Education and Outreach: September 2009

November 25-27, 2009 in Frascati, Italy - The NASA Mars Program Office has announced that travel funding will be made available for as many as 5 students who are U.S. citizens or legal residents, with Mars-related interests, to attend the Workshop on Methane on Mars: Current Observations, Interpretation and Future Plans, November 25-27, 2009 in Frascati, Italy. An application must be submitted by September 28, 2009, to be considered for this funding. NASA Headquarters will make the selections and students will be notified no later than October 15, 2009. Reimbursable costs include registration fees, transportation (airfare, mileage to/from airport, parking, rental car) and lodging/per diem. In most cases, actual expenses will exceed the funding provided.

A postdoctoral position in microbial ecology with secondary emphases in evolutionary ecology, information theory and/or modeling is available at the Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole. This NSF-funded project seeks to determine the principles governing how energy and matter flow through biological systems using laboratory microcosms as experiment systems. In addition, the project will advance a mathematical framework for modeling biogeochemistry orchestrated by microbial communities using a distributed metabolic network representation constrained by thermodynamics. We are seeking an individual with expertise in molecular microbial ecology with an interest in theoretical ecology or systems biology. Approximately 10% of the successful applicant's time will be devoted to program outreach that involves development of educational web resources as well as dissemination of project results. Funding support is available for 2.5 years.

The NAI has selected three new postdoctoral fellows, Siobhan Wilson, Sanchaya Gupta, and Nancy Akerman as they join NAI teams through the NASA Postdoctoral Program. Nancy Akerman will work with Julie Huber at the Marine Biological Laboratory (Carnegie Insitution of Washington Team), to examine "Habitability in Extreme Environments: Microbial Function and Activity in Deep and Shallow Marine Hydrothermal Systems". Sanchaya (Neal) Gupta will work with both the MIT and CIW teams on the research topic, "Polymeric Biosignatures in Organismic Fossils and Environmental Controls on their Preservation", working with Roger Summons and George Cody. Siobhan (Sasha) Wilson will be working with David Bish at Indiana University, on a project entitled, "Hydrated Sulfate Minerals: a Habitat for Martian Microorganisms?" The next application deadline for the NASA Postdoctoral Program is November 1, 2009. See for more information. Source: NAI Newsletter