REU Class of 2006


Alaina Brinley
Kalamazoo College, Biology
Hometown: South Bend, Indiana
Mentor: Jen Blank

Researched the microbial diversity in ophiolite-hosted coldsprings as an analog to martian environments. Microbe-bearing water samples were collected in Del Puerto Canyon, California. DNA was extracted from the samples followed by PCR, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, and DNA sequencing. Rock and water samples were evaluated for mineral/chemical content.



Zoe Buck
Princeton, Astrophysics
Hometown: Sherman Oaks, CA
Mentor: Frank Drake

Worked to improve the Optical SETI program at Lick Observatory, and did extra observing for the search for extrasolar Planets.



Jenny Carton
Villanova University, Astronomy
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland.
Mentor: Doug Caldwell

Used data taken at the South Pole to search for extrasolar planets.



Kelsey Clubb
University of Iowa, Physics, Astronomy & Music
Hometown: Ottumwa, IA
Mentor: Gerry Harp

Worked with Dr. Gerry Harp on a project to stream real-time data from the Allen Telescope Array to the Internet, making it available for museum exhibits, classrooms, and to the public at large.



Yufei Liu
Princeton, Molecular Biology
Hometown: Shrewsbury, MA
Mentor: Alessandra Ricca

Worked with Dr. Alessandra Ricca using a theoretical chemistry program to model the formation of aromatic rings with nitrogen on Titan. Using the same program, also investigated the role of nanodiamonds in the interstellar medium.


Jason Merritt
Villanova, Astrophysics
Mentor: Peter Jenniskens

Studied meteor observing and spectroscopy, and implemented an observing system using a digital camera to image meteors.



Donald Pan
UC Berkeley, Astrophysics and Microbial Biology
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Mentor: Richard Quinn

Worked with Dr. Richard Quinn in applying the Gas Exchange Experiment (one of the biology experiments sent to Mars on the Viking landers in 1976) to martian soil analogs from the Atacama Desert in Chile.


Michael Papadopoulos
UC Davis, Microbiology
Mentor: Rocco Mancinelli

Worked in the laboratory with Dr. Mancinelli designing experiments to help catalog the response of DNA to UV irradiation.


Alex Parker
University of Washington, Astronomy
Hometown: Bellingham, WA
Mentor: Devon Burr

Studied a suite of martian fluvial geomorphologic features; primarily, reconstructing the history of Grjotá Vallis, a young giant outburst flood channel that covers ~50,000 sq. km. near Mars' equator.



Lindsay Rutter
Penn State University, Bioengineering with a materials science option.
Mentor: Andy Mattioda

Worked in the Astrochemistry Laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center to perform structural comparisons of polycyclic aromatic nitrogen heterocycles (PANHs) in the Near Infrared region. PANHs are of astrobiological interest because they are ubiquitous in the interstallar environment, have been identified in meteoritic extracts, and constitute our nucleobases.



Circe Verba
Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon), Geology
Hometown: Pendleton, Oregon
Mentor: Cynthia Phillips

Observed dark slope streaks that form on crater rims, knobs, and volcanic sides on Mars with Dr. Cynthia Phillips. Studied two possible explanations for these slope streaks: dry and wet models, with a particular interest in aqueous processes.


Jaime Warrington
Lyon College (Arkansas), Biology
Mentor: Rocco Mancinelli

Worked in the laboratory of Dr. Rocco Mancinelli to study UV and dessication survival of halophile microbes.