Astrobiology (general)

Australian Centre for Astrobiology

By Keith Cowing
June 25, 2008

The Australian Centre for Astrobiology has, after a period of transition, moved its headquarters from Macquarie University to the University of New South Wales (UNSW), also in Sydney. Its new web address is Its Director remains Prof Prof. Malcolm Walter ( The new Deputy Director is Prof. Brett Neilan ( whose research interests include the molecular biology and functional microbiology of stromatolite systems, and the toxins of cyanobacteria.

Our research areas will continue to focus on microbiology, palaeobiology, organic geochemistry, planetary science, astronomy and science communication. As yet we are not running an undergraduate astrobiology course such as that we ran in the past, but expect to do so soon. We are actively seeking advanced students and post-doctoral researchers in the fields listed above and scholarship opportunities are available. In certain circumstances we can accept interns. Current active research includes the geological evidence for early life on Earth, the microbiology of analogous modern systems (particularly those including archaea and extremophiles), biomarker geochemistry of modern and ancient environments, infrared sensing of Venus and Mars using ground-based telescopes, the search for extrasolar planets, and science communication and education within the framework of astrobiology. Collaborative research opportunities are actively sought.

Our formal link to the NASA Astrobiology Institute offers students many opportunities to work in the US, and our links to the European Space Agency and other astrobiology groups, particularly that in Spain, are also strong and lead to stimulating opportunities.

Any astrobiologists in, near or passing through Sydney should contact us and offer a seminar, or just visit to discuss more of mutual interest. All will be welcome. Seminars and visitors will be advertised on our website.

For information please first consult our website and then the Director, Malcolm Walter.

Malcolm Walter [Source: NAI Newsletter]

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.