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NASA scientist speaks at annual lecture – 7 September

Professor Lynn Rothschild

Press release issued: 12 August 2016

Professor Lynn Rothschild, a senior scientist from NASA, will be the guest speaker at this year's Colston Research Society annual lecture.

The free event (which is open to members of the public), entitled 'Lynn Rothschild on beyond Star Trek: Synthetic biology and NASA's missions' will take place in the Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building at the University of Bristol on Wednesday 7 September at 6.30pm.

Professor Rothschild is passionate about the evolution of life on Earth or elsewhere, while at the same time pioneering the use of synthetic biology to enable space exploration. 

Just as travel abroad permits new insights into home, so too the search for life elsewhere allows a more mature scientific, philosophical and ethical perception of life on Earth.

She wears these hats as a senior scientist NASA's Ames Research Center as well as an Adjunct Professor at Brown University, and the University of California Santa Cruz. 

Her research has focused on how life, particularly microbes, has evolved in the context of the physical environment, both here and potentially elsewhere.

She founded and ran the first three Astrobiology Science Conferences (AbSciCon), was the founding co-editor of the International Journal of Astrobiology, and is the former director of the Astrobiology Strategic Analysis and Support Office for NASA. 

Astrobiology research includes examining a protein-based scenario for the origin of life, hunting for the most radiation resistant organisms, and determining signatures for life on extrasolar planets.

More recently Professor Rothschild has brought her creativity to the burgeoning field of synthetic biology, articulating a vision for the future of synthetic biology as an enabling technology for NASA's missions, including human space exploration and astrobiology.

Since 2011 she has been the faculty advisor of the award-winning Stanford-Brown iGEM team, which has pioneered the use of synthetic biology to accomplish NASA's mission, particularly focusing on the human settlement of Mars, astrobiology and such innovative technologies as BioWires and making a biodegradable UAV (drone).

Her lab will be begin to move these plans into space in the form of the PowerCell synthetic biology secondary payload on a DLR satellite, EuCROPIS, scheduled to launch in July 2017.

She is a fellow of the Linnean Society of London, The California Academy of Sciences and the Explorer's Club. In 2015 she was awarded the Isaac Asimov Award from the American Humanist Association, and was the recipient of the Horace Mann Award from Brown University.

The lecture will conclude the International Colston Research Symposium on Synthetic Biology which takes place during the day and will feature experts in the field of biomolecules from across the world.

The lecture is free to attend, but booking is required via this online form. If you require additional support at any of these events, such as wheelchair access or sign language interpretation, please contact Public and Ceremonial Events at the earliest opportunity and we will endeavour to meet your requirements.

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