objective is to develop mechanistic models - guided by observations and tested by experiment - that can predict the thermodynamic phase, physical properties, fluxes, and spatial distribution of volatiles for any given set of regolith properties and environmental conditions.

Robert Winglee [EMAIL]

Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 070J
Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Space Exploration

Biography:

Prof. Winglee has extensive experience in space plasma physics and engineering, particularly in relation to the space environments around the planets and advanced space propulsion systems. Significant areas of research include the generation of auroral kilometric radiation, heating of ionospheric ions in the auroral zone, the active injection of beams from spacecraft, reconnection in the magnetotail and magnetopause, ionospheric ion outflows, and planetary magnetospheres, and the development of electrodeless plasma systems for in-space propulsion.

He also continues to work with developing opportunities for students in higher education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through his activities associated with the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium.

Dale Winebrenner [EMAIL]

Research Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: BHB 509
Box Number: 355640

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments, Habitability & Life on Mars

Biography:

Dr. Winebrenners' interests are in the physics of light and radio waves, and in the exploration of icy environments on Earth and elsewhere based on that physics.
 
For sea ice, he has developed a physically based method to observe the springtime melting and fall freeze-up transitions on Arctic sea ice using synthetic aperture radar, and has shown that polarimetric microwave backscattering from thin sea ice depends on ice thickness and thus may be useful for remote thickness estimation. Recently he has investigated the optical fluorescence from chlorophyll in sea ice, with the aim of estimating phototrophic biomass near the ice-water interface. Microwave emissions are used to map (decadal-scale) mean surface temperature and accumulation rate fields, for ice sheet on both Greenland and Antarctica. 
 
Most recently, Dale Winebrenner has begun to investigate meter-wavelength radar sounding of ice sheets. The first result of this work is a new means of estimating electromagnetic absorption within the ice sheet.

Steve Warren [EMAIL]

Professor,
Atmospheric Sciences




Office: ATG 524
Box Number: 351640

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:



Research topics:
- Solar and IR radiation processes in snow, clouds and sea ice.
- Antarctic climate.
- Black carbon in Arctic snow.
- Oceanic processes on Snowball Earth.
- Global cloud climatology.

Peter Ward [EMAIL]

Professor,
Biology




Office: KIN 162
Box Number: 351800

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Biography:

Peter Ward is currently examining the nature of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event with studies in France and Spain involving detailed field work which concentrates on ammonites and bivalves. Ward is also researching speciation patterns and ecology of the living cephalopods Nautilus and Sepia. A final field of research is examining the stratigraphic history of West Coast Cretaceous basins through detailed biostratigraphy and basin analysis.

Woodruff Sullivan [EMAIL]

Professor,
Astronomy




Office: PAB C318
Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures, Space Exploration

Thomas R. Quinn [EMAIL]

Professor,
Astronomy




Office: PAB B380
Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

Prof. Quinn's research interests include: planetary dynamics, small body dynamics, formation and evolution of planetary systems, and the influence of galactic dynamics on planetary system structure.

Bruce Nelson [EMAIL]

Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences

Associate Dean for Research, College of the Environment



Office: JHN 433
Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

 

Bruce Nelson is professor in Earth & Space Sciences, and adjunct professor in the School of Oceanography. He is PI of the Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory, which includes mass spectrometry for high-precision analyses of radiogenic and stable isotope ratios, and clean labs for sample processing.

 

Bruce’s research interests include origin and evolution of continental crust, seafloor hydrothermal processes, and geochemical evolution of the earth’s mantle. He measures variations in trace element concentrations and long-lived radiogenic isotopes (e.g., Pb, Nd, Sr, Hf) to investigate early earth evolution, and fractionation of non-traditional stable isotopes (e.g., Cu, Zn, Fe, Mg) to investigate low temperature geochemical and biological processes.

Victoria Meadows [EMAIL]

Director,
UW Astrobiology Program

Professor, Astronomy



Office: PAB B374
Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures, Space Exploration

Biography:

Dr. Meadows is an Associate Professor with the Astronomy Department and Director of the Astrobiology Program at the University of Washington. She is also the Principal Investigator for the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory Lead Team. She has a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of New South Wales, and a Ph.D. in Physics from the Astrophysics Department of the University of Sydney.

Dr. Meadows’ primary research interests are in the challenging area of using modeling and observations to determine how to recognize whether a distant extrasolar planet is able to harbor life. Her NAI Virtual Planetary Laboratory team develops innovative computer models that can be used to understand the terrestrial planet formation process, test planetary dynamical stability and orbital evolution, and simulate the environment and spectra of present day and early Earth, other Solar System planets, and plausible extrasolar terrestrial environments. This research group can assess the stability and habitability of newly discovered planetary systems and use their models to produce simulated data for extrasolar planet environments, to assist the design and development of future NASA planet detection and characterization missions.

In addition to her astrobiology research, Dr. Meadows remains a planetary astronomer, and her research interests also encompass remote-sensing observations and radiative transfer modeling of the lower atmosphere and clouds of Venus, the variable Earth, spectra of Titan and Neptune’s atmospheres, and the impacts of Comet SL-9 with Jupiter.
 

John Leigh [EMAIL]

Professor,
Microbiology




Office: HSB J117A
Phone: 206-685-1390

Box Number: 357735

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Biography:

Dr. Leigh is a professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington. Current research interests focus on methanogenesis, a possible early energy metabolism on earth.

Recent papers:

Lie, T. J., K. C. Costa, B. Lupa, S. Korpole, W. B. Whitman, and J. A. Leigh. 2012. Essential anaplerotic role for the energy-converting hydrogenase Eha in hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 109:15473-15478.

Costa K. C., P. M. Wong, T. Wang, T. J. Lie, J. A. Dodsworth, I. Swanson, J. A. Burn, M. Hackett, and J. A. Leigh. 2010. Protein complexing in a methanogen suggests electron bifurcation and electron delivery from formate to heterodisulfide reductase. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107:11050-11055.
 

Erika Harnett [EMAIL]

Research Assistant Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 267
Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars, Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures, Education & Outreach

Biography:

My research involves studying the effects of solar storms on different planets and moons within the solar system. I am particularly interested in solar wind interactions with weakly magnetized objects such as the Moon and Mars and how that interaction has evolved over millennia. I accomplish my work through a synthesis of complex numerical models and satellite observations.

Richard Gammon [EMAIL]

Professor Emeritus,
Oceanography




Office: OSB 409
Box Number: 355351

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Biography:

The habitability of the planet depends directly on the radiative/photo-chemical properties of biologically produced trace gases, which together constitute less than a percent of the total atmospheric burden. These trace gases are generally the volatile, often methylated products of microbial metabolic processes occurring in low-oxygen sites in both terrestrial and marine environments. The present atmospheric composition, and consequently the present climate, reflects a balance of the flux of these reduced volatile species (e.g., CH4, CH3SCH3, N2O, reactive hydrocarbons, methyl halides) from microbial sources vs. the subsequent dispersal, photochemical oxidation, and redeposition of degradation products as nutrients to the planetary surface and awaiting microbes. The elucidation of the relevant chemical species, reactions, and fluxes governing the natural recycling of elements essential for life is the primary goal of interdisciplinary research called "biogeochemistry." The controversial hypothesis that the living earth can best be understood as a self-regulating biochemical system which controls, or at least strongly influences, the mean state of the planet has stimulated recent research in which might be called "geophysiology" or "biochemical climatology."

Research in the Gammon group has been directed toward an improved understanding of the natural and perturbed biogeochemical cycles of C, S and the halogens in relation to climate and climate change. This requires the ongoing development of new and more sensitive analytical methods to measure accurately trace gases at parts-per-trillion-by-volume in both marine and terrestrial environments. In order to understand the cumulative impact of man-made emissions of climate forcing trace species, it is essential to understand the photochemical and climatic balance of the natural system. Recent research has focused on the carbon, sulfur and halogen cycles and the relative contributions of the ocean versus the terrestrial biosphere in determining the global distributions and secular trends of climate-forcing trace gases. Marine and atmospheric trace gas measurements have been made on expeditions aboard NOAA, Coast Guard, and other research vessels. Time series measurements of trace gases are made at the UW Clean Air Facility at the coastal station on the Olympic Peninsula (Cheeka Peak).

Ongoing projects includes a stable isotope (D/H) study of the global atmospheric cycling of molecular hydrogen, and an investigation of the natural aquatic and terrestrial sources of the methyl halides (CH3Cl, CH3Br), and the determination of the pre-industrial atmospheric concentration of carbonly sulfide (OCS) from polar ice cores.

Joe Felsenstein [EMAIL]

Professor,
Genome Sciences

Professor, Biology



Office: GNOM S420B
Phone: 206 543 0150

Box Number: 355065

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Biography:

I came from Philadelphia, and took my undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1964. My Ph.D. thesis work was with Richard Lewontin, then at the University of Chicago. After a year's postdoctoral work at the Institute of Animal Genetics in Edinburgh, Scotland, I got a job here in the Department of Genetics. I was also an adjunct faculty member in Zoology 1990-2002 and since then a joint member of Genome Sciences and of Biology Department. I originally trained as a theoretical population geneticist, and did primarily that for the first decade of work here. But then a side interest in inference of phylogenies came to be my primary research area. I released the PHYLIP package of programs to infer phylogenies for the first time in 1980, and published a 2004 book Inferring Phylogenies. Since about 1990 I have concentrated on how trees of genes in populations allow inference of parameters.

Robert Edmonds [EMAIL]

Professor,
Environmental & Forest Sciences




Office: BLD 264
Box Number: 352100

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

My research interests focus on forest soil microbiology (especially decomposition, nutrient cycling processes, and mycorrhizae) and forest pathology (especially root and canker diseases). My students, postdoctoral research associates, and I have also conducted research on air pollution and its effects on trees, aerobiology, precipitation and stream chemistry, soil and coarse woody debris invertebrates, and the influence of biosolids on forest soils. My root disease research has focused on three important conifer root disease organisms, Heterobasidion annosum, Armillaria ostoyae, and Phellinus weirii, with an emphasis on their ecology and management.

I have worked at a variety of research sites in the Washington Cascades, the Olympic Peninsula, the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, and the Australian Capital Territory. I am particularly interested in studying microorganisms and soil processes in natural ecosystems, and examining the effects of forest management and other human disturbances.

I am a member of a number of societies, including the Society of American Foresters (SAF), the Ecological Society of America, the Soil Science Society of America, the American Phytopathological Society, and the Northwest Scientific Association. I have served as the soils editor for Northwest Science; and chairman of the South Puget Sound Chapter of the SAF, the Northwest Forest Soils Council, the Western International Forest Disease Work Council, and the National Research Council Committee on Aerobiology.

Jody Deming [EMAIL]

Walters Endowed Professor,
Oceanography




Office: MSB 370
Phone: 206-543-0845

Box Number: 357940

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

Jody W. Deming earned a B.A. in Biological Sciences cum laude from Smith College (1974) and Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Maryland (1981). She received NSF and NOAA postdoctoral fellowships for deep-sea research (1981–1983) at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Johns Hopkins University. She continued research at the JHU Chesapeake Bay Institute until moving to the University of Washington in 1988, where she is Professor in the School of Oceanography (since 1995). 
 
At UW, she has directed the Marine Bioremediation Program (1992–1999), launched the Marine Molecular Biotechnology Laboratory (now the Center for Environmental Genomics), and helped establish the nation’s first graduate training program in Astrobiology (1998–present). She and her students currently explore microbial life in the Arctic Ocean and its sea-ice cover. She served on the US Polar Research Board during the International Polar Year 2007–2009, has chaired the International Arctic Polynya Program since 2000, and currently serves on the US Ocean Sciences Board and an NRC Deepwater Horizon Committee.
 
She publishes regularly, has participated in over 45 research expeditions and related outreach efforts, and mentored numerous graduate and undergraduate students. Among her awards are NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (1989), US Coast Guard Arctic Service Medal (1993), Honorary Doctorate in Science and Engineering, Université Laval in Quebec (2006), and the Walters Endowed Professorship (2009–present).
 
She is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology (elected 1999) and US National Academy of Sciences (elected 2003). She is also a native Texan with Choctaw heritage, trained in classical piano and loves to swim, even in the cold.
 

John Delaney [EMAIL]

Professor,
Oceanography




Office: MSB 274
Box Number: 357940

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

John Delaney is Professor of Oceanography and holds the Jerome M. Paros Endowed Chair in Sensor Networks at the University of Washington. Since 1997, he has directed development of the regional cabled ocean observatory in the northeast Pacific Ocean that evolved into the Regional Scale Nodes program within the National Science Foundation's Ocean Observatories Initiative. The construction phase of this observatory began in September 2009 with the announcement of an award to the University of Washington of $126 million over five-and-a-half years.

This distributed, remote, sensor-robotic network will convert a sector of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate and overlying ocean into an internationally accessible, interactive, real-time natural laboratory capable of reaching millions of users via the Internet. Such networks are at the leading edge of ocean and earth science research and education.

Delaney, who joined the University of Washington faculty in 1977, has published nearly 100 papers scientific papers and articles, and has served as chief scientist on more than 45 oceanographic research cruises, many of which have included the Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin and the Remotely Operated Vehicle Jason. In September 2005, he co-led the VISIONS'05 research expedition, which successfully broadcast the first-ever live, high-definition video from the seafloor across the world. Scientists, educators, and the general public, viewed the real-time broadcasts from the underwater volcanoes of the NE Pacific over cable and satellite television and on the web via the Research Channel.

His research focuses on the deep-sea volcanic activity of the Juan de Fuca Ridge in the northeast Pacific Ocean. In the summer of 1998, Delaney led a joint expedition with the American Museum of Natural History to successfully recover four volcanic sulfide structures now on display in AMNH's Hall of the Planet Earth. This U.S./Canadian effort was the subject of a NOVA/PBS and a BBC documentary entitled Volcanoes of the Deep. Samples collected on this expedition produced the highest temperature microbes ever cultured on earth. Some hypotheses link these deepsea volcanic systems to the origin of life on earth.

In 1987, Delaney served as the first Chairman of the RIDGE Program and initial co-chairman of the international InterRIDGE. Both programs were designed to foster intensive studies of the physical, chemical, and biological interactions that characterize the vigorous volcanic and hydrothermal activity along the 70,000-kilometer mid-ocean ridge system. These programs, still active today, have channeled hundreds of millions of dollars into research and education about processes that support exotic life forms sustained through chemosynthesis driven by plate tectonics several kilometers below sea level. Delaney has served on several NASA Committees charged with defining the nature of missions to Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, suspected to harbor both a liquid ocean and submarine volcanoes.

David Catling [EMAIL]

Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 325
Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Habitability & Life on Mars, Space Exploration

Biography:

After a doctorate in the Dept. of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics at the University of Oxford, England, I worked as a planetary scientist near San Francisco at NASA’s Ames Research Center from 1995-2001. In 2001, I joined the faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle.
 
I also had a stint as European Union Marie Curie Chair in Earth and Planetary System Science at the University of Bristol, England, from 2005-2008. Currently, I'm a Professor jointly affiliated with the Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences and cross-campus Astrobiology Program at the University of Washington.
 
Research interests revolve around understanding the co-evolution of planetary atmospheres, planetary surfaces, and life. This includes collecting and interpreting data from other planets and the Earth. A key goal is to understand the habitability of planets in general. I have also been involved in NASA’s exploration of Mars and was part of a 35-person team of scientists responsible for NASA’s Phoenix Mission, a probe that landed and operated successfully in the northern polar region of Mars in 2008. 
 
I am author of the book, Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction-- a readable and up-to-date summary of the subject.
For more info on research, check out my publications.

Roger Buick [EMAIL]

Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 335
Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Biography:

I am interested in the origin and earliest evolution of life on Earth and how that can be used as an analogue for life elsewhere in the Universe. My research techniques lie at the intersection of geology, biology and chemistry, examining the oldest and best-preserved rocks available. This involves fieldwork in the Australian outback, on the Greenland ice-cap and in the Canadian woods, amongst other places.

Examples of current projects include:

Early evolution of bacterial metabolism - palaeontology and stable-isotope geochemistry of Archaean sedimentary rocks, with the aim of determining when the main forms of microbial metabolism first arose and whether this caused environmental change in the atmosphere and oceans.

Early Archaean atmospheric composition - detrital heavy minerals in Archaean fluvial sandstones, with the aim of determining whether their alteration patterns indicate primordial atmospheric greenhouse effect modulated by carbon dioxide or some other gas in order to counteract the weaker solar luminosity during Earth's early history.

Secular trends in marine nutrient fluxes and their ecological impact - phosphorus and nitrogen geochemistry in sedimentary rocks through time, with the aim of betterquantifying oceanic fluxes and budgets for these elements, identifying temporal trends in their sources and sinks, and determining whether these reflect or influenced ecosystem evolution.

Early evolution of continental crust - trace-element and radiogenic-isotope geochemistry of basalts ~3.5 billion years old across an ancient unconformity in the Pilbara Craton, Australia, with the aim of contraining the primordial growth rate of continental crust, the tectonic environments of the early Earth and the biological impacts of crustal differentiation.

Molecular fossils from early Precambrian rocks - organic geochemistry of well-preserved Archaean and Palaeoproterozoic hydrocarbons and kerogen, with the aim of discovering organic geochemical biomarkers that constrain the phylogenetic history of microbial ecosystems.

Adam Bruckner [EMAIL]

Professor,
Aeronautics & Astronautics




Office: AERB132
Phone: (206) 543-6143

Box Number: 352250

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Space Exploration

Biography:

Professor Bruckner graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 1966 with a B. Engr. in Honours Mechanical Engineering, and was a recipient of the British Association Medal. He received his PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 1972 from Princeton University and joined the University of Washington as a Research Associate in the Aerospace and Energetics Research Program the same year. He was Chair of the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics from 1998 until 2010, and is one of the founding members of the University’s Astrobiology Program.

His research has encompassed hypervelocity accelerators, planetary in situ resource utilization, space propulsion, space power systems, energy conversion, and laser applications in biology and medicine. He has published more than 180 papers and reports on these and other topics. He is a co-inventor of the ram accelerator, a chemically propelled ramjet-in-tube hypervelocity projectile launcher, and is also co-inventor of the liquid droplet heat exchanger, a promising approach to thermal management in space power systems which has found near-term application in the development of chemical oxygen-iodine lasers for missile defense.

In addition, Professor Bruckner has worked on the development of enabling technologies and architectures for manned and unmanned Mars missions based on in situ resource utilization. He has five U.S. patents in the areas of ram accelerators, launch vehicles, and heat exchangers.

Don Brownlee [EMAIL]

Professor,
Astronomy




Office: PAB C331
Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

Dr. Brownlee is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington, from which he received his doctorate in Astronomy.
 
His research interests include investigations, conducted at the University of Washington, the Lunar Science Institute, and the California Institute of Technology, of interplanetary dust, comets, meteorites, and the origin of the solar system. He also conducted research as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago. Asteroid 3259 Brownlee was named for him in 1991.
 
Dr. Brownlee has received numerous awards and honors, including the J. Lawrence Smith medal from the National Academy of Sciences, the Leonard medal from the Meteoritical Society, and the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. Dr. Brownlee was elected a Fellow of both the Meteoritical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
 
He is the Associate Editor of Meteoritics and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Microbeam Analysis Journal. Dr. Brownlee is currently a principal investigator for the STARDUST Discovery mission, that that will collect comet samples and return them to Earth.

J. Michael Brown [EMAIL]

Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: ATG 220
Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth

Biography:

The overwhelming majority of Earth's interior is not accessible to direct sampling or observation. Most of our understanding is based on remote sensing techniques (e.g., seismology). To interpret such observations, it is essential to have complimentary laboratory measurements. In our High-Pressure Mineral Physics Laboratory, we have an interdisciplinary program involving a variety of experimental and theoretical approaches. We seek an understanding of Earth based on an atomic-level understanding of constituent minerals. The underlying goal is an understanding of the thermal and compositional state of the Earth's interior and its contribution to observed dynamical behavior. Current high pressure/high temperature work includes:

(1) measurement of elastic constants and thermal diffusivities of mineral under mantle conditions,

(2) studies of equations of state and viscosities of fluids, and

(3) measurements of elastic constants of metals under conditions approaching Earth's core. These data provide a comprehensive framework for the understanding of how Earth and other planets work.
 

Cecilia Bitz [EMAIL]

Associate Professor,
Atmospheric Sciences




Office: ATG 502
Phone: 206 543 1339

Box Number: 351640

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures


C.V. : http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~bitz/vitae.pdf

Biography:

Cecilia's research focus is on climate and climate change in the high latitudes on Earth, especially involving the cryosphere. She uses a variety of models for her research, from simple reduced models to sophisticated earth-system models. She has worked with several Astrobiology students to teach them about climate modeling and conduct simulations relevant for Earth's deep past and exoplanet climates.

John Baross [EMAIL]

Professor,
Oceanography




Office: MSB 260
Box Number: 357940

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth, Life in Extreme Environments

Biography:

John Baross is a Professor in Oceanography and the Astrobiology Program at the University of Washington. He specializes in the ecology, physiology, and taxonomy of microorganisms from hydrothermal vent environments, and the use of biochemical and molecular methods to detect, quantify, and classify the same.
 
John has particular interests in the microbial ecology of extreme environments, the biotechnological applications of microorganisms that grow in extreme environments, astrobiology, and in the significance of submarine hydrothermal vent environments for the origin and evolution of life. The novel environment and microbes present at Lost City are of great interest to John and his laboratory group. Samples recovered from this field offer potential for new discoveries and insights into life in the extreme environments of hydrothermal vents.

Joshua Bandfield [EMAIL]

Research Associate Professor,
Earth & Space Sciences




Office: JHN 347
Box Number: 351510

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars, Space Exploration


C.V. : http://faculty.washington.edu/joshband/cv.pdf

Biography:

My research has focused on the investigation of the processes that have formed the crust and regolith of the Moon, Mars, and Earth analogs. This has been primarily through the use of infrared and visible spectral and imaging data returned from orbiting spacecraft and landers. I have worked directly with the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer, 2001 Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System, Mars Exploration Rovers Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometers, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mars Climate Sounder, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner Radiometer instrument investigations.

Determining present and past environments on planetary surfaces is often relevent to astrobiology. With increasingly sophisticated measurements being returned from spacecraft, we've been able to move beyond "liquid water = life potential". One of my research goals is to use remotely sensed measurements and surface mineralogy to understand more detailed aspects of the biological potential of past environments.

Publications:
(http://faculty.washington.edu/joshband/publications/publications.html)

Eric Agol [EMAIL]

Associate Professor,
Astronomy




Office: PAB B370
Box Number: 351580

Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures

Biography:

Eric Agol studies transits of extrasolar planets, for which he has created a widely used modeling code and originated the idea of detecting and characterizing planets using transit time variations.
 
He is a member of the Kepler team, with which he led the discovery and characterization a closely orbiting super-Earth and mini-Neptune (Kepler 36), and he helped to characterize two circumbinary planet systems, including the first two-planet system orbiting a binary star (Kepler 38 and 47).
 
He first postulated the possibility of long-lived habitable planets around white dwarf stars (if they could form or migrate inward, and retain volatiles). He is also interested in atmospheric modeling of hot jupiters, coronagraphic imaging, radial velocity surveys, and mapping of extrasolar planets (using their time-dependent variation).

UW Astrobiology [EMAIL]