"Darwin 101 (Enhanced): from Earth to Space".
Darwin's great insight was to propose a mechanism that species used to change over time. In this era of genomics and space exploration, these insights can be applied to the age-old question: are we alone?
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Dr. Lynn Rothschild is an evolutionary biologist/ astrobiologist at NASA Ames. She has broad training in biology, with degrees from Yale, Indiana University, and a Ph.D. from Brown University in Molecular and Cell Biology, and a love for protistan evolution. Since arriving at NASA Ames in 1987, her research has focused on how life, particularly microbes, has evolved in the context of the physical environment, both here and potentially elsewhere, and how we might tap into “Nature’s toolbox” to advance the field of synthetic biology. Field sites range from Australia to Africa to the Andes, from the ocean to 100,000 feet on a balloon. In the last few years Rothschild has brought her expertise in extremeophiles and evolutionary biology to the field of synthetic biology, addressing on how synthetic biology can enhance NASA’s missions. Since 2011 she has been the faculty advisor of the Brown-Stanford award-winning iGEM team, which has pioneered the use of synthetic biology to accomplish NASA’s mission, particularly focusing on the human settlement of Mars and astrobiology. Her lab is working on expanding the use of synthetic biology for NASA with projects as diverse as recreating the first proteins de novo to biomining to using synthetic biology to precipitate calcite and produce glues in order to make bricks on Mars or the Moon. Rothschild is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, the California Academy of Sciences and the Explorers Club.