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 interns each year, some of whom continue for several years e.g. working on a thesis project. More info here.
Below are the OHL lab members currently working on projects that I supervise.
Nancy is a Geosciences graduate 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.
Cathy is a Master's student in Civil Engineering at Cal State LA. She has her B.S. in Environmental Biology from Cal Poly Pomona and her work focuses on assessing the fate and transport of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in hydrothermal vent systems.
Julia is a Master's student in Environmental Engineering at Cal State LA. 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.
Bonnie is a JPL Postdoctoral Researcher working on the InVADER vent exploration project. Her research focuses on organic geochemistry in hydrothermal systems with applications to ocean worlds, Mars, and life detection.
Katherine is a JPL Postdoctoral Researcher working on astrobiology on ocean worlds, including prebiotic chemistry and phosphorus chemistry under Enceladus conditions.
Tess is a Ph.D. student in planetary sciences at Caltech. She is working on simulating proto-metabolic reactions driven by chemical garden precipitates under ocean world (Enceladus) conditions.
Jessica Weber earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from MIT and a B.S. in Chemistry from U of Chicago, and was a JPL Postdoctoral Researcher. Jessica is a JPL Research Scientist involved in various astrobiology research projects, including exploring how protein cofactors behave under early Earth conditions.
Matt is a biochemistry undergraduate student at Citrus College. He is studying prebiotic chemistry in Mars relevant mineral systems, and is a student collaborator with the Mars Science Laboratory team.
|Name||Year||Project||Academic Programs||Current position|
|Dennise Valadez||2019 - 2023||Fe/S redox and prebiotic chemistry on Ceres||M.S. Physics, CSU-LA||Ph.D. student, Purdue University|
|Rachel Sheppard||2020 - 2022||Nitrate chemistry on Mars||JPL Postdoctoral Researcher||Research Scientist, Planetary Science Institute|
|Billal Zayat||2022||Electrochemical CO2 reduction on Enceladus||Ph.D. Chemistry, USC||Electrochemical industry|
|Laura Rodriguez||2019 - 2022||Hydrothermal vent geochemistry||JPL Postdoctoral Researcher||Research Scientist, Lunar and Planetary Institute|
|Eduardo Martinez||2018 - 2022||Nitrate redox chemistry||M.S. Civil Engineering, CSU-LA||California Sea Grant Fellow|
|Erika Flores||2015 - 2022||Organic / phosphorus chemistry on early Earth||M.S. Environmental Engineering, CSU-LA||Environmental Science Lecturer, CSU-LA|
|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||Ph.D. student, Harvard|
|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|