Martin Dominik is a Reader in Physics & Astronomy at the University of St Andrews, and has completed his doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) at the University of Dortmund (Germany) in 1996. He was drawn from theoretical physics into astronomy by the emerging field of 'gravitational lensing', i.e. the gravitational bending of light. Since 1993, Martin's research has focused on applications of the gravitational microlensing effect and in particular its potential for studying planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. Martin is a strong advocate of communication being an essential part of science, and science being an integral part of society and culture. He organised a Royal Society 350th anniversary Scientific Discussion Meeting on "The detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society". Martin has served on the Executive Committee of the Global Young Academy, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Vietnam Young Academy and the SETI Permanent Committee of the International Academy of Astronautics. He is engaged in shaping research environments that make creative minds flourish, and is moreover involved in building capacity in fundamental sciences and improving education in the Middle East.
Dr Elias Chatzitheodoridis is Professor of Mineralogy-Petrology at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), and Director of the Laboratory of Mineralogy-Petrology-Economic Geology. He studied Geology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and acquired his MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Manchester, UK. He worked at the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) in Heraklion, Crete, at the Technical University of Vienna (TUWien), and at the high-tech private company Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG (AT&S AG) at Leoben-Hinterberg, Austria. His research interests are in astrochemistry, astrobiology, and planetary sciences. He has also a strong applied research background on photonic technologies, micro- and nanotechnologies, lithography, microsystems (MEMS), and on the development of analytical instruments. He is CEO of the Network of Researchers on the Chemical Evolution of Life (NoRCEL), and Council Member of the European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA). He has published more than a hundred peer reviewed scientific and technological papers, and he organised conferences in astrobiology and planetary sciences. He participated in a microgravity experiment through an ESA mission to the International Space Station (ISS) sending microorganisms to space. He is currently co-directing a working group of ESA’s ARIEL mission that will investigate exoplanet atmospheres. He is in the editorial board of the Astrobiology journal, he has reviewed articles in several journals, and he also reviewer and evaluator of many technological and space projects of the European Commission and of various National organisations.
Oleg KotsyurbenkoVice President
Oleg Kotsyurbenko is a Professor at Yugra State University, Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. He has graduated from Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia with a degree in biotechnology. He defended his PhD thesis at the Institute of Microbiology Russian Academy of Sciences and his Doctor degree in Biology at Lomonosov Moscow State University. His is an expert in field of Microbial Ecology, Microbial Diversity, Anaerobic Microbial Community, Methanogens. His research focuses on different aspects of extremophiles and their habitats as analogs to extraterrestrial ecosystems. He is currently undertaking microbiology and astrobiology studies in the framework of the space program Venera-D focused on the habitability of Venusian clouds.
Sohan JheetaFounder, Chairman and Editor in Chief.
It is mind bogglingly inconceivable that, in this vast and hugely complex Universe, life should arise only once. With a Universe full of clouds of dust and gas molecules; with its innumerable solar systems; and with an untold number of potentially Earth-like habitable planets – it is hard to believe that they should all be barren and not fit for life. My research could be considered to be frontier science, as currently we have very little knowledge of ‘how life began?’ or whether ‘there is life elsewhere in the Universe?’ These two questions are inextricably interlinked in that, as life exists on Earth, it is quite feasible that it should also flourish on extra-terrestrial worlds. To answer these questions, mechanisms have to be found whereby ‘non-living chemicals’ could be transformed into 3-dimensional ‘first’ living organisms. This process is often termed ‘chemical evolution.’ I am fortunate to be investigating the mysteries of life, the Universe and everything that’s in it…
Miryam Palacios-PérezHead, NoRCEL Latin America Hub
Miryam Palacios-Pérez is a young investigator and an active member of the Theoretical Biology Group at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She completed her BSc and PhD studies at the same University. Her research, as a first author or in collaborations, has been focussed on the early evolution of life by using bioinformatic and theoretical approaches, tracing the evolution of biomolecules following its ancient codes. Miryam became the first Mexican member of the Member of the International Committee at NoRCEL. Additionally, she has collaborated in other type of works such as structural analyses of SARS-Cov2 virus.
Kathy acts as administrator for NoRCEL: contacting prospective members and conference attendees; sourcing and costing; collating and updating membership details; recording attendance statistics and monitoring the members’ information database. In the past, she has previously worked in the textile industry as both an independent design consultant and director of an international textile import business, as well being a visiting lecturer in various universities and colleges.
Currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA in the field of Geography, Remote Sensing, Ahya also achieved a masters in remote sensing from the University of Tabriz in Iran and, previous to that, studied plant protection for her bachelor degree. She believes that when a single domino moves, everything follows and that’s why Ahya likes to stay creative and aims at being first part of the domino, i.e., leadership. During her studies, she looked for something new, challenging and rewarding to take her beyond her comfort zone. Finally, after a lot of research and attending a vast number of national and international workshops, she realised that she wanted to work on plant growth in very difficult conditions on Earth, therefore Remote Sensing became part of her puzzle. She has worked on processing Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and optical images for agricultural purposes, like plant height, biomass and water content in order to study their conditions under any circumstances e.g., harsh conditions. In this area, trying to use deep learning methods to classify images, which are acquired via satellite in order to have easy interpretation of plants under study -using Python in Jupyter notebook. To further expand her skill set, for her PhD she will be concentrating on Phenology with the help of satellite images and Machine Learning techniques. After joining NoRCEL in 2013 and then becoming an international committee member, she has gained a lot of networking experience and has also recognised that to build a successful network, one needs to connect with people, which requires building and maintaining social connections and creating one's own domino effect.
Sávio Torres de FariasMember
A holder of Ph.D. in Genetics from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (2006), Sávio Torres de Farias is currently Associate Professor III at the Federal University of Paraíba, member of the Ibero-American Academy of Evolutionary Biology, and a member of the International Committee of the Network of Researchers on the Chemical Evolution of Life (NoRCEL) - United Kingdom, as well as being visiting professor at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. He has been developing work on the origin of the biological system, with an emphasis on the biological organization of the Last Common Universal Ancestor.