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NASA Astrobiology Institute: August 2007


NAI Announces MIRS Awardee

The NAI Minority Institution Research Support Program is pleased to announce the selection of LeeAnne Martinez, an Associate Professor of Biology at Colorado State University - Pueblo, a Hispanic Serving Institution. Dr. Martinez plans to begin a genomic analysis of open water diatoms in the laboratory of Jim Lake, of the NAI UCLA team, to explore horizontal transfer of operational genes that may lead to the incorporation of endosymbionts by diatoms. LeeAnne's background includes nitrogen-fixation in diatom mats and this work will support current research at Colorado State-Pueblo. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

Maggie Turnbull, a 2004 NAI Postdoctoral Fellow and now an astrobiologist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, was recently named a "Genius" by CNN for her work cataloging stars most likely to develop planets that could support life and intelligent civilizations. Congratulations Maggie!

http://www.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/wayoflife/07/13/genius.scientists/ [Source: NAI Newsletter]

An international team of researchers including members of NAI's Virtual Planetary Laboratory Team have, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, detected the presence of water vapor on the hot jupiter HD 189733b. Published in Nature, the study's primary author, Giovanna Tinetti, was a 2003 NAI Postdoctoral Fellow. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

The following new papers have been published recently by NAI members. These and other recent NAI funded research are presented on the NAI member portal and collected in the NAI Research Highlights Archive http://nai.arc.nasa.gov/research/. In this archive, you can link to the papers and any press materials that may have been generated about them.