I co-lead the Origins and Habitability Laboratory at JPL. Visit the lab's website for more details about our research, lab news, and facilities.
Interested in an internship? I take several summer interns each year, but also prefer year-round interns who work part time while going to school. I typically fill my summer intern positions in the fall (October - November), and it is not unusual for people to contact me more than a year in advance. If interested, email me and tell me about your research interests, and which of my funded projects interests you and why.
Below are the OHL lab members currently working on projects that I supervise.
Nancy is a Geosciences PhD student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She works on determining the degree of diagenesis on Mars, specifically looking at if there are S-containing organic minerals from Vera Rubin Ridge and Glen Torridon, mainly focusing on Mn sulfides. She is simulating the growth of hydrothermal chimneys with conditions analogous to the Strytan hydrothermal field in Iceland, an analog to hydrothermal environments on early Mars.
Julia is working on her Master's in Environmental Engineering at CSU Los Angeles. She has a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Lewis & Clark College. She is simulating hydrothermal vents in the lab. In particular, she will study saponite precipitates: their use in carbon dioxide sequestration and their relevance to habitable environments on early Earth and early Mars.
Dennise is currently pursuing her MS in Physics from CSU Los Angeles. She has a BS in Physics and Chicano/a studies from UCLA. Her research interests include the search for life outside of Earth as well as better understanding the origins of life here on Earth. She is working with the OHL on investigating chemical pathways in ocean world analog systems to resolve possible indicators of abiotic organic chemistry and habitability on Ceres and Enceladus.
Erika is completing her Master's degree in Environmental Engineering at CSU Los Angeles, and has a Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona. She is working on prebiotic organic synthesis and phosphorus absorption in hydrothermal systems.
Laura Rodriguez earned her B.S. in Geochemistry at Rice University before obtaining her Ph.D. in Geosciences and Astrobiology at Penn State. Laura is a JPL Postdoctoral Researcher working on hydrothermal vent geochemistry, phosphorus chemistry in planetary systems, and is part of the INVADER vent exploration project.
Tess is a second year biology Ph.D. student at Caltech. She is working on experiments to simulate the origin of metabolism, particularly reactions of simple organic molecules with minerals in ocean world analog environments, and is interested in possible metabolisms that might exist on ocean worlds.
Jessica Weber earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from MIT and a B.S. in Chemistry from U of Chicago. Jessica is a JPL Postdoctoral Researcher exploring how protein cofactors behave under early Earth conditions.
Eduardo is a Master’s student in Civil Engineering at CSU Los Angeles. He is studying the structure of simulated hydrothermal vent chimneys, and the adsorption of nitrate/nitrite and phosphate onto iron minerals.
Rachel completed her BA in Earth Science at Columbia University studying organic molecules in fault rocks and completed her PhD in Earth & Planetary Science at Brown University studying how water-bearing minerals record aqueous conditions on Earth and Mars. She is a JPL Postdoctoral Researcher working on redox gradients in the martian subsurface, and is a member of the MSL science team.
|Name||Year||Project||Academic Programs||Current position|
|Medha Prakash||2021||CO2 reduction on early Earth and Mars||B.S. Environmental Science, U. of Virginia||Undergraduate student|
|Sarah Lamm||2021||Raman / LIBS analysis of iron minerals||M.S. Geology, Kansas State||Ph.D. student, U. of Kansas|
|Jonathan Major||2017 - 2020||Phosphorus chemistry||M.S., Geoscience, University of Tulsa||Ph.D. student, U. of South Florida|
|Michelle Hooks||2017 - 2019||Chemical gardens||Education and Biology - USC||NASA Johnson Space Center|
|Ninos Hermis||2017 - 2020||Electrochemistry / hydrothermal chimneys||M.S., Physics and Geology - CSU-LA||Ph.D. student, LMU-Munich|
|Hiroki Nishumura||2018||Organic / phosphorus adsorption on iron minerals||Marine Science - Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology||Graduate Student|
|Jason Pagano||2018-2019||Chemical gardens||Professor, Saginaw Valley State U. - sabbatical visitor at JPL||Associate Professor of Chemistry|
|Jemma Dickson||2019||Microbes in hydrothermal vent chimneys||Chemistry and marine science - College of the Atlantic||Undergraduate student|
|Thora Maltais||2017||Origin of metabolism||JPL postdoc (Ph.D. Purdue - Chemistry)||JPL Contamination Control Engineer|
|Sarah Crucilla||2019||Origin of metabolism||Caltech - Geology|
|Ryan Cameron||2016-2017||Carbon fixation||Tulsa Community College; CSU Northridge||Landscape management|
|Yeghegis Abedian||2013-2017||Electrochemistry of chimneys; phosphorus chemistry||UC San Diego - Nanoengineering||Shire Pharmaceuticals|
|Arden Hammer||2016 summer||Hydrothermal organics and minerals||Oberlin College - Chemistry||Undergraduate student at Oberlin|
|Timothy Lin||2015, 2013 summers||Carbon fixation||UC Riverside - Biology||Medical student at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center|
|Arlette Valencia||2015 summer||Metastable minerals, green rust||Citrus College||Undergraduate student at Oregon Institute of Technology, Electrical and Optical Engineering|
|Jessica Nunez||2014 summer||
BMSIS Young Researcher
|Citrus College||Graduate of UC Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering|
|Nery Rafael||2012 fall -2013||Hydrothermal vent simulations||CSU Long Beach - Biochemistry||Quality Control Chemist, Grifols Biologicals Inc.|
|John Zeytounian||2012||Electrochemistry of iron sulfides||University of Southern California, Molecular and Computational Biology|
|Ivria Doloboff||2011-2015||Chemical gardens, phosphorus chemistry||CSU Long Beach / Santa Monica College||NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Research Technician|