1. Maggie Osburn Honored as 2017 Packard Fellow

    Magdalena Osburn has been selected as a 2017 Packard Fellow. Image source: Osburn Isotope Geobiology Lab Image credit: Magdalena Osburn has been selected as a 2017 Packard Fellow. Image source: Osburn Isotope Geobiology Lab

    Geobiologist Magdalena “Maggie” Osburn has received a 2017 David and Lucile Packard Fellowship Award for her work at the geochemistry-microbiology interface.

    From the Packard Foundation website:
    Microbial intraterrestrials drive much of Earth’s chemical engine, but without cultivation, their metabolisms, isotope effects, and biosignatures remain obscure. Osburn will reveal these traits by merging cutting-edge techniques in microbiology, geochemistry, and engineering. By cultivating so-called microbial dark matter, she will refine the requirements for life on Earth and beyond, populate the tree of life, and identify novel natural products. Osburn plans to cultivate microbial dark matter from a familiar site, the former Homestake Mine. Microbes surviving without light or air underground often elude laboratory cultivation. Her new approach pairs genomic techniques with custom growth chambers that cater to microbial needs and simulate viable subterranean environments, where these sensitive organisms can reveal their prolific secrets about genetics, geochemistry, and evolution.

    An assistant professor at Northwestern University, Osburn has contributed research to the NASA Astrobiology Institute teams based at MIT and University of Southern California, and she also heads Biologic and Resource Analog Investigations in Low Light Environments (BRAILLE), a NASA Planetary Science and Technology from Analog Research (PSTAR) funded project where members of her lab look at lipid and isotopic biosignatures of lava tube microbiology in collaboration with microbiologist, geochemists, and roboticists.

    For more about Maggie Osburn and her lab, visit: http://sites.northwestern.edu/mro514/

    For more on the Packard Fellowship awards, visit: https://www.packard.org/what-we-fund/science/packard-fellowships-for-science-and-engineering/about-the-packard-fellowship-awards/

    Source: [Packard Foundation]