Investigation of process occurring at the interface between inorganic and organic phases leading to the nucleation and growth of crystals (biomineralization) in both natural and synthetic systems. This is achieved through an interdisciplinary approach that integrates mineralogy, morphology, and molecular biology in two distinct areas: (I) pathogenic mineralogization and calcification in mammalian cells and tissues. Current research involves studying both bacteria controlled and protein based mineralization in Fe-oxides, Fe-sulphides, carbonates, hyroxyapapite, and clay minerals. (ii) Investigating biomarkers as signatures of ancient biological activity interrestrial and extraterrestrial materials. This research invloves the investigation of Martian meteorite and terrestrial analog samples. Current research topics related to bacteria-rock interaction and biomineralization processes under harsh conditions, which are relevant to Astrobiology and the Mars Sample Return Missions, are studied in various environments particularly: (a) deep-sea hydrothermal vents, (b) deep subsurface sedimentary basins, and (c) Antarctic and Canadian High Arctic permafrost environments.
Fereshte Azari, PhD Post Doctoral Fellow
Yung-Ching Chien, MSc Candidate
Fariba Kalantari, PhD student
Shahab Faghini, PhD Candidate
Richard McLaughlin, PhD Post Doctoral Fellow
Christina Ponte, MSc Candidate
Astrobiology (ANAT-205B, EPSC-205B) - Click on "External link" above for more information.