Education and Outreach: June 2009

The NAI is pleased to announce its selections for the 2009 NAI-Minority Institution Research Support (NAI-MIRS) program. The MIRS program provides summer sabbaticals, follow-up support, and travel opportunities for faculty and students from minority serving institutions.

This year the following two faculty members have been selected to lead new research in astrobiology.

Dr. Rakesh Mogul, from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona will work with Kasthuri Venkateswaran, at JPL, on the characterization of Acinetobacter radioresistens 50v1, an extremophile isolated from the Mars Odyssey Spacecraft.

Dr. Aaron Cavosie, from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, will work with John W. Valley, at the Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, on developing methods to identify impact evidence from the early Earth: Isotopic and structural characteristics of detrital shocked zircon from the Vredefort Dome (South Africa).

For more information on the MIRS program, visit

[Source: NAI Newsletter]

The NAI and the American Philosophical Society (APS) jointly sponsor graduate students, postdocs, and junior scientists for field studies through the Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology. For more information see

We are very pleased to present the young investigators selected for 2009:

"Microbial Bingo" was the name of the game in a recent outreach event for more than 50 junior high-aged girls from across Montana. The girls came to Montana State University's astrobiology laboratories this Spring for "That's Hot! Investigating the Edge of Life" as part of the national program called Expanding Your Horizons. The girls learned about MSU's research in Yellowstone National Park, and how astrobiology might give us new insights into the early earth as well as life on other planets. The girls then became scientists themselves, using observational data in a race to fill bingo cards by identifying "mystery" micro-organisms.

Expanding Your Horizons is a national program designed to introduce girls to careers in science, math, technology and engineering. It was started in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1974.

The National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) is soliciting applications for its Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Two-year fellowships are available in any U.S. laboratory carrying out space-related biomedical or biotechnological research that supports the NSBRI's goals. NSBRI research addresses and seeks solutions to the various health concerns associated with long-duration human space exploration.

Applicants must submit proposals with the support of a mentor and institution, and all proposals will be evaluated by a peer-review panel. The program is open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or persons with pre-existing visas obtained through their sponsoring institutions that permit postdoctoral training for the project's duration.

Detailed program and application submission information is available on the NSBRI Web site at . Notices of intent and applications must be submitted through the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES). Notices of intent are due July 7, 2009, and the application deadline is August 4, 2009.

Replies to this announcement email will go unanswered. Questions may be directed to David A. Watson, Ph.D., NSBRI Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, email:, or phone: 713-798-7412.