Education and Outreach

2012 Early Career Research Focus Group

By Keith Cowing
October 10, 2012

For the past four years, early career scientists have organized a Research Focus Group (RFG), preceding the Astrobiology Graduate Student conference (AbGradCon) in which participants are grouped into interdisciplinary groups to develop original research projects, draft a written proposal, peer-review the proposals of other groups and then vote on the best proposals.

For 2012 the RFG was held at USC’s Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island, CA in late August. The group selected the following proposals:

1st choice: Characterization of Residual Biosignatures in Arctic Glacial Environments: A Remote Sensing Study for Biosignature Detection on Mars and Icy Worlds
Group 8: Julia DeMarines, Ian Foster, Chester Harman, Shana Kendall, Afshin Khan

2nd choice: The Autocatalytic Generation of Amino Acid Homochirality under Planetary Atmospheres
Group 3: Michael Chaffin, Amanda Evans, Rebecca McCauley, Marika Tarasashvili

3rd choice: Microbial and geochemical characterization of soils interfacing with physicochemical extremes from the hyper-arid core of the Atacama Desert – a potential key to understanding the evolution and functionality of life in a Mars-analog environment
Group 7: Anthony Friedline, Graham Lau, Shannon Soucy, Madhan Tirumalai

Congratulations to the winning proposal teams!!

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻