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. The quality of preservation, diversity of the assemblages and the accessibility of the units opens new avenues into exploring the morphology and ecology of some of Earth’s oldest eukaryotes. Zach continues to use these and other fossils for his postdoctoral project, looking for taxon-specific carbon isotope values and ultrastructural clues as to the affinity or metabolism of these organisms.

Zach also studies geologic settings that could have promoted the synthesis of complex organic compounds on the early Earth, with a focus on conditions capable of driving prebiotic oligomer synthesis reactions. Using radioactive heavy mineral placer beaches as a conceptual model, his work has turned to the production of reactive phosphorus, mirror symmetry-breaking radiation and non-enzymatic oligomer synthesis arising from neutron moderation-governed temperature fluctuations

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. He received a B. Sc. (2009), M. Sc. (2012), and PhD (2015) from the University of Bremen, Germany. Felix joined Prof. Ann Pearson’s lab in January 2016, where he investigates the use of stable isotopes of archaeal lipids as tracers for changes in the oceanic carbon cycle in the past and modern ocean.

More details can be found on his website: http://scholar.harvard.edu/felixelling/research

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.

Jenan joined Ann Pearson’s research group in November 2015. She is currently working on investigating the partitioning of nitrogen during chlorophyll biosynthesis in microalgae, using a combination of proteomics and natural abundance 15N isotopic analyses.

Brad Lipovsky

Brad Lipovsky

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Independent

I study the physics of Earth’s great ice sheets.  This topic is both important to human civilization and scientifically fascinating.  My research agenda is simple: to use judicious mechanical analyses to understand the components of the ice sheet system. My strength as a scientist is the use of fundamental physics to analyze carefully chosen observable quantities. My recent research topics include the dynamics of liquid water in ice sheets, seismicity in glaciers and ice sheets, the physics of sliding at the ice-bed interface, and ice sheet-solid earth interactions.  In all of this work, understanding is garnered through the interplay between analytical and numerical methods, between simple models and those more general, and between prediction and observation. My overall aim is to a step towards a more complete predictive understanding of ice sheet glaciology at a scale pertinent to sea level rise hazard.