Jamie Cook
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Jamie Elsila Cook investigates the isotopic signature of astrochemically interesting materials such as meteorites and comets, using the lab’s new gas chromatography-combustion/isotope ratio mass spectrometer (GC-C/IRMS).

She was first introduced to astrobiology as an undergraduate at Kalamazoo College, when she did a three-month Senior Individualized Project in the Astrochemistry Laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center. After graduating from Kalamazoo, she became a Peace Corps Volunteer, teaching chemistry and math at a secondary school in the small town of Masasi in southeastern Tanzania. This was a great chance to learn how to run a chemistry lab with no equipment and to see the opportunities to teach science with real-world applications. Upon returning to the U.S., she did her graduate studies in the Chemistry Department at Stanford University with adviser Richard Zare. Her graduate work involved studying the distribution, abundance, and reactions of polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons and fullerenes in a variety of terrestrial and extraterrestrial samples, primarily utilizing two-step laser mass spectrometry. She received her Ph.D. in September, 2004. Dr. Elsila returned to the Ames Astrochemistry Laboratory as a NASA Astrobiology Institute postdoctoral associate in November 2004, eight and a half years after her first experience there. After completing her postdoc and a brief stint as a Principal Investigator at the SETI Institute, she joined the Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory at Goddard in May, 2007.

Honors and Awards

NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2005 — 2006
National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associateship, 2004 — 2005
Franklin Veatch Memorial Fellowship, Stanford University, 2002 — 2003
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 1999 — 2001

NAI Project Collaborators