Post-Doctoral Fellows

Zachary Adam

Zachary Adam

Visiting Post-Doctoral Fellow
Knoll

Zach studies two of the major transitions in the history of life as part of the Knoll Group: the origins of replicating molecules and the origins of the eukaryotic cell. For his PhD project, he discovered two new sources of microfossils in the 1.4 billion year old Belt Supergroup of Montana. The assemblages include unique specimens of Tappania plana, one of the earliest examples of complex eukaryotes and the first such fossils reported from Laurentia.

Anders Albertsen

Anders Albertsen

Associate
Perez-Mercader Lab, Rowland Institute

Anders N. Albertsen studied Chemistry at the Department of Physics, Chemistry, and Pharmacy, University of Southern Denmark. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT) under the supervision of Assoc. Prof.  Pierre-Alain Monnard.  The Ph.D. thesis, "Study of Replication Processes in Minimal Self-Replicating Systems", was defended in December 2013. Anders joined the Perez-Mercader group in February 2014.

Isadora Berlanga Mora

Isadora Berlanga Mora

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Perez-Mercader Lab, Rowland Institute

Isadora Berlanga studied Chemistry at Universidad de Valencia. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in September of 2013 with the thesis: "Synthesis and Characterization of 0, 1 and 2D Nanomaterials". After her Ph.D., she joined the group of Prof. V. Fuenzalida at the Department of Physics, Universidad de Chile, where she worked as a postdoc on self-assembled monolayers, single-molecule magnets on a surface, as well as her own project, "Controlling the Surface Growth of Covalent Organic Frameworks on Functionalized Self-Assembled Monolayers". Isadora joined Prof. Juan Perez-Mercader's group as a postdoc in September 2015.

Matthew Egbert

Matthew Egbert

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Perez-Mercader Lab, Rowland Institute

Matthew Egbert received a BSc in Computer Science from St Andrews University, UK, before undertaking a MSc in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems at the University of Sussex, UK, where he also earned his PhD.Since receiving his doctorate, he has worked in unconventional computing, robotics, and developing computational models of adaptive systems. 

Research interests: minimal forms of life and cognition; viability of dissipative structures; adaptive behavior; analysis and computational modelling of complex systems; the origins of life.

Felix Elling

Felix Elling

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Pearson Group

Felix is a microbial biogeochemist studying the lipid "fingerprints" of archaea and bacteria ‒ microorganisms that control the cycling of elements such as carbon and nitrogen on our planet. His research focuses on reconciling microbiological lab experiments with geochemical observations from the modern ocean to improve the application of microbial lipids for the reconstruction of past environments.

David Ferguson

David Ferguson

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Langmuir Group

David is an igneous geochemist and volcanologist who uses the chemistry of lavas to understand different process in magmatic systems. He is currently a member of Charles Langmuir’s research group, working on links between volcanism and glacial cycles in volcanic arcs.

Maya Gomes

Maya Gomes

Visiting NASA NAI Post-Doctoral Fellow
Johnston

Maya is interested in how the cycling of elements through the ocean and atmosphere regulates climate and habitability. Specifically, she focuses on how the sulfur cycle interacts with the carbon, oxygen, and nutrient element cycles. She compares patterns of biogeochemical cycling in time periods when marine sulfate levels were low, like they were on the early Earth, to periods when marine sulfate levels were high, like they are in the modern ocean.

Hoffman 305
Yuandu Hu

Yuandu Hu

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Perez-Mercader Lab, Rowland Institute

Yuandu Hu studied in Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan China and earned his PhD in June 2013, majoring in Polymer Chemistry and Physics. He focused mainly on the fabrication of functional soft materials (e.g. shape controllable microgels and stimulus-responsive photonic crystal microparticles) by combining microfluidic techniques and self-assembly of colloidal particles together.  Prior to joining the Perez-Mercader group in September 2014, he spent one year in the University of Notre Dame in Indiana as a postdoctoral research associate. His work at Notre Dame dealt mainly with the fabrication of Janus microgel particles and self-propelling materials to mimic mircoorganisms' motion behavior. 

Jenan Kharbush

Jenan Kharbush

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Pearson Group

Jenan is a microbial biogeochemist and oceanographer interested in the important connections between microbial ecology and marine biogeochemical cycling.

Originally from Wisconsin, Jenan obtained a B.A. in biology and chemistry from Ripon College in Ripon, WI. Subsequently she earned her PhD from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA, studying chemical oceanography in the lab of Dr. Lihini Aluwihare. Her thesis research focused on the use of molecular signatures to investigate microbial metabolic diversity and function in marine environments, and specifically targeted two important classes of microbial lipid biomarkers: bacterial hopanoids and intact polar diacylglycerols.

Tom Laakso

Tom Laakso

Post-doctoral Fellow
Schrag

Dissertation title: “A Theory of Atmospheric Oxygen"
Advisor: Daniel Schrag
Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

Brad Lipovsky

Brad Lipovsky

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Independent

 

I study Earth’s great ice sheets using geophysical data and mechanical models.  Most Antarctic ice loss occurs as ice slides off the continent into the sea.  Understanding ice sheet sliding is therefore essential to understanding the contribution of ice sheets to past, present, and future sea level rise.  Despite this importance, most ice sheet models still rely on ad-hoc sliding laws that omit important physics and exhibit pathological behaviors.  My recent work has employed more physically realistic frictional sliding laws.  Such sliding laws describe the resistance to sliding provided by a finite strength ice--bed interface.  The difference between frictional sliding laws and traditional, unbounded sliding laws has important consequences in the context of global change:  if the ice--bed interface has a finite strength, then its capacity to resist the forces driving ice loss is fundamentally limited.  My primary research objective is to quantify the processes that govern the strength of the ice--bed interface.

Two themes distinguish my scientific work.  First, I exploit an interplay between observation and theory.  My science always starts with observation.  My workflow then builds simple models from simple observations before iterating and creating a hierarchy of complexity.  Second, my work informs the study of climate systems but is based in solid mechanics, earthquake science, and geophysics.  This crossing of disciplinary boundaries allows me to leverage the best physical insights from diverse fields towards tackling new challenges in ice sheet physics.

Nagissa Mahmoudi

Nagissa Mahmoudi

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Pearson

Nagissa is broadly interested in microbial degradation of organic compounds including anthropogenic pollutants as well as natural organic matter. Nagissa completed her  B.Sc. in Integrative Biology from the University of Toronto in Canada. Subsequently, she earned her PhD at McMaster University in Canada where she employed a variety of tools, ranging from isotope geochemistry to high throughput sequencing, to investigate microbial communities in petroleum impacted environments. This research involved assessing microbial carbon sources using natural abundance radiocarbon analysis of lipid biomarkers and subsequently linking degradation to specific taxonomic groups.