Principal Investigator(s):

Maria T. Zuber, Ph.D.

Maria Zuber is the E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she also leads the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. She has been involved in more than half a dozen NASA planetary missions aimed at mapping the Moon, Mars, Mercury, and several asteroids. Her lab studies the structure and evolution of planets and the application of spacecraft laser ranging and radio tracking systems to map the topography and gravity fields of the planets.

Gary Ruvkun, Ph.D.

Gary Ruvkun is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, a recent recipient of the Gairdner, Lasker, and Benjamin Franklin awards, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His lab uses C. elegans molecular genetics and genomics to study problems in developmental biology and physiology with a focus on RNAi and microRNA pathways, metabolism, and aging.

Christopher E. Carr, Ph.D.

Dr. Carr is a Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Research Fellow in the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Molecular Biology. He received the B.S. degree in Aero/Astro and the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1999, the M.S. degree in Aero/Astro in 2001, and the Sc.D. degree in Medical Physics in 2005 from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He leads SETG instrument development. He is broadly interested in searching for and expanding the presence of life beyond Earth.

MIT Staff

Angel Mojarro

Angel Mojarro received the B.S. in Geological Sciences from Brown University in 2011. He is on the research staff at MIT and previously worked as a Research Assistant in Geological Sciences at Brown University and in the Lamont-Doherty Core Repository at Columbia University. He is interested in the environmental history of Mars and the habitability of terrestrial planets.

Kendall Saboda

Kendall Saboda received a B.S. (with honors) in chemical engineering from Montana State University in 2016. She is currently a research assistant at MIT and previously worked in a similar role at the Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials as well as in the Plant Pathology department at Montana State University.

Srinivasa Aditya Bhattaru

Srinivasa Aditya Bhattaru received the B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 2015. He is a Graduate Research Assistant in the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Jonathan Borowsky 

Jonathan Borowsky is a B.A. candidate majoring in biology and physics at Washington University in Saint Louis. He works on micro-fluidic design for the SETG instrument, and library preparation protocols to expand the applications of nanopore sequencing.

Delson Faria Dasilva

Delson Faria Dasilva is a B.S. candidate majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Aerospace Engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology. He works on the mechanical design and manufacturing challenges for components of the SETG instrument. He also assist in various software related components of the instrument.

Alexandra Pontefract, Ph.D.

Dr. Alexandra Pontefract is a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT, and was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Canadian Astrobiology Training Program at the University of Western Ontario. She has an M.Sc. in Biology from McMaster University and a Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Western Ontario (2013). Her interests include habitat generation through impact bombardment, the detection of biosignatures and the study of life in extreme cold environments. Dr. Pontefract also has an active involvement in public outreach activities, including public talks at museums and teaching videos for the National Film Board of Canada.

Claremont Biosolutions:

Robert Doebler, Ph.D., Institutional PI/Co-I

Robert Doebler received the B.A. in Physics and B.A. in Chemistry from Long Beach State University in 1990 and 1991, respectively, and the Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Virginia in 1997. He is the Co-founder and President of Claremont Biosolutions, LLC, and previously directed the Bioengineering Lab at the Keck Graduate Institute of Claremont, California.

Mark Brown, Ph.D.

Mark Brown received the B.S. in Marine Biology from Long Island University in 1993, the Ph.D. in pharmacology from the Stony Brook University in 2002, and the P.P.M. in Business of Bioscience from Keck Graduate Institute in 2011. He is a Senior Scientist and Director of Applications Development at Claremont Biosolutions, LLC.

Ryan Talbot

Ryan Talbot has over 10 years experience working on precision optical systems and developing automated DNA sample preparation systems for diagnostic applications. He is a Senior Product Development Engineer at Claremont Biosolutions, LLC.

Tanya Ferguson

Tanya M. Ferguson received the B.S. in Biotechnology/Molecular Biology and M.S. in Molecular Immunology from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1996 and 2006, respectively, and the Ph.D. in Public Health/Epidemiology from Walden University in 2016. She is currently a Senior Scientist and Director of Diagnostics Research and Global Health Initiatives at Claremont Biosolutions, LLC.

Vinh Nguyen

Vinh Nguyen received the B.S. in Biochemistry from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 2013 and the M.B.S. (Master of Bioscience) from Keck Graduate Institute in 2016. He is a Research Associate at Claremont Biosolutions, LLC.

Levon Avakian

Levon Avakian has 3 years of design and fabrication experience working on integrating and automating sample preparation technologies for isolating DNA from hard-to-lyse microorganisms within clinical samples.  He is a Design Engineer at Claremont Biosolutions, LLC.

John Cashion

John Cashion received a B.S. from Cal Poly Pomona in 2012. John is involved in the development associated with the manufacturing of ClaremontBio’s automated DNA isolation technologies. He is an Operations Engineer at Claremont Biosolutions, LLC.

Ryan Bailey

Ryan Bailey received the B.A. in Biology and the B.A. in Psychology from California State University Channel Islands in 2014 and the M.B.S. (Masters of Bioscience) from Keck Graduate Institute in 2016. He is currently a R&D Project Specialist at Claremont Biosolutions, LLC, where he uses his background in manufacturing automation and intellectual property to advance the company’s production capabilities and assist in new product development.

Other Co-Investigators and Collaborators:

Michael Finney, Ph.D.

Michael Finney received the B.A. in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University in 1980, and the Ph.D. in Biology from MIT in 1987. He is the Managing Director of Finney Capital, an investor in early-stage companies.

George Church, Ph.D.

George Church received the B.A. in Zoology and Chemistry from Duke University in 1974, and the Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard University in 1984. He is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director of the NIH Center for Excellence in Genomic Science.


Jacopo Tani, Ph.D. (now at ETH Zurich)
Alexander Smith, MIT
Julie Hachey, S.B. (now at ReadCoor)
Clarissa S. Lui, Ph.D.
Ting Zhu, Ph.D.
Holli Rowedder, M.S.
Cyrus Vafadari, MIT
Kimberly McManus, MIT

and many others.