Exobiology: Early Evolution of Life and the Biosphere
Organization
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Reference Code
0001-NPP-MAR22-A-Astrobio
Application Deadline
3/1/2022 6:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone
Description

The goal of research into the early evolution of life is to determine the nature of the most primitive organisms and the environment in which they evolved. The opportunity is taken to investigate two natural repositories of evolutionary history available on Earth: the molecular record in living organisms and the geological record. These paired records are used to: i) determine when and in what setting life first appeared and the characteristics of the first successful living organisms; ii) understand the phylogeny and physiology of microorganisms, including extremophiles, whose characteristics may reflect the nature of primitive environments; iii) determine the original nature of biological energy transduction, membrane function, and information processing, including the construction of artificial chemical systems to test hypotheses regarding the original nature of key biological processes; iv) investigate the development of key biological processes and their environmental impact; v) examine the response of Earth’s biosphere to extraterrestrial events; vi) investigate the evolution of genes, pathways, and microbial species subject to long-term environmental change relevant to the origin of life on Earth and the search for life elsewhere; and vii) study the coevolution of microbial communities, and the interactions within such communities, that drive major geochemical cycles, including the processes through which new species are added to extant communities.      

Applicants who apply for this research opportunity and are subsequently selected for an NPP award are expected to attend the Astrobiology Graduate Conference (AbGradCon) and/or the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) using the travel funds that are conferred as part of the NPP award.

Field of Science:Astrobiology

Advisors:
Frank Rosenzweig
frank.rosenzweig@biology.gatech.edu
404-385-4458

Beth Orcutt
borcutt@bigelow.org
207-315-2567

Roland Hatzenpichler
roland.hatzenpichler@montana.edu
626-319-2707

Jamie Foster
jfoster@ufl.edu
321-525-1047

David Catling
dcatling@u.washington.edu
206-543-8653

Shelley Copley
shelley.copley@colorado.edu
303-492-6328

Dionysios Foustoukos
dfoustoukos@ciw.edu

Trinity Hamilton
hamil689@umn.edu
612-625-6372

James Holden
jholden@microbio.umass.edu
413-577-1742

Jay Lennon
lennonj@indiana.edu
812-856-0962

Xiaolei Liu
xlliu@ou.edu
617-306-7958

Rachel Martin
rwmartin@uci.edu

Timothy McDermott
timmcder@montana.edu

Thomas Santangelo
thomas.santangelo@colostate.edu

Daniel Stolper
dstolper@berkeley.edu

Yuanzhi Tang
yuanzhi.tang@eas.gatech.edu
404-894-3814

Eligibility is currently open to:

  • U.S. Citizens;
  • U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents;
  • Foreign nationals who are in the U.S. at the time of application and on a valid J1 visa; and,
  • Foreign nationals, asylees or refugees in the U.S. at the time of application with a valid EAD card and pending I-485 or I-589 forms.

These temporary eligibility limitations have been put in place due to inaccessible U.S. consulates and travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Foreign nationals have made many substantive contributions to NASA, as well as to the greater scientific community throughout the life of the NPP. Therefore, we look forward to the time when the program will be open, once again, to all qualified scientists and engineers.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree.
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