May 14, 2021
Congratulations Juliana DiGiacomo – recipient of Henry Rutgers Scholar Award
Juliana’s thesis title: “The Environment as a Driving Force in the Coevolution of Ferredoxin Termini”
Juliana’s work has been part of the ENIGMA interdisciplinary program focused on the synthesis and function of nanomachines in the origin of life. Her mentor was ENIGMA team post-doctoral researcher Dr. Saroj Poudel.
The Henry Rutgers Scholar Award recognizes graduating seniors who have completed outstanding independent research projects leading to an interdepartmental thesis or a thesis in their major field of study. Every year, professors are invited to nominate students who have done exceptionally strong work in their discipline that highlights the originality of the research and conclusions along with exhibiting evidence of superior critical reasoning and scholarly achievement.
These awards are offered across all departments of the School of Arts and Sciences, and so represent only the very finest achievements of our students.
April 22, 2021
April 8, 2021
ENIGMA is thrilled that team member Akif Tezcan was awarded a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of chemistry. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding for Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of 184 artists, writers, scholars, and scientists. (See the full list here.)
F. Akif Tezcan, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego: Polymer-Integrated Protein Crystals: A New Class of Functional Materials. Field: Chemistry
January 20, 2021
Post-doc Jihua Hao will be starting a new adventure in science in 2021 with a position at the University of Science and Technology of China.
December 4, 2020
November 19, 2020
Rutgers 4-H STEM Ambassador Team was a recipient of a 27th Excellence Award for the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). Congratulations to Janice McDonnell, Alesha Vega, and Christine Bean who are also leaders of our ENIGMA Education and Outreach team!
Read the complete article here.
November 9, 2020
Post-doc Jennifer Timm presented an ENIGMA Seminar remotely on “Reconstructing a Primordial Hydrogenase”.
October 26, 2020
Diego Ferreiro of the Universidad de Buenos Aires presented an ENIGMA Seminar remotely on “Structural Analysis of Ancient Metalloproteins: Finding Recurrent Repetitive Elements”.
October 21, 2020
FANFARE of Excitement for our NEW ENIGMA TOOLS of SCIENCE VIDEO! Travel with us through Earth’s evolutionary timeline, on a mission to learn about the origin of life. Team up with @RutgersDMCS to figure out how proteins became the catalyst behind the evolution of life on Earth, and how that might set the table for discovering life on other planets. See new video HERE. Many thanks to all involved for the fabulous work!
October 20, 2020
October 19, 2020
Post-doc Jennifer Timm presented a Rutgers Dept. of Marine and Coastal Sciences Seminar remotely on “Towards Reconstruction of a Primordial Hydrogenase”.
October 14, 2020
October 13, 2020
October 12, 2020
Post-doc Jihua Hao presented a Rutgers Dept. of Marine and Coastal Sciences Seminar remotely on “Cycling Phosphorus in Planetary Ocean Waters: Early Earth and Enceladus”.
October 12, 2020
Post-doc Aaron Martinez presented an ENIGMA Seminar remotely on “Multiproxy Records of the End-Devonian Hangenberg Crisis in the Appalachian Basin, USA”.
October 3, 2020
Shaunna Morrison was part of the development team and participated in the 2020 4-H STEM Challenge.
This year’s challenge — Mars Base Camp — marks the 13th annual event to date and explored human space exploration and humanity’s efforts to reach the Red Planet. Test your knowledge of the Red Planet with this Mars Base Camp Trivia Challenge featuring celebrity guest host Bill Nye!
Watch WFXR News story here.
Space.com article here.
October 1, 2020
As part of the National 4-H STEM Challenge, youth and families from across the country participated in an online Mars Base Camp Scientist Panel on October 1, 2020. They met three world-renowned space scientists from Rutgers and the ENIGMA team, learned about their innovative research in astrobiology and had a chance to ask their questions. Watch recording of Dr. Juliane Gross, Dr. Shaunna Morrison, and Dr. Lujendra Ojha.
September 28, 2020
Post-doc Kenneth McGuinness presented an ENIGMA Seminar remotely on “Toward Completing the Earth’s Electron Transport System”.
September 17, 2020
ENIGMA collaborator Kevin Peter Hand of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory presented an ENIGMA Seminar remotely “On the Nature of Europa’s Surface Chemistry and the Possibility of a Radiolytic Redox Cycling”.
September 17, 2020
The 2020 4‑H STEM Challenge is a Race to Land Humans on Mars this year!
The race to land humans on Mars is on! The annual 4-H STEM Challenge in connection with Rutgers looks a little different this year but the enthusiasm remains. The 2020 challenge will explore sending a mission to Mars with the activity, Mars Base Camp.
Rutgers University 4-H is hosting two online components to the STEM challenge this year. The Scientists Panel on Thursday, October 1st is where the public will have a chance to meet with world renowned Space Scientists behind innovative Mars research, NASA collaborators and the scientists who created the Mars Base Camp Challenge. Saturday, October 3rd is when youth, ages 8-14 years, will join an exciting opportunity to explore STEM through an expedition to Mars with the Mars Base Camp Challenge!
Several ENIGMA team members have worked tirelessly to support the program and will be participating in this multi-institution collaboration. Great work!
Read the complete article at SEBS & NJAES Newsroom.
September 1, 2020
NEW! Minor in Astrobiology
Rutgers is pleased to announce a Minor in Astrobiology for undergraduates.
Description: Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary scientific field of study that examines the origins and distribution of life in the universe. The Astrobiology minor is designed to educate students to cover the range of scientific disciplines that contribute to our general understanding of life, the origin of life, the past history of life on Earth, and the possible existence of life on other planets and moons. The principal goal of the minor is to develop student literacy in astrobiology so that they can critically evaluate claims related to this field reported in the news media and popular culture.
For information about the minor, students should contact Dr. Nathan Yee, the Astrobiology faculty advisor, at email@example.com or Dr. Roy Schlische, the EPS undergraduate program director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 27, 2020
Post-doc Laura Haynes will be starting a new position as an Assistant Professor at Vassar College.
August 24, 2020
Kelsey Wolfe, a junior Biochemistry major, gained valuable research experience in the Center for Advanced Biotechnology Medicine (CABM) Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program hosted by Rutgers University.
Wolfe spent nine weeks working on a NASA Astrobiology Institute project, Evolution of Nanomachines in the Geosphere and Microbial Ancestors (ENIGMA). Its goal was to understand the structure and function of the first proteins that started life on Earth some 3.8 billion years ago.
Read the complete article at Fredonia State University website.
August 14, 2020
Post-doc Adrienne Hoarfrost, participated as a member of Frontier Development Lab Astronaut Health team, presenting at the Frontier Development Lab 2020 Space Science & Al Showcase on “Can Casual Inference ML solve the chicken or the egg problems of cancer research?”
Find recording here with talk by Astronaut Health team starting at 47:11.
July 29, 2020
Paul Falkowski presented “Enigma Breakthroughs: Results from the Field” as part of the Rutgers EPS Summer Science Series.
July 7, 2020
Post-doc Josh Mancini is departing the ENIGMA team for new adventures as a biochemist to help engineer plant proteins at Beyond Meat.
July 3, 2020
Post-doc Joy Buongiorno will be starting a new position as Assistant Professor of Environmental Biology in the Fall at Maryville College, nestled against the majestic Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. Joy will be developing the Division of Natural Sciences’ new environmental science major.
June 16-17, 2020
Rutgers 3rd Annual ENIGMA Astrobiology Symposium took place virtually on June 16th and 17th with international participation amongst our team of scientists and invited external speakers. Thank you to our ENIGMA team of co-investigators, collaborators, post-docs, graduate students, staff, undergraduates, and distinguished speakers for a great two-day event. Agenda can be found here.
Our multi-themed integrated science presentations and discussions were recorded and can be found on the ENIGMA YouTube Channel here.
May 14, 2020
Juliane Gross presented “The Moon Rocks” as part of Rutgers Geology Museum “Ask a Geologist” Series.
May 11, 2020
Our ENIGMA Education and Outreach team generated informal STEM learning activities for families while at home during COVID and beyond. The work features ENIGMA, and correlated the high-level Astrobiology research with activities students and families can easily execute at home.
May 4, 2020
Post-doc Jihua Hao presented an ENIGMA Seminar remotely on “Chemical Composition of Enceladus Seawater and its Implications to Habitability”.
April 27, 2020
April 20, 2020
Post-doc Ariel Aptekmann of Rutgers and Joy Buongiorno of Carnegie Institute, ENIGMA team collaborators, presented an ENIGMA Seminar. Ariel spoke remotely on “Prediction of Metal-binding Proteins from Protein Sequences “and Joy spoke on “Data Science Approaches Reveal Environmental Drivers Behind Microbial Oxidoreductase Abundance in Volcanic Ecosystems”.
April 6, 2020
Post-doc Julian Esselborn of UCSD, ENIGMA collaborators, presented an ENIGMA Seminar remotely on “Mimicking Metalloprotein Evolution by Combination Metal Binding Motifs and Continuous Evolution”.
March 28, 2020
Doug Pike is an ENIGMA team researcher at Rutgers who is now working on the antiviral for COVID-19. He tells us about the development and what it means to winning the fight with the coronavirus.
Listen to the podcast at Sound Cloud.
March 24, 2020
“We think we have found the building blocks of life – the Lego set that led, ultimately, to the evolution of cells, animals and plants,” says senior author Paul Falkowski from Rutgers University, US.
Read the complete article on Cosmos.
March 23, 2020
Graduate student Ian Campbell of Rice University, ENIGMA collaborators, presented an ENIGMA Seminar remotely on “Cellular Assay of Half-Fds”.
March 23, 2020
Post-doc Bhanu Jagilinki presented an ENIGMA Seminar remotely on “Understanding the Origins of Bacterial Ferredoxins.”
March 20, 2020
A new virtual series is being launched by the Rutgers Geology Museum to help in the homeschooling efforts of countless parents.
Join bi-weekly (Tuesday/Thursday) for these online sessions, where we hope to engage children and answer their questions! Like all of the RU Geology Museum events, this virtual event is completely FREE!
During each event, our geologist will first introduce the day’s geologic topic and then answer your questions about it! Events are primarily aimed at elementary and middle school aged children, but all ages are welcome to join and learn something new!
Click on this for Event Schedule and more information.
March 18, 2020
The paper all the recent press is about by Hagai Raanan, Saroj Poudel, Douglas H. Pike, Vikas Nanda, and Paul G. Falkowski released in PNAS:
Raanan, H., Poudel, S., Pike, D. H., Nanda, V., & Falkowski, P. G. (2020). Small protein folds at the root of an ancient metabolic network. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1914982117
March 17, 2020
Turning food into energy is essential for life to thrive, so researchers zoomed in on the tiny fragments of proteins that might have done the job billions of years ago.
Read the complete article at Discover Magazine.
March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020
March 9, 2020
Graduate student Ashley Murphy presented an ENIGMA Seminar here at Rutgers on “Preservation of Organic Carbon in Dolomitized Cambrian Stromatolites”.
March 4, 2020
A collaborator Loren Williams, from Georgia Institute of Technology’s Institute for Bioengineering & Biological Sciences , visited with the ENIGMA team for a couple of days. Williams’ talk was given on “Voyage from the Gates of the Hadean” and hosted by Vikas Nanda and CABM.
February 28-29, 2020
Bob Hazen presented the 40th Woodward-Eckis Leadership Lectures on “Chance, Necessity and the Origins of Life “and “The Story of Earth: How Life and Rocks Have Co-Evolved” at Pomona College, Claremont, CA..
February 28, 2020
A collaborator Valentina Erastova, from the University of Edinburgh, visited Rutgers for a couple of weeks. She is an expert in molecular simulations of solids, in particular mineral interactions with amino acids. Erastova’s talk was given on “Modelling Dynamics in Solids: From Origin of Life to Modern Challenges” and hosted by Nathan Yee and Department of Environmental Sciences.
February 24, 2020
Post-doc Joshua Mancini presented an ENIGMA Seminar here at Rutgers on “Reinventing the First Hydrogenases.”
February 19-20, 2020
Bob Hazen participated in NSF Workshop on low-T Geochemical Data in Atlanta, Georgia.
February 10, 2020
Post-doc Jennifer Timm presented an ENIGMA Seminar here at Rutgers on “Investigating the Proteins Involved in CODH Maturation.”
January 27, 2020
January 20, 2020
Field trip to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City.
January 13, 2020
Alesha Vega, ENIGMA Outreach and Community Engagement Coordinator, presented a poster on ENIGMA: After School Short Term Exploratory Clubs (STEP) and Family Science Programs in New Brunswick K-8 Schools, to 200 people at the annual Rutgers Cooperative Extension Conference.
January 9-10, 2020
Bob Hazen participated in meetings and workshops on building comprehensive, reliable, open-access deep-time data resources and resources in Tucson, Arizona as part of Carnegie Institute of Science’s Deep-Time Data Infrastructure (DTDI) program.
January 6, 2020
Juliane Gross is to be the NASA Deputy Curator of Apollo Moon samples and is on leave (18 month IPA) at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX until summer 2021.
December 9, 2019
Post-doc Saroj Poudel presented an ENIGMA Seminar here at Rutgers on “Design to Distribution: The History of Nitrogenase.”
December 5, 2019
Rutgers University postdoctoral associate researcher Kenneth McGuinness said he helps students to think about the diversity of life by taking them outside for lessons.
December 4, 2019
November 25, 2019
November 24, 2019
November 22, 2019
November 21, 2019
Bob Hazen presented on the “Co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere “ at the University of Pittsburgh.
November 18, 2019
Post-doc Jihua Hao presented an ENIGMA Seminar here at Rutgers on “Cycling Phosphorus on the Early Earth and Enceladus.”
November 15th, 2019
Post-doc’s Jihua Hao, Saroj Poudel and graduate student Douglas Pike presented papers for discussion at Rutgers newly formed Astrobiology Journal Club (multidisciplinary discussions of papers pertinent to astrobiology).
November 13-14, 2019
Vik Nanda of Rutgers attended the NAI in-person EC meeting and the NASA Astrobiology Science Forum hosted by the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA.
November 13, 2019
Enigma team post-doc’s and researchers Joshua Mancini, Saroj Poudel, and Douglas Pike were interviewed for the New Jersey News12 story “Rutgers researchers to investigate for NASA how life began”. They discussed their work on the Enigma NASA project – the study of protein or peptides, which are the basic building blocks of life, and how life began on Earth.
Read the article on New Jersey News 12.
Biophysics doctoral candidate Douglas Pike, along with postdocs Josh Mancini and Saroj Poudel.
November 13, 2019
The Rutgers science and education team continued their school 4-H STEP club (Short Term Exploratory Program) focused on ENIGMA. 29 students (4-8th grade) from McKinley Ave Community School in New Brunswick, NJ participated – Every Tuesday and Wednesday from Oct. 15 to Nov. 13th (excluding Nov. 5th).
November 11, 2019
Post-doc Saroj Poudel presented “Nanomachines that powered ancient life “ at Rutgers Theobald Smith Society Fall Meeting of the American Society of Microbiology.
November 7, 2019
From simple proteins to living cells, NASA-funded research at Rutgers tests theories on the origins of life.
November 6, 2019
NASA scientists opened an untouched rock and soil sample from the Moon returned to Earth on Apollo 17, marking the first time in more than 40 years a pristine sample of rock and regolith from the Apollo era has been opened. It sets the stage for scientists to practice techniques to study future samples collected on Artemis missions.
Read the complete article at NASA.
November 4, 2019
Graduate student Ian Campbell of Rice University presented an ENIGMA Seminar on “Evolutionary Relationships Between Low Potential Ferredoxin and Flavodoxin Electron Carriers.”
October 30-31, 2019
Our Carnegie Institute collaborators held a datathon with Sara Walker of Arizona State University, with the objective of advancing NAI themes related to the expression of oxidoreductase enzymes in differing geological/geochemical environments.
October 28, 2019
Any place where there is water on Earth, scientists say they have found life. A Rutgers University professor says in the search to find extraterrestrial life, the focus should be not on planets but rather on moons in our galaxy where there’s evidence of water… Nathan Yee is a NASA-funded researcher at Rutgers and is teaching a new class on astrobiology, the study of alien life, the university said. “In science fiction, there is a lot of effort put into searching for signs of life like plants, animals and organisms that look like us. But there is a higher probability that alien life will be at the microscopic level. That fact is so much more interesting when you consider what the earliest lifeforms on Earth were capable of doing.”
Read the complete article in the Kansas City Star.
October 26, 2019
Shaunna Morrison of Carnegie Institute for Science won the DCO Emerging Leader award at the Deep Carbon 2019 meeting.
October 23-26, 2019
Bob Hazen, Shaunna Morrison, Adrienne Hoarfrost, Joy Buongiorno, Donato Giovannelli, and Jihua Hao of the Enigma team attended and presented on NAI themes at the Deep Carbon 2019 meeting in Washington DC.
October 21, 2019
Graduate student Douglas Pike presented an ENIGMA Seminar here at Rutgers on “Dimensionality Reduction of Protein Structure for Phylogenetic Analysis and Design of Putative Ancestral Proteins.”
October 19, 2019
Warm Congratulations to Bob Hazen who was elected as a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences!
October 15, 2019
October 8-9, 2019
Alesha Vega, ENIGMA education and outreach team specialist, attended and presented at the 20th annual Conference of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium in Denver, Colorado. Alesha presented “Engaging Urban K-12 Children in Complex Science Topics” using the Enigma after-school and family science night programs as a paradigm.
October 7, 2019
Check out another new publication:
Miller, M., Vitale, D., Kahn, P.C., Rost, B., & Bromberg, Y. (2019). fuNTRp: Identifying protein positions for variation driven functional tuning. Nucleic Acids Research, , gkz818, DOI/10.1093/nar/gkz818/5580908
Hazen, R. M., Bromberg, Y., Downs, R. T., Eleish, A., Falkowski, P. G., Fox, P., … & Knoll, A. H. (2019). Deep Carbon through Deep Time: Data-Driven Insights in Whole Earth Carbon. Online Publication.
September 16, 2019
Post-doc Ariel Aptekmann presented the first Enigma Seminar of the term here at Rutgers on “Prediction of metal-binding proteins from sequence.”
September 6, 2019
Bob Hazen presented a seminar on “Co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere” at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.
September 4, 2019
Shaunna Morrison gave a talk on mineral network analysis with middle school student collaborator, Cadence Boucher, at the Mineralogical Society of DC.
August 19-23, 2019
Bob Hazen presented a paper on “An evolutionary system of mineralogy” at the Goldschmidt. Additionally, our Carnegie team post-docs of Joy Buongiorno and Shaunna Morrison had talks/abstracts on the Enigma project at the Goldschmidt Conference in Barcelona, Spain.
August 19, 2019
Rutgers is offering its first Astrobiology course for undergraduates this coming Fall 2019. It is being taught by Prof. Nathan Yee, ENIGMA team member and Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Course description is so interesting: Investigation of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in our solar system and beyond. Addresses some of the biggest questions in science today such as where life began, whether there is life on other planets, and how scientists search for extra-terrestrial life. Course code is 01:460:225–Astrobiology (3 cr) and there are no prerequisites.
August 15, 2019
Warm Congratulations to Bob Hazen who was elected as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union!
August 13, 2019
Some more new publications from Bob Hazen to check out:
Hazen, R.M. (2019) An evolutionary system of mineralogy: Proposal for a classification based on natural kind clustering. American Mineralogist, 104, 810-816. https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2019-6709CCBYNCND
Chan, M.A., Hinman, N.W., Potter-McIntyre, S.L., Schubert, K.E., Gillams, R.J., Awramik, S.M., Boston, P.J., Bower, D.M., Des Marais, D.J., Farmer, J.D., Jia, T.Z., King, P.L., Hazen, R.M., Leveille, R.J., Papineau, D., Rempfert, K.R., Sanchez-Roman, M., Spear, J.R., Southam, G., Stern, J.C., and Cleaves, H.J. II (2019) Deciphering biosignatures in planetary contexts. Astrobiology, 19, 28 p. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/ast.2018.1903
August 1-2, 2019
Post-doc’s Kenneth McGuinness, Saroj Poudel, and Ariel Aptekmann attended the MIT Dating in Deep Time II Workshop, in Cambridge MA. Kenneth presented a talk on “Can we date the emergence of metal-binding proteins in deep time?” and Ariel presented his poster on “Archaea genomic adaptations and their effect on phylogeny reconstruction“.
July 23, 2019
“Rutgers Researchers Identify the Origins of Metabolism” – Scientists insert synthesized, primordial protein into living cells.
A Rutgers-led study sheds light on one of the most enduring mysteries of science: How did metabolism – the process by which life powers itself by converting energy from food into movement and growth – begin?
To answer that question, the researchers reverse-engineered a primordial protein and inserted it into a living bacterium, where it successfully powered the cell’s metabolism, growth and reproduction, according to the study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Read the complete article on SEBS/NJAES Newsroom.
July 21, 2019
Shaunna Morrison gave an invited talk on “Predicting Martian Mineral Compositions In-situ: Crystal Chemical Techniques” at the American Crystallographic Association Annual meeting in Cincinnati, OH/Northern KY.
July 20, 2019
July 15-19, 2019
Paul Falkowski and post-doc Joshua Mancini participated in the 2019 Sagan Exoplanet Summer Workshop: Astrobiology for Astronomers, at Caltech. Paul presented on “Life as a Major Driver of Biogeochemical Cycles”.
July 15-17, 2019
Bob Hazen participated in a datathon at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to create a new, interactive visualization tool for the Dana mineral classification system.
July 15, 2019
Congratulations to Rutgers undergraduate Havishk Tripathi on the recent article “Havishk Tripathi Wins NASA Astrobiology Early Career Collaboration Award” which highlights his many paths, interests, and experiences in science. The Falkowski lab team is especially proud to have supported his passions and of his NAI Early Career Award for travel to the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) in Japan.
Read the article on SEBS/NJAES Newsroom.
July 8-12, 2019
Our NASA funded ENIGMA Education and Outreach team had a chance to participate in the 4-H STEM Ambassadors Program for urban youth, at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers. Ten students from New Brunswick, Newark, Paterson, Trenton, and Atlantic City participated in a full day of learning about proteins which took place on July 10th during the STEM “Pursue” projects portion of the program. The 9th and 10th graders had a chance to work at a college junior and senior-level of understanding to complete this proteins-focused ENIGMA project. Their work resulted in a poster presentation to 150 people at a closing luncheon for the program. The students worked with Dr. Shuchi Dutta, Dr. Vikas Nanda and Dr. Ken McGuinness.
July 1, 2019
Check out our latest publication:
Mutter, A.C., Tyryshkin, A.M., Campbell, I.J., Poudel, S., Bennett, G.N., Silberg, J.J., Nanda, V. and Falkowski, P.G. (2019). De novo design of symmetric ferredoxins that shuttle electrons in vivo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(29), pp.14557-14562. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1905643116
June 15, 2019
ENIGMA Co-I and Executive Director of the Deep Carbon Observatory, Robert M. Hazen, has crafted a delightful exploration of carbon, entitled: Symphony in C: Carbon & the Evolution of (Almost) Everything. In this new work, he uses his knowledge of musical compositions as a muse to explain the complexities of carbon and why it is so important to life on Earth. Learn more about the book: https://deepcarbon.net/project/symphony-c
Hazen’s book is a valuable and welcome explanation of why we would do well to pay more attention to the sixth element — and of how much more remains to be discovered about its planetary role through time. Nature
Despite its abundance and importance, the location and cycling of carbon on Earth are not yet well understood. Ever-increasing atmospheric concentrations of its dioxide form lend urgency to a more accurate accounting of this element. However, it is Hazen’s enthusiasm, the string of shareable facts presented, and the introduction of so many interesting scientists that make this book such a fascinating read. Science.
June 11-13, 2019
Paul Falkowski visited with ENIGMA collaborators Oded Livnah and Yossi Paltiel of Hebrew University while in Israel.
June 6, 2019
Shaunna Morrison participated in a panel on “Subsurface Data and Machine Learning” at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC.
June 1, 2019
Vikas Nanda attended the Structure and Function of Natural Proteins and Maquettes: A Symposium in Honor of P. Leslie Dutton at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He presented on the “Modular origins of oxidoreductases.
May 30, 2019
Vikas Nanda presented “Co-evolution of proteins and metals“ at CUNY School of Medicine, New York , NY.
May 29-30, 2019
Paul Falkowski and Nathan Yee attended the NASA Astrobiology Institute Executive Council and Science Meeting in Greenbelt, MD.
May 24-27, 2019
Bob Hazen presented a featured public lecture on “The private lives of crystals” (exploring NAI themes of planetary evolution) at Balticon (the annual science and science fiction convention) in Baltimore.
May 15-16, 2019
Bob Hazen, Shaunna Morrison, and Donato Giovannelli attended a data science workshop, “UI Research Computing and Data Science Symposium”, where they explored advanced methods of data analysis and visualization at the University of Idaho, Moscow.
May 7-8, 2019
April 24, 2019
April 17-19, 2019
Bob Hazen and Shaunna Morrison attended a meeting of the Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE) founding committee to discuss how the 4D Initiative will interface with DDE in Kunshan, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China.
April 15, 2019
Merino, N., Aronson, H. S., Bojanova, D. P., Feyhl-Buska, J., Wong, M. L., Zhang, S., & Giovannelli, D. (2019). Living at the Extremes: Extremophiles and the Limits of Life in a Planetary Context. Frontiers in Microbiology, 10, 780. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.00780
April 14, 2019
The ENIGMA (Evolution of Nanomachines in Geospheres and Microbial Ancestors) project led by Rutgers scientists, launched another interactive K-8 Family Science Night entitled “Exploring Life on Other Planets”, at the McKinley School in downtown New Brunswick, NJ. The Family Science Night event centered on a relatable curriculum for the whole family through five different astrobiology-themed stations. Scientists from the ENIGMA project shared their experiences with this exciting and cutting-edge research in the hopes of inspiring young scientists in research.
Read the article on NJTV or watch the video below.
April 9, 2019
Bob Hazen presented “Where Minerals and Biology Collide” at the Arlen Edgar Distinguished Lecture at the Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas.
April 4-11, 2019
Janice McDonnell, the NAI Rutgers outreach team, with post-doc’s Kenneth McGuinness, Saroj Poudel, Josh Mancini, Max Miller, and others, lead two Family Science programs entitled “Exploring Life on Other Planets” with two of our local New Brunswick K-8 schools and their families. They were a tremendous success with 150 participants at the Greater New Brunswick Charter School and 60 at McKinley Community School.
April 4, 2019
April 2-4, 2019
Shaunna Morrison attended a NASA Mars Science Laboratory team meeting at NASA Goddard in Greenbelt.
April 2, 2019
Shaunna Morrison presented “The Age of Data: Visualizing the Revolution” in the Capital Science Evening Lecture at the Carnegie Institution for Science.
April 1, 2019
Adrienne Hoarfrost Ph.D. has joined the Bromberg lab and will be focusing on finding the relationship between bacterial microbial functionality and the corresponding trace elements found in the environment.
March 18-24, 2019
Paul Falkowski participated in the World Science Festival Brisbane 2019.
March 22, 2019
Bob Hazen presented “Evolution of minerals throughout Earth history” at the Industry-Rice Science Symposium, Rice University.
March 21-22, 2019
Shaunna Morrison presented “Data science in mineral exploration” at the Industry-Rice Earth Science Symposium 2019 (IRESS) in Houston.
March 17, 2019
The Rutgers Geology Museum is showing a new exhibit on meteorites and planetary science. Through the guidance of Rutgers University’s own resident meteorite expert, Dr. Juliane Gross (CoI) of the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, this three-part exhibit details the formation history of our Solar System and tells the story of how stars and planets are formed.
March 17, 2019
Bob Hazen presented the “Science Sunday” lecture at Ohio State University on “Life’s Rocky Start” (origins of life).
March 6, 2019
Bob Hazen presented “Chance, Necessity, and the Origins of Life” at Janelia Farms “Dialogues of Discovery” series (Warrenton, VA).
February 27, 2019
Bob Hazen presented “The Story of Earth” at the Geological Society of London.
February 27, 2019
Paul Falkowski was interviewed by NY Times science writer Ferris Jabr.
February 26-28, 2019
Shaunna Morrison presented a keynote talk entitled “Applications of Advanced Analytics and Visualization in Mineral Systems” at the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) Recognized Big Science Program Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE) in Beijing, China.
February 14-15, 2019
Visiting lecturer and ENIGMA Collaborator Oded Livnah of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem meet extensively with team members and gave a talk on “The Quest for Smart(er) Avidins: Old Dog – New Tricks” at Rutgers CABM.
February 12, 2019
Vikas Nanda presented “Evolution and engineering of protein electron transfer” at Kansas University Center for Computational Biology.
February 11, 2019
Janice McDonnell and her education and outreach team are currently providing on-going support/science communication training for the post-docs and graduate students involved in the ENIGMA project. The workshops, entitled Communication Strategies for Interdisciplinary Learning, provide participants with an overview of learning theory to help improve collaborations within and outside of their discipline.
February 11, 2019
Three more publications in press that we are looking forward to sharing:
Hazen, R.M. (2018) Earth in five reactions: Grappling with meaning and value in science. American Mineralogist, in press.
Estrada, C., Sverjensky, D.A., and Hazen, R.M. (2018) Selective adsorption of calcium-aspartate ligands onto [Mg(OH)2]-brucite: Implications for calcium in prebiotic chemistry. Astrobiology, in press.
Freiberger, M.I., Guzovsky,B.A., Wolynes, P.G., R. G., Parra, & D.U. Ferreiro. (2019). Local frustration around enzyme active sites. Proc Natl Acad Sci., in press.
February 11, 2019
February 8, 2019
Adrienne Hoarfrost Ph.D. (who will be joining Yana Bromberg’s group in April) has been awarded a NASA Astrobiology Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellowship.
February 4, 2019
ENIGMA Team conference call was held.
February 1, 2019
Visiting lecturers Eli Moore and Stephanie Spielman of Rowan University presented “Investigating Vanadium’s Evolving Redox Chemistry and the Expanding Total Mineral Network” at our NAI Seminar Series.
January 30, 2019
Check out new paper acknowledging the NAI:
Morrison, S., Runyon, S., & Hazen, R. (2018). The Paleomineralogy of the Hadean Eon Revisited. Life, 8(4), 64. DOI: 10.3390/life8040064
January 30, 2019
Post-doc Kenneth McGuinness presented to the team on the evolution of metalloproteins at our NAI Seminar Series.
January 24, 2019
Donato Giovannelli is starting his new position as an assistant professor at the Department of Biology of the University of Naples.
January 22, 2019
Joy Buongiorno has gone to work on her postdoctoral projects with ENIGMA Collaborator, Donato Giovannelli, at the University of Naples for several months.
January 19, 2019
January 18, 2019
Janice McDonnell recently became partner in Center for Advancing the Societal Impacts of Research (ARIS Center) to translate the importance of scientific research to the public, as part of $5.2 million NSF grant. We are delighted for Janice and her enlarged role in science education and outreach.
January 17, 2019
Shaunna also presented “Multidisciplinary approaches in Earth, life and planetary science with application of advanced analytics…” at Wayne State University.
January 15, 2019
Shaunna Morrison presented “Advanced analytics and visualization applications in Earth and planetary science” at Rutgers Earth & Planetary Science Colloquium.
January 14, 2019
As an introduction, Joy Buongiorno presented to the team “Climate change and the microbial ferrous wheel: Implications of Arctic warming on biogeochemical cycling in sediments?“
January 11, 2019
Check out new paper acknowledging the NAI:
Turjanski, P., & Ferreiro, D. U. (2018). On the Natural Structure of Amino Acid Patterns in Families of Protein Sequences. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 122(49), 11295-11301.
January 9, 2019
Joy Buongiorno joined the Carnegie Institute of Science team as a post-doc working on the ENIGMA project relating the expressed protein functions of extant microbial communities to their geochemical environments.
January 7, 2019
Shaunna Morrison consulted with a First Lego Robotics Team, “Galaxy Explorers,” to discuss and hone their project on “Helping astronauts sleep better by auto-adjusting their mission schedule based on their body’s circadian rhythm.” The Galaxy Explorers made it to the finals – congratulations!
December 21, 2018
Post-doc Joshua Mancini presented to the team on primordial folds of iron sulfur proteins at our Rutgers NAI Seminar Series.
December 11, 2018
CNN: “Scientists discover billions of tons of ‘zombie’ bacteria inhabits the ground beneath our feet” article features work by Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO).
December 10, 2018
AGU 2018 Fall Meeting December 10-14, Washington D.C.:
Bob Hazen presented three talks:
- “Data-Driven Discovery in Biogeoscience: Past, Present, and Future“
- “Data-Driven Discovery and the Rise of the Collaborative Culture of Data Sharing (Invited) “
- “Natural Kind Cluster Analysis of Mineral Chemistry Data: A New Approach to Mineral Classification”
December 9, 2018
Bob Hazen and Shaunna Morrison attended Deep Carbon Observatory Virtual Reality Data Visualization workshop.
December 7, 2018
Shaunna Morrison additionally participated in an outreach program with high school students at Virginia Episcopal School, presenting her “Mars Science Laboratory” lecture.
December 6, 2018
Shaunna Morrison presented as part of an outreach program with 4H Homeschool groups, “Mars Science Laboratory” lecture.
November 20, 2018
Visiting lecturer John Goldbeck of Penn State meet with NAI team members and gave a talk on “The Influence of the Great Oxygenation Event on the Structure and Function of Type I Photosynthetic Reaction Centers” at Rutgers CABM.
November 16, 2018
Paul Falkowski participated in Rutgers STEMcosR outreach programing to high school and community college students. Keynote lecture was “Light to Life”.
November 9, 2018
Post-doc Andrew Mutter presented his talk to the team on ferredoxin scaffolds at our Rutgers NAI Seminar Series.
November 8, 2018
Yana Bromberg presented “Forget their names: understanding the microbiome without focusing on individual microbes“at Emory University.
November 7, 2018
Paul Falkowski presented “Life’s engines: How microbes made Earth habitable” as part of Old Dominion University’s College of Sciences’ Dean’s Lecture Series.
November 7, 2018
Vikas Nanda presented “Structure-guided design of peptides” at 2018 Symposium on Protein Engineering and Molecular Design of Industrial Enzymes, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China.
November 4, 2018
GSA 2018 Annual Meeting, Indianapolis:
Bob Hazen was chair with Ed Grew of University of Maine of session on mineral evolution and ecology. Hazen presented “Natural kind clustering of planetary materials: A new data-driven approach to mineral classification”.
At same GSA 2018 session keynote was presented by Shaunna Morrison on “Advanced analytical and visualization techniques applied to mineral evolution and ecology.“ Daniel Hummer, Hazen, Morrison, and others: “Ecology and evolution of manganese minerals: Implications for the redox history of Earth and life“. Grethe Hystad, Hazen, Morrison, and others: “Future and current approaches for modeling the distribution of minerals on Earth and other planets”.
In other GSA 2018 sessions, Shaunna Morrison had a Keynote: “Applications in comparative planetology: Advanced analytics and visualization of mineral systems” and Grethe Hystad, Hazen, Morrison, and others: “Estimating Earth’s undiscovered mineralogical diversity using a Bayesian approach”.
November 1, 2018
Check out new paper:
Loell, Kaiser, and Vikas Nanda. “Marginal protein stability drives subcellular proteome isoelectric point.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018): 201809098.
October 26, 2018
Rutgers NAI Seminar Series: Saroj Poudel presented his work on the evolution of metal binding proteins.
October 25, 2018
Vikas Nanda presented “Evolution and Engineering of Protein Electron Transfer” at Princeton University.
October 25, 2018
Paul Falkowski presented “Light to Life: The coevolution of the geosphere and biosphere “at UC Berkeley.
October 22, 2018
Paul Falkowski presented the Storer Lecture at UC Davis on “The Origin and Emergence of Global Coupled Biogeochemical Cycles.”
October 17, 2018
NAI ENIGMA team and EBME lab members Paul Falkowski, Vikas Nanda, Saroj Poudel, Joshua Mancini, Kenneth McGuinness, Andrew Mutter, Douglass Pike, Winnie Liu, and Liti Haramaty visited the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and Goddard Center for Astrobiology (GCA) for collaborative meetings and a tour.
October 16, 2018
Paul Falkowski presented “Legos of Life” at the Flatiron Institute in NYC.
October 14, 2018
Bob Hazen also presented at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution’s Origin’s of Life Workshop in Atlanta October 14-17th.
October 12, 2018
Rutgers NAI Seminar Series: Doctoral student Douglass Pike presented his work in iron-sulfur peptide design.
October 9, 2018
Vikas Nanda presented “Evolution and Engineering of Protein Electron Transfer” at Syracuse University Department of Chemistry.
October 6, 2018
Post-doc Douglas Pike presented a poster on “De novo design of a primitive ferredoxin” at the 32nd Gibbs Conference on Biological Thermodynamics in Carbondale, IL October 6-9th.
October 5, 2018
Bob Hazen presented the keynote address, “Chance, necessity, and the origins of life” at the Center for the Study of Origins, University of Colorado Boulder.
October 3, 2018
Shaunna Morrison presented “Advanced analytics and visualization of mineral systems” and “Roving the Red Planet: Exploring the habitability and geologic history of Mars” at University of Toronto Seminar, Toronto, Canada, October 3rd-4th.
October 1, 2018
ENIGMA Team leaders meeting held with Paul Falkowski, Nathan Yee, Yana Bromberg, Vikas Nanda, Bob Hazen, and Shaunna Morrison.
September 24, 2018
Bob Hazen participated in the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) team meeting at CalTech in Pasadena, Ca. September 24 -26th.
September 21, 2018
Bob Hazen presented a seminar at Ohio State entitled “Deep-time data-driven discovery and the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere”.
September 20, 2018
ENGIMA welcomes new team members:
Joshua Mancini, Ph.D. joins us as a postdoctoral fellow exploring the primordial folds of iron sulfur proteins.
Saroj Poudel, Ph.D. joins us as a Rutgers EOAS Planetary Habitability Postdoctoral Fellow to study origins and evolution of redox catalysts.
Kenneth McGuinness, Ph.D. joins us as a postdoctoral fellow to study the evolution of redox enzymes using machine learning approaches.
September 7, 2018
de novo designed 4Fe-4S binding peptide capable of robust electron transfer” paper featured in Forbes article “A Tiny Protein Like This May Have Kick-Started Life On Earth”.
This paper was also featured in the following:
September 5, 2018
Check out new paper “Minimal hetereochiral de novo designed 4Fe-4S binding peptide capable of robust electron transfer” in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Kim, J.D., Pike, D.H., Tyryshkin, A.M., Swapna, G.V.T., Raanan, H., Montelione, G.T., Nanda, V. and Falkowski, P.G. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jacs.8b07553
September 3, 2018
Vikas Nanda presented at Ursinus College Chemistry Seminar Series “What did proteins look like 4,000,000,000 years ago?”.
September 3, 2018
Paul Falkowski to serve as an advisor for new NASA Center for Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space (CUBES).
September 3, 2018
Mihaela Glamoclija joined COSPAR “Sample Safety Assessment Protocol (SSAP) Working Group” to assess the safety of samples from Mars. The final product of these working group activities will be published and will feed into the current NASA-ESA activities on Mars sample return.
September 3, 2018
Mihaela Glamoclija and Graduate Student Ashley Murphy have returned from Morocco where they sampled Precambrian and Cambrian carbonates for the Europlanet (http://www.europlanet-2020-ri.eu) funded project “Moroccan Early Animal Record from Precambrian – Cambrian Transient Environments and its Relevance for Life Detection on Mars”. Glamoclija group is going to combine laboratory based research and data mining to learn in more details about formation of new habitable environments as recorded in Ediacaran period of Moroccan Anti-Atlas mountains and the early animal evolution from the Cambrian sequences.
August 20, 2018
Postdocs Shaunna Morrison, Chao Liu, Allison Enright, and Graduate Student Ashley Murphy attended the GeoDeepDive Workshop in Madison, Wisconsin from August 20 to 21. Go to (https://geodeepdive.org/workshop2018/) to learn how to explore and handle the data from big data depository such as GeoDeepDive.
August 16, 2018
At the University of Sydney, Australian National Science Week Special Seminars, Robert Hazen gave a lecture on “The co-evolution of rocks and life: data-driven insights from ‘The New Mineralogy'”, and Shaunna Morrison presented “Mars Science Laboratory: Exploring the habitability and geologic history of the red planet.”
August 15, 2018
Robert Hazen presented at the International Mineralogical Association Conference XXII in Melbourne “A revised (upwards) estimate of Earth’s missing minerals,” Monday, August 13, 2018 and “Data-driven discovery in <strong>mineralogy: setting the stage for MSA’s second century,”.
August 15, 2018
Shaunna Morrison gave another Keynote: “In situ mineralogical observations on Mars: Discoveries by the CheMin X-ray diffraction instrument,”.
August 13, 2018
Nathan Yee gave a Keynote lecture at the Goldschmidt Conference in Boston entitled: “The Role of Cellular Cysteine in Microbe-Metal Interactions”.
August 13, 2018
Shaunna Morrison gave Keynote at International Mineralogical Association Conference XXII in Melbourne, Australia: “Recent advances in mineral evolution and mineral ecology via big data analytics and visualization”.
August 12, 2018
Graduate Student, Winnie Liu, presented her work on photo-oxidation of Mn-containing minerals at the 2018 Goldschmidt Conference in Boston August 12-17, 2018. Poster entitled “Abiotic Conversion of Rhodochrosite to Mn Oxides by Ultraviolet Light”.
July 12, 2018
Rutgers graduate student, Benjamin Jelen, was invited to serve as Executive Secretary for the Early Metabolisms panel of the Exobiology 2018 review August 5-10, 2018> in San Diego.
June 11, 2018
Paul Falkowski was interviewed on NJTV NEWS providing background and commentary into NASA’s recent discoveries on Mars and recent Science papers on complex organic molecules and seasonal methane on Mars.
June 2, 2018
Several members of the team including Yana Bromberg, Donato Giovannelli, Vik Nanda, and Nathan Yee attended a “4D Data Workshop” hosted by team member Robert Hazen of the Carnegie Institute.
June 1, 2018
Three members of the team, Paul Falkowski, Vik Nanda, and Nathan Yee attended a workshop on light driven catalysis hosted by CIFAR.