Astrobiology at a glance

What is Astrobiology?

"Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life on Earth and in the Universe."

 (Blumberg, 2003)

In 1995 we witnessed the discovery of the first exoplanet around a solar-type star, 51 Pegasi b. Since then, the Astrobiology community started to thrive and the understanding that life co-evolves with the environment. Also, it increased the need of embracing research areas that were not combined in the past, turning Astrobiology into (maybe the most) multi-disciplinary field. Therefore, what started as a shy marriage between Astronomy and Biology now includes researchers from Geology, Ecology, Oceanography, Chemistry, Paleontology, Meteorology, Social Sciences, Engineering, Physics, Medicine and more.

Astrobiologists pursue to answer the most fundamental questions of humanity, such as "Where did we come from?" and "Are we alone in the Universe?"

If after reading our description and Blumberg's definition you think that your research could contemplate these topics at any level, we are sorry to tell you, but you are an Astrobiologist! :)

Who and Where?

black - major institutes and organizations, blue - Earth Sciences, yellow - Astronomy, green - Biology,
red - Chemistry, purple - Oceanography, gray - Aerospace & Engineering

Want to add your institute to the map? Answer this form!

Astrobiology Road Trip

There is no clear path to become an astrobiologist... Let us show you our own paths to give you an idea!

Founders of the LUNATIC 

Stellar Astrophysics
✉️ ellenalmeida [at] on [dot] br
🌎 Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil



"I fell in love with Astronomy since the first day that I looked up and noticed the stars and planets, but never thought of making a career out of it because it felt so distant, but in the last year of high school, I had the most amazing biology teacher that made me enjoy Biology and believe that I could be a scientist. I was conflicted about which path to take, to be an astronomer or a biologist, until the day that I read the term 'Astrobiology' and I noticed that actually I had a third possible path, a mix of both of them. So, I decided to study astronomy and my undergraduate research was in Stellar Astrophysics, studying red-dwarf stars. Now, I am a PhD student and, since my Masters, I work with chemical abundances of CHNOPS (main components of life on Earth) in solar-type stars.”

✉️ fatimali [at] elsi [dot] jp
🌏 Tokyo, Japan


"Since I can remember I have felt passionate about space and the mistery of the origin of life. In high school I found out about Astrobiology, specifically extremophiles, during a science communication talk at my alma mater. Since then, extremophiles and their amazing physiologies have fascinated me. This planted the seeds of my main research question: How far can life go? In order to study extremophiles, I wanted to go directly into a Microbiology degree, unavailable in Mexico at the time. Instead, I studied Biology (UNAM, Mexico) and chose my thesis laboratory and courses accordingly. That experience is now extremely valuable to me, as it allowed me to have a broad idea of life on Earth. For my master's degree I was eager to dive deeper into extremophile studies and found the research topics of ELSI (Earth-Life Science Institute) to be both challenging and interesting. I was awarded the Monbukagakusho Scholarship from the Japanese government and came to Tokyo, where I am currently pursuing my PhD as well as having fun with microbes and hot springs.”

✉️ paulap [at] jamstec [dot] go [dot] jp
🌏 Tokyo, Japan


"I became interested in astrobiology in high school, but could not find a straightforward way to become an astrobiologist, since there was no undergraduate program for it. In my undergraduate I studied Earth and Space Science (a mixture of geoscience, astronomy and oceanography) and then moved on to an MSc program in Marine Microbiology (both in Bremen, Germany). I then joined the Earth-Life Science Institute (Tokyo, Japan) for a combined MSc/PhD through the department of Chemical Science and Engineering, though my research here is focused on microbial physiology and bioinformatics.

Aqueous Geochemistry
✉️ serhat.sevgen [at] ucalgary [dot] ca
🌎 Calgary, Canada


"During my undergraduate years, I developed an appreciation on the co-evolution of Earth and life throughout geological history after taking several courses on paleontology and evolutionary biology in Turkey. Thinking about life in the geological time perspective allowed me to think critically about the famous questions that humans have been asking for centuries: “How did life start on our planet and in what conditions?” and “Is life special only to Earth or can it be found somewhere else?”. Accordingly, I met with a scientific research discipline known as “Astrobiology”, which is in the core of those questions. After having my BSc in Geology, my passion for astrobiology continuously increased, and I decided to conduct research on how geochemistry shapes the environment for life. Accordingly I got my MSc degree in Oceanography from METU, Turkey (with a focus on deep-sea hydrothermal vents) and I am now a PhD candidate in the field of aqueous geochemistry at University of Calgary, Canada. I am conducting experiments in the lab in order to understand how geochemistry of early Earth was operating at the dawn of life."

Members of the LUNATIC 

Prebiotic Chemistry (I think, still not sure what I'm doing)
✉️ cannelli [at] elsi [dot] jp
🌏 Tokyo, Japan



"As a child, I dug holes near my home in a quest to uncover dinosaurs, sparking a fascination with unraveling the mysteries of the past and understanding human and Earth evolution. So I became an archeologist. Still trying to understand what to do as a grown up, I did a master in molecular biology, where I studied how viruses interact with the environment and can influence other organisms evolution. Then I found astrobiology. Now, at the Earth-Life Science Institute (Tokyo, Japan), I study the origin of life on Earth and beyond, while discovering more about our oceans.  My research focuses on the interaction between hydrothermal vents minerals and available molecules in Archean Earth, investigating if this combination could have given rise to Earth first protocells.

Outside academia, I am a traveler, going hiking, karate and rugby player."

✉️ gintert [at] elsi [dot] jp
🌏 Tokyo, Japan



"I am a first-year Master's student in the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Currently, I'm studying the plausible formation of simple cells, especially their membranes and associated interactions with small molecules. Broadly speaking, I wish to focus on biophysical processes mediating the origins of life.

I graduated from McMaster University in Canada ('23) from the Integrated Science program with a concentration in physics. In my time at Mac, I worked in the Origins of Life laboratory investigating fatty acid membranes with molecular dynamics simulations. I’ve also been involved in a variety of research projects ranging from historical lead cosmetics to small satellites! I'm hugely passionate about astrobiology and space research, as well as science communication (come say hi on social media!), outreach, EDI, and innovation. Ad astra!"

Protein Evolution
✉️ tcorlett [at] elsi [dot] jp
🌏 Tokyo, Japan



"I am a recent graduate from University of Toronto, starting my MSc + PhD Degree at ELSI (Earth Life Science Institute) TokyoTech.

Born in Osaka, Japan

Moved to Montréal / Toronto, Canada for undergraduate studies at McGill / UofToronto

Moved to Tokyo, Japan for an MSc + PhD program at ELSI (Earth-Life Science Institute)

I like to think about  “life” as universal constructors/computers exploring the possibility space. My focus now is on the evolution of ancient biopolymers such as proteins that could have been part of the first instance of life."

Protein Evolution
✉️ vbazovic [at] elsi [dot] jp
🌏 Tokyo, Japan



"I would say that an interest in understanding life and the world around me on a molecular level came to me at a very young age out of my love for nature. In my search for answers, I have completed both my BSc and MSc in Biochemistry at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, where I originally come from. In 2023, my quest to understand what life is led me to Tokyo, and I am currently a graduate student in the Earth-Life Science Institute Integrated Graduate Program at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. In my previous studies, I've gained an understanding of biochemistry and biophysics, specifically focusing on the behavior of macromolecules in modern biological systems. However, I feel I have to start from the beginning, so presently, my goal is to expand my understanding in the fields of metabolic network and protein evolution."