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Plumes, PhDs and Planetary Simulations

This is the story about how saying yes to opportunities can lead to the highlight of your career so far, and even a chapter in my future thesis (yes, really!)

I'm Jessie, a first year PhD student who joined the OU in October - and what a wild few months it has been. My project has already shape-shifted since reading, writing, and experimenting, which is to be expected - but nothing I've done in my PhD so far has come close to the week I spent at Aarhus University using their colossal wind tunnel to form part of my Enceladus plume research.

21st May 2024

A Summer Placement with AstrobiologyOU

My interest for the area of astrobiology stems from the study of microbiology as an undergraduate student in biological sciences. Our microbiology courses are co-lectured by different UCL faculties, and the lectures delivered by Joanne Satini based on her research of arsenic metabolism has drawn my interest into the field of extremophilic microbiology. She introduced not only resistance to arsenic contamination, but also the intriguing ability of incorporating arsenate into genetic material as analogue of phosphate, as well as arsenite oxidisers from hypersaline environments.

12th January 2024

Engagement and Outreach Coordinator Internship

After having completed a 10-week internship with SPS and Astrobiology, I can highly recommend the experience to anyone who may be interested. I first came across the opportunity on the OU’s OpportunityHub and sent my application into the OU internships team. I was invited for an online interview where I was asked to make a presentation outlining how I would drive engagement to a specific event. Once I started the internship my line managers, Alice and Hannah, were extremely supportive, empowering, encouraging and gave me autonomy over the projects I worked on.

24th October 2023

The Sky this Week - 4th-11th October

It’s World Space Week and there are some exciting objects visible in the sky this week, not just for night owls but for early risers too. All visible to the naked eye, you’ll be able to see planets, a day moon, constellations and one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

The Moon

3rd October 2023

My first time in the field as a researcher and it was great!

My name is Veli, and I am a 2nd year PhD student at AstrobiologyOU. This is the second time I am writing a blog post for AstrobiologyOU – my first blog was about my summer internship with the group which morphed into the PhD project that I am currently doing. It has been a truly wonderful journey to get here!

20th June 2023

Iceland… Land of fire and ice… and possibly microbes that may be like those in space…

I won’t lie, I was nervous, nervous to leave my 3-year-old for the longest I had yet (a whole week!), and nervous for my first real trip abroad since before I went on maternity leave in 2018 and the pandemic of course… !

19th May 2023

World Poetry Day 2023

This poem is dedicated to my recent findings of novel microbial species from a brine prepared from natural magnesium sulfate crystals, which is chemically similar to the sulfate-rich brines of early Mars.


You can listen to it here


A “NOVEL” Story of Life in Salt 


21st March 2023

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