4800 Oak Grove Drive
Dr. Laurie Barge is a Research Scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She studies the emergence of life and ways to search for life elsewhere, and is interested in all worlds where water/rock interactions might have occurred including early Earth, Mars, and Ocean Worlds (e.g. Europa, Enceladus, Ceres). Dr. Barge is also the HiRISE Investigation Scientist for NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. Dr. Barge co-leads the JPL Origins and Habitability Laboratory, an astrobiology research team which studies how life emerges and can be detected on planets. From 2014-2018 she was a member of the international advisory board of the ELSI Origins Network (EON); and from 2012-2017 she chaired the NASA Astrobiology Institute focus group "Thermodynamics, Disequilibrium, Evolution" which hosted scientific meetings at various institutes around the world. Laurie is a steering committee member for the NASA Astrobiology Program's Network for Ocean Worlds (NOW) and an Action Group lead for the Network for Life Detection (NFoLD). For her astrobiology research Dr. Barge has received the NASA Early Career Public Achievement Medal, the JPL Lew Allen Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Laurie received her B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Villanova University and her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Southern California. After graduate school she was a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech/JPL and then with the NASA Astrobiology Institute. In her free time she enjoys running, cycling, and plays the fiddle in a local Irish music group.
Dr. Barge is Co-PI of the NSF funded project "Pathways in STEM: Cross-Sector Partnerships, Experiential Learning, and Professional Development", a 5-year program led by Citrus College which aims to increase the number of diverse students who are retained and successfully complete STEM degrees at Hispanic Serving Institute two-year institutions. In the "Pathways in STEM" program starting in 2020, Citrus College and JPL will join forces with multiple distinct STEM organizations and institutions to provide experiential learning; mentoring; education and career advice; development of science communication skills; and community building for students. The approach for the "Pathways in STEM" program is built upon lessons learned from a highly successful NSF-funded program that Dr. Barge was Co-PI of from 2015-2019, "Bridge to the Geosciences (BTTG)" (led by Citrus College). The overarching goal of the Citrus College BTTG project was to increase the number of diverse and traditionally underserved community college students who: (1) were exposed to education and career opportunities in the geosciences and, through this exposure, (2) opted to transfer to a baccalaureate degree program in geoscience. The BTTG data showed that the student participants gained tremendous benefit from exposure to new career options and being part of a supportive peer community. Dr. Barge is also active in astrobiology outreach and science communication. She was recently featured on NASA's "Ask an Astrobiologist" series and NASA's Gravity Assist podcast, and her research has been featured in various outlets including CBS "Mission Unstoppable", PBS, NOVA, and Discovery Channel.
Dr. Barge's main research interests are understanding the origin of life on early Earth, differentiating abiotic from biological organic chemistry in geological environments, and exploring hydrothermal vents in the lab and in the field. She is the Science-PI of the NASA In-Situ Vent Analysis Divebot for Exobiology Research (InVADER) project, which will send a laser spectroscopy payload to a hydrothermal vent in the Pacific Ocean. She also leads research projects relevant to prebiotic chemistry and habitability, including studying the origin of metabolic reactions in geological settings, and cycling of phosphorus and nitrogen in redox active mineral systems. Dr. Barge mentors undergraduate / graduate students and postdocs who are part of her team; see www.lauriebarge.com for more details about her current research projects.
[italic] = Student / postdoc under my supervision