Network for Life Detection (NfoLD) Newsletter Issue #2: June 2020

Status Report From: Network for Life Detection (NFOLD)
Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Network for Life Detection (NfoLD) is a NASA Astrobiology Program Research Coordination Network dedicated to advancing the science and technology required to pursue a search for evidence of life beyond Earth.  

NfoLD Affiliate News and Events

Gary Trubl recently presented for MicroSeminar on using stable isotope probing metagenomics to label and track active microbes and viruses in soil ecosystems. The talk, which is available online, was entitled “Tracking active viral population dynamics and their impact on microbial biogeochemistry in Arctic peat soil and tropical rainforest soil via stable isotope probing metagenomics”.

Luke Stellar would like to share that his astrobiology research was featured on ABC’s (Australia) Catalyst program! Dr. Anna Wang (a previous NASA postdoc in the Szostak lab) and Luke were filmed conducting vesicle formation experiments, replicating what may have occurred when lipids from meteorites fell onto the Archean Earth’s surface. The full episode can be found here and more is featured in this write-up from UNSW.

Michael Gaylor was awarded an NSF South Dakota EPSCoR grant to fund 25 summer REU students doing origins of life (prebiotic chemistry) research over the next 5 summers! Michael also reports that he and his undergraduate researchers were invited to present at the 5th International Congress on Astrobiology to be held in Barranquilla Colombia in November.

NfoLD Webinars

Our April 2020 speaker was Dr. Heather Grahamof NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. She presented on "Agnostic biosignatures for extant life detection" to an audience of 75 attendees! (Note: this webinar was not recorded)

Looking for Webinar Speakers 

We're currently planning on holding NfoLD webinars every other month.

Being a speaker gives you and your science broad exposure. We're looking for speakers for the months of June, October, and December. 

NfoLD Affiliate Publications

Vera Kolb was the editor and an author for the Handbook of Astrobiology, released in 2019 from the CRC Press. You can read more about it in an author Q&A with Vera

Gary Trubl was the lead author on a major review of environmental viruses with an emphasis on soil environments that was recently published. The review, Coming-of-Age Characterization of Soil Viruses: A User’s Guide to Virus Isolation, Detection within Metagenomes, and Viromics, was also developed as a guide for other scientists who are interested in characterizing viruses.

Vera Kolb co-authored Comet Pond II: Synergistic Intersection of Concentrated Extraterrestrial Materials and Planetary Environments to Form Procreative Darwinian Ponds with Benton Clark.

Bonnie Teece was the lead author on the articles Biomolecules from fossilized hot-spring sinters: implications for the search for life on Mars as well as Mars Rover Techniques and Lower-Middle Cambrian Microbialites from South Australia: Construction, Biofacies and Biogeochemistry, both published in Astrobiology.

Felipe Gomez was the lead author on the article Ultra-small microorganisms in the polyextreme conditions of the Dallol volcano, Northern Afar, Ethiopia.

Danny Glavin led the study Extraterrestrial amino acids and L‐enantiomeric excesses in the CM 2 carbonaceous chondrites Aguas Zarcas and Murchison, published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science. 
Join the NfoLD Slack Workspace!

Want to have even more awesome opportunities to collaborate, discuss, chat, share, and maybe even post some good old wholesome humor with your fellow NfoLD affiliates? Join the NfoLD Slack Workspace !

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