Meet the Team: Lauren Seyler

This month we feature Lauren Seyler, a research scientist with a specialty in oceanography and microbial ecology who recently joined our team.

BMSIS: Please tell us a little about yourself.

Lauren: I got my Ph.D. in biological oceanography from Rutgers University in 2015. My dissertation concerned the ecology and metabolic activity of marine archaea and the role of these microorganisms in the marine carbon cycle, and focused on using stable isotope probing (SIP) to track the uptake and incorporation of various carbon compounds by microbial populations. I am currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Schrenk lab at Michigan State University, where we have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to access fresh samples from unique sites related to serpentinization, a process implicated in the origin of life on Earth and other planets in the solar system. My work uses a combination of cultivation and biogeochemistry approaches to study microbial biofilm samples obtained from these sites. I’m also developing culturing platforms that support conditions resembling those hypothesized to exist at the origin of life, in order to observe microbial populations and the products and kinetics of biological pathways. This work will hopefully enhance our knowledge of processes which may have impacted the origin and early evolution of life on Earth, and also aid in the search for life in serpentinizing environments on other planets, including Mars and icy worlds.

BMSIS: What motivated you to join the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science?

Lauren: I first became interested in BMSIS when I attended a conference on Re-Conceptualizing the Origin of Life at the Carnegie Institute last year. I was excited by the idea of a group of scientists from different disciplines, all thinking about our place in the universe and the future of humanity. I’m also dedicated to public outreach and garnering public interest in the sciences through social media. I feel that as scientists, it’s our responsibility not only to further human knowledge but also to communicate our work to the general public, and inspire the next generation of scientists to come. I’m thrilled to be joining BMSIS, and I’m looking forward to all of the exciting work to come from this outstanding group!