Astrobiology is the study of life's origins and the potential for life in the Universe.

NASA Astrobiology Early Career Collaboration Award

The Astrobiology Early Career Collaboration Award offers research-related travel support for undergraduate, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior scientists. Applicants are encouraged to use these resources to circulate among two or more laboratories supported by the NASA Astrobiology Program (Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology, Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research, MatiSSE, PICASSO and the Habitable Worlds Programs), however any travel that is critical for the applicant’s research will be considered.

Travelers must be formally affiliated with a U.S. institution. Requests are limited to $5,000.

Next Deadline: January 2, 2021

Click here to download the ECCA application form for 2021.



2020 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Leticia De Marchi, Auburn University
Leticia will collaborate with Dr. Jens Ormo (Centro de Astrobiologia), for “Numerical and experimental investigations of Wetumpka impact crater”.

Bradley Garczynski, Purdue University
Bradley will conduct analyses of minerals with Drs. Linda Kah (U Tennessee) and Ken Williford, JPL ), to explore “Developing strategies for searching for potential biosignatures in Jezero crater with Mars 2020”.

Kennda Lynch, Lunar and Planetary Institute
Kennda will travel to analyze samples with Dr. Amy Williams (U of Florida) then travel to visit Dr. Sarah Stewart (Georgetown U) to develop a new tool in support of “Working Towards Life Detection Capability in Subsurface Transitional Habitable Zones on Mars”

Kaitlyn McGrath Lee, University of Arizona
Bridget traveled to Yale University, to collaborate with Dr. Noah Planavsky, to study “Banded Iron formations (BIFs): Key to the Rise of Atmospheric Oxygen”.

Kalen Rasmussen, Colorado School of Mines
Kalen will collaborate with Dr. Frank Corsetti at theUniversty of Southern California, to investigate “A thallium isotope record of ocean oxygenation during the Lomagundi Event”.

Merve Yesilbas, SETI Institute
Merve will traveled to tSaint Louis, MO, to collaborate with Dr. Pablo Sobron, “Following the water on Mars: A molecular study for understanding near surface brines on Mars and Icy Worlds ”.



2019 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Andréa Hughes, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL
Andréa will collaborate with Michael Chaffin (Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder, for her project, “Phenomenology of Proton Aurorae at Mars as Observed by MAVEN/IUVS”.

Philip Myint, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Philip will collaborate with Drs. J. Michael Brown and Baptiste Journaux (University of Washington, in support of his project “Developing a multiphase water equation of state for astrobiology: focus on ice VII”.

Anna Simpson, Georgia Institute of Technology
Anna will test new field equipment and sampling techniques in collaboration with Drs. Sean Scully and Oddur Vilhelmsson at University of Akuryeri in Iceland, as part of “Inside and underneath: A preliminary study of current Mars rover sampling techniques”.

Richard Stockey, Stanford University
Richard will collaborate with Drs. Andy Ridgwell (University of California, Riverside) and Noah Planavsky (Yale University), in support of “Testing the role of oxygen and temperature change in establishing persistently habitable environments for complex metazoan ecosystems”.

Trent Thomas, University of California, Los Angeles
Trent will travel to Switzerland to collaborate with Dr. Kevin Heng and others, for his project to examine “Exoplanet Climate Modeling using the Exoclimes Solution Platform”.

Havishk Tripathi, Rutgers University
Havishk Tripathi traveled to Tokyo, Japan to the Earth Life Science Institute, to collaborate with J. Henderson Cleaves, Mattheiu Lanneuiville, and Sebastian Danielache, to apply machine learning and neural networks to predict atmospheric chemistry and to develop a planet-scale model of non-biological nitrogen cycling, for the detection of planet scale biosignatures on exoplanets.



2018 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Joy Buongiorno, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Joy will collaborate with Dr. Donato Giovanelli (University of Naples Federico II), in support of her project on “The coevolution of microbial communities and their geologic environments”.

Luoth Chou, University of Illinois, Chicago
Luoth will collaborate with Dr. Josef Werne (University of Pittsburg), in support of “Characterizing the intact polar lipids of an Antarctic cryoencapsulated hypersaline brine: implication for the habitability of icy planetary worlds”.

Andrew Gangidine, University of Cincinnati
Andrew will conduct field research with Prof. Martin Van Kranendonk (University of New South Wales, director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology), to explore “A Step Back in Time – Ancient Hot Springs and the Search for Life on Mars”.

Amanda Garcia, University of California, Los Angeles
Amanda will travel to the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, to learn “Molecular evolution tools for the reconstruction of ancestral nitrogenases”.

Zachary Garvin, Princeton University
Zachary will conduct field research in Chile with researchers at the Center for Genomics, Ecology & Environment (GEMA) at Universidad Mayor in Santiago, Chile and follow this with trace gas and molecular analysis in the lab of Dr. Eric Boyd at Montana State University, to examine “Biodiversity, biogeography and microbial carbon cycling of hot spring communities in the high Andean plateau with implications for early Mars”.

Bridget Lee, University of California, Riverside
Bridget will travel to Yale University, to collaborate with Dr. Noah Planavsky, to study “Banded Iron formations (BIFs): Key to the Rise of Atmospheric Oxygen”.

Bridget Lee, University of California, Riverside
Bridget will conduct another visit to Yale University, to collaborate with Dr. Noah Planavsky, to answer the question “ Was the Paleoproterozic Surface Ocean Oxic?”.

Zijian Li, Georgia Institute of Technology
Zijian will collaborate with Dr. Jeremy Owens at Florida State Universty, to investigate “A thallium isotope record of ocean oxygenation during the Lomagundi Event”.

Devan Nisson, Princeton University
Devan will travel to South Africa for field studies, followed by trips to the Pennsylvania State University for collaboration with Dr. Kate Freeman and to the University of Toronto to work with Dr. Barbara Sherwood-Lollar, for her project to examine “Biotic and Abiotic Organic Signatures Present in a 3.4 km Deep Brine with Implications for Subsurface Life on Mars”.

Jesse Phillips, University of Tulsa
Jesse will travel to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to collaborate with Dr. Laurie Barge, on “A Novel Method for Analyzing Nano-Scale Surface Redox Chemistry of Prebiotic Mineral Catalysts”.

Kenneth Seaton, Georgia Institute of Technology
Kenneth will travel to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to collaborate with Dr. Isik Kanik on “Hypervelocity Capture and Analysis of Simulated Enceladus Plume Materials”.

Alexander Sousa, University of Rhode Island
Alexander will travel to Japan and Boulder, Colorado, for “Participation in D/V Chikyu Core Logging Activity: Investigating Mineralogical Context and Organic Material in Serpentinizing Systems”.



2017 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Saehyun Choi, Pennsylvania State University
Saehyun will collaborate with Laurie Barge (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), “Combining organic-rich coacervates with hydrothermal vent systems as a model for prebiotic compartmentalization”.

Andréa Hughes, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL
Andréa will collaborate with Michael Chaffin (Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder), “Assessing the Evolution and Variability of Hydrogen in the Martian Atmosphere.”

Ashley Manning-Berg, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Ashley will travel to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to collaborate with Kenneth Williford and Michael Tuite, for her project, “Preservation of Proterozoic Microbial Mats”.

Jana Meixnerova, University of Washington, Seattle
Jana will travel to the SesameLab, Department of Geological Sciences, Indiana University Bloomington to collaborate with Drs. Laura Wasylenki and Shui-Jiong Wang, “Investigating the role of methanogens in the Great Oxidation Event using Ni isotopes.”

Alexandra Pontrefact, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alexandra will collaborate with Kenneth Williford and Rohit Bhartia at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for an “Investigation of microbial colonization in shocked basaltic targets”.

Caleb Schuler, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Caleb will collaborate with Dale Winebrenner and Tim Elam, at the University of Washington, Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). in support of his project “Planetary Protection and the Exploration of the Cryosphere”.

William Shoemaker, Indiana University
William will visit Victoria Orphan at the California Institute of Technology to study “Microbial dormancy and adaptation to energy-limitation”.

Michael Strange, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Michael will collaborate with James Schiffbauer at the University of Missouri to examine “Organo-mineral structures within Ediacaran tubicolous fossils: evidence of modern or ancient Fe oxidizing bacterial communities?”.

Ziming Yang, Oakland University
Ziming will collaborate with George Cody at the Carnegie Institution of Washington to examine amino acid synthesis and transformation in hydrothermal systems.



2016 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Steffen Bueseccher, Arizona State University
Daniel will collaborate with Hiroshi Imanaka (NASA Ames Research Center), “Deciphering the role of abiotic N2O formation on atmospheric N2O in the Archaean and implications on the faint young Sun paradox.”

Ben Galeota-Sprung, University of Pennsylvania
Ben will travel to University of Pittsburgh to collaborate with Vaughn Cooper to examine how the mutation rate evolves over time.

Daniel Gregory, University of California, Riverside
Daniel will visit Steve Romaniello and Aleisha Johnson at Arizona State University to examine the rates and mechanisms of pyrite oxidation.

Sally Potter-McIntyre, Southern Illinois University
Sally will travel to Utah for fieldwork and to the University of Colorado, Boulder to work with Tom McCollom to analyze the origin and history of jarosite.

Mary Sabuda, Michigan State University
Mary will collaborate with the Hoehler lab at NASA Ames and travel to the CROMO field site in support of “Investigations of Methane, Sulfur, and Iron in the Serpentinite Subsurface using Depth-Resolved Biogeochemical Analyses, Stable Isotope Geochemistry, and Microcosm Approaches.”

Zhirui Zeng, Stanford University
Zhirui will collaborate with the Summons lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to examine Archaeal Lipid Biomarker GDGTs Biosynthesis.

Paul Brandon Carroll, California Institute of Technology
“Propylene Oxide: The First Interstellar Chiral Molecule”
Brandon will collaborate with Dr. Brett McGuire, Jansky Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, to explore the origin of the homochirality of life, through examination of the origins of the first interstellar chiral molecule, propylene oxide, by mapping its distribution using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), Marsfield, New South Wales, Australia.

Jessie Griffith and Karina Kunka, Kenyon College
“Halobacterium NRC-1 Experimental Evolution under Acid and Iron Stress”
Jessie and Karina will collaborate with Dr. Shiladitya DasSarma, of the University Maryland School of Medicine, on a long-term experimental evolution of Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 to understand the impact of Mars conditions on mutations that may favor survival under stress.
“Acid Experimental Evolution of the Haloarchaeon Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 Selects Mutations Affecting Arginine Transport and Catabolism” Frontiers in Microbiology, DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.00535



2015 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Daniel Angerhausen, Goddard Space Flight Center
Collaborate with Antonio García Muñoz (ESA Scientific Support Office) and the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) team, and with Andrea Chiavassa (CNRS) and members of the Thermodynamics, Disequilibrium and Evolution (TDE) Focus Group.

Zach Grochau-Wright, University of Arizona
Travel to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to work with Dr. Stephen Miller on his project, Evolution of the Genetic Basis for Cellular Differentiation in the Volvocine Green Algae.

Peter Ilhardt, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Visit James Moran, at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, to examine microstructures in a Neoarchaean stromatolite using Laser Ablation Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (LA-IRMS).

Joshua Krissansen‐Totton, University of Washington
Travel to Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to meet with Avi Mandell and Shawn Domagal-Goldman, members of the Virtual Planetary Laboratory team and Harley Thronson’s study team, for mission planning for the next generation of space telescopes to search for life on exoplanets.
Is the Pale Blue Dot Unique? Optimized Photometric Bands for Identifying Earth-Like Exoplanets”, published in the Astrophysics Journal.

Kira Lorber, University of Cincinnati
Collaborate with diversity and evolution of early fossil microorganisms as she travels to work with Kenneth Williford at JPL and John Valley at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Jeff Osterhout, University of Cincinnati
Travel to work with Kenneth Williford at JPL and John Valley at the University of Wisconsin, Madison to perform in situ carbon isotope analyses of microfossils.
Stable Isotope Geochemistry of a Late Archean Microbial Ecosystem: Diversity in the Pre-GOE Oceans, presented at GSA 2017.

Ben Placek, Schenectady County Community College
Work with an international team of collaborators through the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) on the application of Bayesian methods to the analysis of the Kepler light curves of transiting exoplanets.

Natasha Batalha, Goddard Space Flight Center and Pennsylvania State University
Collaborate with Nikku Madhusdan (University of Cambridge) and identify, optimize and apply atmospheric retrieval tools to analyze JWST transit simulations and observing modes.

Rafael Loureiro, Ave Maria University
Visit Drs. Lynn Rothschild and Ivan Paulino-Lima, at NASA Ames Research Center, to generate a prediction model capable of identifying potentially habitable zones in exoplanets.

Lynnae Quick, Goddard Space Flight Center and Planetary Science Institute
Visit Drs. Mary Schweitzer and Reza Ghiladi, at North Carolina State University, to investigate Porphyrins and Tetrapyrroles as Biomarkers for Extraterrestrial Life.

Lauren Seyler, Michigan State University
Travel to the University of Southern California (Jan Amend) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Michael Russell) on her project, Microbial Community Structuring and Metabolite Efflux in Prebiotic Hydrothermal Bioreactors

Svetlana Shkolyar, Arizona State University
Travel to the lab of Dr. Michael Daly, York University, Toronto, Canada, in support of her project Raman Spectroscopy for Fossil Biosignature and Mineral Identification on Mars: Challenges and Pathways Forward for Mars Sample Return Missions.

“Detecting Kerogen as a Biosignature Using Colocated UV Time-Gated Raman and Fluorescence Spectroscopy” published in Astrobiology.



2014 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Metthieu Galvez, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Working with Craig Manning at UCLA on “The solubility of rocks in metamorphic fluids: A model for rock-dominated conditions to upper mantle pressure and temperature,” published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Pedro Montalvo Jimenez, University of Puerto Rico
Working with John Valley at the University of Wisconsin on Identification of Detrital Shocked Minerals.

Johanna Teske, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Travel to the Mauna Kea Observatory to work with Steve Howell (NASAARC), to the Lowell Observatory to work with Evgenya Shkolnik and to the University of California, Santa Cruz to work with Jonathan Fortney, in support of her project, Modeling exoplanet atmospheres/stellar composition.

Xiangli Wang, Yale University
Working with Mukul Sharma at Dartmouth College, examining Time constraints on the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis.

Dylan Wilmeth, University of Southern California
Travel to University of Johannesburg, to work with Nicolas Beukes Investigating local oxygenation of a Neoarchean lake environment, South Africa.
“Neoarchean (2.7 Ga) lacustrine stromatolite deposits in the Hartbeesfontein Basin, Ventersdorp Supergroup, South Africa: Implications for oxygen oases,” published in Precambrian Research

Giada Arney, University of Washington
Working with Shawn Domagal-Goldman at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Observer Simulations for Future Exoplanet-Related Missions.
“Pale Orange Dot: The Spectrum and Habitability of Hazy Archaen Earth”, published in Astrobiology
“Is the Pale Blue Dot Unique? Optimized Photometric Bands for Identifying Earth-Like Exoplanets”, published in the Astrophysics Journal.

Paul Brandon Carroll, California Institute of Technology
Working with Brett McGuire of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, at the Parkes Radio Telescope, on the “Origin of the Homochirality Of Life,” published in Science.

Jemma Davidson, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Travel to visit Dr. A. L. David Kilcoyne, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Advanced Light Source Synchrotron, in support of her project, Spectral Analyses of Extraterrestrial Organic Matter.

Michael Line, University of California, Santa Cruz
Working with Victoria Meadows at the University of Washington, to determine the detection significances of molecules in hot-Jupiter atmospheres, and to set up an atmospheric retrieval pipeline, and with Mark Swain, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to refine the mission specifications and goals of the FINESSE mission.

Eric Parker, Georgia Institute of Technology
Travel to work with Jason Dworkin at the Goddard Space Flight Center, “Investigating Geochemical Condition of the early Earth”

Mary Beth Wilhelm, Georgia Institute of Technology
Travel to work with Jennifer Eigenbrode at the Goddard Space Flight Center and Roger Summons at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to study Lipid Biomarker Preservation in the Hyperarid Core of the Atacama Desert.



2013 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Zachary R. Adam, Montana State University
Will travel to the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA to learn new tools to incorporate a newly discovered fossil assemblage from 1.5 billion-year-old rocks in Montana into a framework for the early evolution of eukaryotes on Earth.

Rebecca Mickol, University of Arkansas
Will travel to the University of Florida Space Life Sciences Laboratory at the Kennedy Space Center to conduct experiments with anaerobic methanogens in the Mars Simulation Chamber of Dr.Andrew Schuerger and also collaborate with Dr. Wayne Nicholson.

Harry Oduro, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Will collaborate with James Farquhar, at the University of Maryland, College Park, on distinguishing the origin of sulfur isotope anomalies in Archean and meteoritic organic sulfonic acids

Sarah Sonnett, University of Hawaii
Will participate in an observing run on the 6.5-meter Magellan Baade telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, to test models that look at volatiles and their distribution in the outer solar system.

Michael Chaffin, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder
Travel to the Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales, to work with Franck Montmessin, CNRS Senior Scientist “Collaborating with LATMOS in Extending Analysis of Martian Water Escape”
“Elevated atmospheric escape of atomic hydrogen from Mars induced by high-altitude water,” published in Nature Geoscience.

Dalton Hardisty, University of California, Riverside
Travel to the laboratories of Zunli Lu, Syracuse University and David Johnston, Harvard University, Evaluating trace oxygen production prior to the Great Oxidation Event using a novel combination of rare sulfur isotope fractionations and iodine-to-calcium ratios in well-preserved Archean carbonate rocks.
“Perspectives on Proterozoic surface ocean redox from iodine contents
in ancient and recent carbonate,” published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters

Roy Price, Stony Brook University
Travel to New Caledonia for Exploration of a shallow‐sea serpentinite‐hosted Lost City analog.



2012 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Jeremy Owens, University of California, Riverside
Travel to Harvard University to conduct research in the laboratory of David Johnston.

Laura Rodriguez, Rice University
Travel to the Mojave and Atacama Deserts to conduct research with Alfonso Davila.

Sandra Siljeström, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Travel to NASA Ames Research Center and Yellowstone National Park, to collaborate with Linda Jahnke and Niki Parenteau.



2011 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Betül Arslan, Georgia Institute of Technology
Travel to Michigan State to conduct research with Richard Lenski

Amy Kelly, University of California, Riverside
Travel to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to conduct research with Timothy Lyons and Gordon Love.

Rachel Maxwell, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona
Visit to Lutterzand (the Netherlands), Lommel (Belgium), and St. Petersburg (Russia) to collect Late Pleistocene sediments that may record an extraterrestrial (ET) impact.

Daniel Christian, Old Dominion University
To conduct two weeks of fieldwork in the 2.7 Ga old Tumbiana Formation, Western Australia and search for sedimentary microbially induced sedimentary structures (MISS) that have been caused by very early microbial mats.

Wil Leavitt, Harvard University
Travel to Portugal to conduct enzyme kinetic analyses of isolated dissimilatory sulfate reductases.



2010 Selections for the Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

Meredith Perry
Proterozoic Stromatolites and The Search for Life on Mars
“The structure and chemical layering of Proterozoic stromatolites in the Mojave Desert,” published in the International Journal of Astrobiology.

Erin Yargicoglu
2010 Astrobiology Survey of Springs in the North Anatolian Fault Zone: Windows into the deep terrestrial biosphere

Weifu Guo, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Two trips to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California to conduct research in the laboratory of Lance Christensen.

Amy Kelly, University of California, Riverside
Travel to Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona to conduct research with Ariel Anbar.

Anna Roussanova, University of Hawaii
Participation in the Saas-Fee Winter School on Habitability, Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland.