Eric Agol

Professor, Astronomy

Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures


Eric Agol studies transits of extrasolar planets, for which he has created a widely used modeling code and helped originate the idea of detecting and characterizing planets using transit time variations.

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Rory Barnes

Associate Professor, Astronomy

Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures


Rory Barnes is a theorist in the Virtual Planetary Laboratory primarily interested in the formation and evolution of habitable planets.

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John Baross

Professor, Oceanography

Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth
Life in Extreme Environments


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.

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Cecilia Bitz

Professor and Chair, Atmospheric Sciences

Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures


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

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J. Michael Brown

Professor, Earth & Space Sciences

Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth


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

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Roger Buick

Professor, Earth & Space Sciences

Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth


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.

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David Catling

Professor, Earth & Space Sciences

Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth
Habitability & Life In the Solar System: Mars
Space Exploration


My 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.

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Jody Deming

Karl M. Banse Endowed Professor, Oceanography

Life in Extreme Environments


Cold adaptation in marine microorganisms and relevance to polar geochemistry and ecology; limits of microbial life, especially in ice, as they relate to astrobiology, biotechnology and bioremediation); role of benthic bacteria in biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems, from coastal to deep-sea environments; hydrostatic pressure in the evolution and ecology of marine bacteria, especially at very cold and hot temperatures.

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Sharon Doty

Professor, Environmental & Forest Sciences

Life in Extreme Environments


Our laboratory focuses on pressing environmental issues and possible “green” solutions. Our three main research interests are in using natural plant-microbe partnerships to: Improve plant growth with less input of chemicals and water, Remove environmental pollutants, mprove the sustainability of bioenergy production

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David Gire

Professor, Psychology

Alternate Models of Intelligence


We seek to define the neural circuit operations that support complex and flexible behavioral responses to natural sensory stimuli. We connect neural activity to behavior by employing a variety of techniques including electrophysiology, multiphoton imaging, optogenetics, and automated behavioral analysis.

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Drew Gorman-Lewis

Associate Professor, Earth & Space Sciences

Life in Extreme Environments


My research interests focus on understanding the chemistry of water-rock-microbe interactions. Understanding water-rock-microbe interactions on Earth will inform our search for life on other planets. I combine interdisciplinary techniques from microbiology, low temperature aqueous geochemistry, physical chemistry, and thermodynamic modeling to develop a quantitative understanding of the chemistry occurring at the hydrated interface of life and rocks

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James Hermanson

Professor, Aeronautics & Astronautics

Space Exploration


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

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Anitra Ingalls

Professor, Oceanography

Life in Extreme Environments
Habitability & Life in the Solar System: Icy Moons


I am a biogeochemist and my lab group aims to learn how the chemical signatures of microorganisms can tell us about the function of the marine microbial community.

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Sarah Keller

Duane and Barbara LaViolette Endowed Professor, Chemistry

Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth


Prof. Keller is a biophysicist who investigates self-assembling soft condensed matter systems. Her group’s primary research focus concerns how lipid…

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Victoria Meadows

Director, UW Astrobiology Program
Professor, Astronomy

Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures
Space Exploration


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 NASA NExSS 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

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Bruce Nelson

Professor, Earth & Space Sciences
Adjunct Professor, Oceanography

Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth
Life in Extreme Environments


Bruce’s research interests include origin and evolution of continental crust, seafloor hydrothermal processes, and geochemical evolution of the earth’s mantle.

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Brook Nunn

Research Associate Professor, Genome Sciences

Life in Extreme Environments


Understanding how different organisms adapt to their unique surroundings by examining their protein expression.
Biogeochemical recycling of organic matter, specifically proteins, in the marine water column and in sediments.
Understanding the chemical interactions between bacteria and particles in the ocean.

Examining why proteins are preserved in sediments for long periods of time.

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Tom Quinn

Professor, Astronomy

Exoplanets: Detection, Habitability, & Biosignatures


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.

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Fang–Zhen Teng

Professor, Earth & Space Sciences

Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth
Life in Extreme Environments


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)

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Dale Winebrenner

Research Professor, Earth & Space Sciences

Life in Extreme Environments
Habitability & Life In the Solar System: Mars


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.

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Jodi Young

Assistant Professor, Oceanography

Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth
Life in Extreme Environments


The Young Lab investigates the physiological adaptations in phytoplankton to optimize their productivity. The aim is to better predict how phytoplankton productivity and thus their ability to capture carbon dioxide will respond to future change.

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