Research Areas: Planetary Sciences (geochemistry, biology, geology). Microbial ecology in extreme environments.
My latest research interests include the study of habitability and life in the extremely dry Atacama Desert and Antarctic Dry Valleys. Results are expanding our understanding of the limits of life and microbial activity on Earth, and help us improve models of planetary habitability, particularly the possibility of life on Mars.
I am currently a Principal Investigator at the Carl Sagan Center for the Search of Life in the Universe. Previously I did a 3 year postdoctorate in the Planetary and Space Science Division at the NASA Ames Research Center. I received my PhD in Geophysics by the University of Munich in 2005 in the study of biogenic magnetite in bacteria and higher organisms. I am a graduate on Marine Sciences by the University of Vigo (Spain).