Dr. Olivier Guyon
OLIVIER GUYON is an associate astronomer and associate professor of optical sciences at The University of Arizona in the Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory. There, his research focuses on innovative techniques for detecting and imaging extrasolar planets, coronography, and wavefront sensing techniques for adaptive optics. He is also an affiliate of the Astrobiology Center of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan and of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He serves as a member of NASA’s science and technology definition teams for the WFIRST, HabEx, and LUVOIR mission concepts. Previously, Dr. Guyon worked as a project scientist with the Subaru Telescope of the University of Hawaii. He has been the recipient of the MacArthur fellowship, of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and of the Daniel Guinier young researcher award of the French Society of Physics. Dr. Guyon earned his Ph.D. in astronomy from the Pierre and Marie Curie University.
Dr. Gerald F. Joyce
GERALD F. JOYCE, NAS/NAM, is a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He is also institute director of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF). Broadly, Dr. Joyce’s research concerns the origin of life itself. He is a pioneer in the field of in vitro evolution, which re-creates the biomolecules of early life, their assembly into RNA, and their evolution, all within the laboratory environment. His work has furthered the understanding of how life arose from abiotic chemistry. For this work, he has received the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Miller Award. Dr. Joyce received his Ph.D. in neurosciences and chemistry and his M.D. in medicine from the University of California, San Diego. He previously served on the Academies’ Committee on International Security and Arms Control and the 2004 NAS Award in Molecular Biology Selection Committee.
Dr. James F. Kasting
JAMES F. KASTING is the Evan Pugh Professor at The Pennsylvania State University in the Department of Geosciences. His research interests include atmospheric evolution, planetary atmospheres, paleoclimates, and the search for habitable planets beyond the solar system. Previously, Dr. Kasting worked at the National Center for Amotpheric Research in Boulder, Colorado and the Space Science Division at NASA-Ames Research Center. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life, and the American Geophysical Union. He has published dozens of papers and three books. Dr. Kasting earned his Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Michigan. He has served on several Academies’ committees, including the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences, Searching for Life Across Space and Time: A Workshop, and the Committee on the Astrophysical Context of Life.
Dr. Victoria S. Meadows
VICTORIA S. MEADOWS is a professor of astronomy at the University of Washington in the Department of Astronomy. There, she is also director of the Astrobiology Program and principal investigator for the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory. Her research interests include theoretical modeling of terrestrial planetary environments to understand their habitability, the generation and detectability of planetary biosignatures and their false positives, and solar system planetary observations. The overarching goal of her research is to determine how to recognize whether a distant extrasolar planet can or does support life. Previously, Dr. Meadows was a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an associate research scientist at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology. She is a recipient of several NASA Group Achievement Awards, has been on the SETI Institute Science Advisory Board, and was a Frontiers of Science Kavli Fellow. She earned her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Sydney. Dr. Meadows served on the Academies’ Searching for Life Across Space and Time: A Workshop committee.
Dr. Philip M. Neches
PHILIP M. NECHES, NAE, is the founder of Teradata Corporation. He is a trustee of the California Institute of Technology and is a lead mentor and venture partner at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator in New York City. Dr. Neches’s interests include big data, information systems architecture, nanotechnology, start-ups, business strategy, and engineering education. He has been an independent consultant, director, and advisor at a number of public and private information technology companies. Previously, he was vice president and group technology officer for the AT&T Multimedia Products and Services Group and senior vice president and chief scientist of NCR Corporation. Dr. Neches has received a Product of the Year Award on behalf of the Teradata Corporation. Dr. Neches received his Ph.D. in computer science at the California Institute of Technology. He has served on several Academies’ committees including Searching for Life Across Space and Time: A Workshop, the Committee on A Vision for the Future of Center-Based, Multidisciplinary Engineering Research, and the Panel on Review of the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Dr. Carl B. Pilcher
CARL B. PILCHER is a research scientist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. Previously, he acted as interim director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), a position he accepted after retiring as director of the NAI. During his tenure he facilitated numerous multi-disciplinary collaborations, particularly within the Origins of Life research portfolio, and steered the institute toward a more direct, supportive role in spaceflight missions. Before moving to management of the NAI, Dr. Pilcher served as program scientist for NASA’s Kepler Mission and NASA’s participation in the Keck Observatory. His academic background includes a faculty position in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, where he analyzed Neptune’s atmosphere and participated in the discovery of methane ice on Pluto. As a graduate student, he led scientific teams that discovered water ice in Saturn’s rings and on three of Jupiter’s Galilean satellites including Europa. Dr. Pilcher has received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, numerous Group Achievement Awards, and an Ames Honor Award. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has not previously served on an Academies’ committee
Dr. Nilton O. Renno
NILTON O. RENNÓ is a professor at the University of Michigan. He is also chair of the department’s master’s programs, and director of the Master of Engineering program in Space Engineering. Dr. Rennó’s research interests include aerosols and climate, astrobiology, aviation, instrument development, planetary science, thermodynamics, and systems engineering. He studies the physical processes that control the climate of Earth and other planets and works on the design and fabrication of instruments for this purpose. Previously, Dr. Rennó was a tenured associate professor in the Department of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona. He has received the Space Foundation John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation’s Award for Excellence, and the National Aeronautic Association’s Robert J. Collier Trophy for his work on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory and Curiosity rover missions, as well as several individual and NASA Group Achievement Awards. He earned his Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has served as a member on the Academies’ Panel on Earth Sciences, Committee on the Review of MEPAG Report on Planetary Protection for Mars Special Regions, and Searching for Life Across Space and Time: A Workshop.
Dr. Britney E. Schmidt
BRITNEY E. SCHMIDT is an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Schmidt is the principal investigator of the Ross Ice Shelf and Europa Underwater Probe (RISE-UP), an interdisciplinary astrobiology and oceanographic investigation leveraging remote sensing and autonomous underwater vehicles to examine Earth’s ice shelves as analogs for extraterrestrial icy moons and their potential for habitability. Her research interest in the astrobiology of icy systems focuses on Europa, where she models the formation of surface terrain to better understand ice-ocean interactions and works on a variety of instrument technology and platforms for subsurface exploration. Dr. Schmidt is also a participating scientist on NASA’s Europa Clipper radar team, a member of the Europa Lander and LUVOIR science definitions teams, and an associate of the Dawn mission. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was named outstanding early career researcher. She is recipient of a NASA Early Career Fellowship and the Eric R. Immel Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching of the Georgia Tech College of Science. Dr. Schmidt earned her Ph.D. in geophysics and space physics from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Dr. Roger Summons
ROGER E. SUMMONS is the Schlumberger Professor of Geobiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research focuses on the biogeochemistry and geobiology of microbially-dominated ecosystems, early life on the Earth, indicators of climate change, biomarkers, and terrestrial and extraterrestrial biogeochemical fossils. Dr. Summons is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Royal Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Society for Microbiology and the Geochemical Society. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of NSW, Wollongong University College. Dr. Summons has previously served on the National Academies’ Committee on Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars, Committee on the Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Sciences, and Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life, among others.
Dr. Frances Westall
FRANCES WESTALL is a research scientist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, where she is also director of the Exobiology Group. Dr. Westall and her laboratory lead the biosignature group of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission Site Selection Committee and are engaged in instrument development for the in situ detection of biosignatures on extraterrestrial bodies. Her research interests include the early Earth environment and geologic context of early life, the formation of prebiotic molecules, the earliest preserved traces of life, and the search for life in the solar system. Previously, Dr. Westall conducted research in geobiology at the Universities of Nantes (France) and Bologna (Italy) and in bacterial palaeontology, prebiotic molecules, and traces of life in Martian meteorites at the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Dr. Westall has co-authored publications that have been awarded the Gerald A. Soffen Memorial Award and the WITec Paper Award. She earned her Ph.D. in marine geology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Westall served as a member of the Academies’ Committee on the Review of MEPAG Report on Planetary Protection for Mars Special Regions.
Dr. Shelley A. Wright
SHELLEY A. WRIGHT is an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego in the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. Dr. Wright is an observational and experimental astrophysicist whose research concentrates on understanding how galaxies and supermassive black holes form and evolve. She is particularly engaged in the design and construction of innovative advanced, near-infrared and optical astronomical instrumentation, and she has led instrument programs at the Lick and Keck Observatories. She is project scientist for the Near-Infrared Integral Field Spectrograph and Imager for AO corrected images (IRIS) on the Thirty Meter Telescope. She is also an instrumentalist for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Previously, Dr. Wright worked as a postdoctoral fellow under the University of California Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship and Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Wright earned her Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Dr. Karyn L. Rogers
KARYN L. ROGERS is an assistant professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. There, Dr. Rogers’ research focuses on the relationships between microbial communities and environmental conditions in extreme ecosystems and is broadly applied to understanding the nature and the origin of life on Earth, the potential for life throughout the solar system, and the extent of life in modern extreme environments. To study these themes and develop a holistic understanding of functional microbial ecosystems, she employs a combination of fieldwork in several terrestrial hydrothermal systems and modern deep-sea mid-ocean ridge environments with extensive laboratory analytical and experimental techniques. Previously, Dr. Rogers worked as a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (now Carnegie Institution for Science), as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri, and as a postdoctoral scholar in the Deep Ocean Exploration Institute at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She is associate director of the New York Center for Astrobiology, a member of the Institute for Data Exploration and Applications, and U.S. lead and co-director for the Sloan Foundation Deep Carbon Observatory’s PRIME (Peizophile Retrieval Instrumentation for Microbial Explorations) Facility. She serves as co-organizer of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System Deep Submergence Science Committee New User Program. Dr. Rogers earned a Ph.D. in earth and planetary sciences from Washington University, an A.M. in earth and planetary sciences from Washington University, an M.S. in geological and environmental sciences from Stanford University, and an A.B. in environmental science and public policy and earth and planetary sciences from Harvard University. She has not previously served on an Academies committee.