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Sunanda Sharma

Photo of Sunanda Sharma


4800 Oak Grove Drive

Pasadena, CA 91109


(626) 298-4302


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Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Planetary Geosciences


I am an interdisciplinary scientist focusing on astrobiology research and currently supporting the SHERLOC instrument on Mars 2020. In my research, I aim to understand the limits of life and the detection of biosignatures in extreme and Mars environments. I am passionate about interdisciplinary research and practice bio-integrated design to promote greater inclusion and understanding across fields and audiences .


  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MS
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BS

Professional Experience

  • 2021-present: JPL Postdoctoral Scholar
  • 2021: Artist-in-Residence, Applied and Molecular Microbiology, TU Berlin 2020-2021: Owner & Scientific Consultant, ex situ bio
  • 2020-2021: Research Affiliate, MIT Space Exploration Initiative
  • 2020: Lead Scientist, Oxman (NYC)

Research Interests

Microbiology, microbial pigmentation, microscopy, spectroscopy, spectral analysis, interdisciplinary research, biodesign

Selected Awards

  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Seal of Excellence for Project 101032466, COLORSIGNS (2021)
  • MIT Graduate Woman of Excellence (2017)
  • Materials Research Society Travel Award (2017)
  • MIT Media Lab Departmental Advisory Committee and Funding Award (2016)
  • MIT Undergraduate Research Award (2014)

Selected Publications

  1. Sharma S*, Smith RSH*, Lee N, Wilson SL, Smith M, Oxman N. (2021) Exogenous pigments shield microorganisms from spaceflight-induced changes. biorxiv. (*joint first authors).
  2. Machine Learning for Generation of Biochemical Signatures (Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2021). S. Sharma.
  3. Revisiting Pigmentation as a Biomarker and Biosignature for Extraterrestrial Life (American Geophysical Union Conference 2020). S. Sharma.
  4. Smith RSH*, Bader C*, Sharma S*, Kolb D, Tang T, Hosny A, Moser F, Weaver JC, Voigt CA, Oxman N. (2020) Hybrid Living Materials: Digital Design and Fabrication of 3D Multimaterial Structures with Programmable Biohybrid Surfaces. Adv. Funct. Mater. 30: 1907401. (*joint first authors).
  5. Sharma S, Begue A, Doman J, Harfouche M, Horstmeyer G, Horstmeyer R. (2021) High Throughput Acquisition and Analysis of Bacterial Colony Features using Gigapixel Microscopy. OSA Imaging and Applied Optics Congress 2021, paper JM4A.2.
  6. Bader C, Kolb D, Weaver JC, Sharma S, Hosny A, Costa J, Oxman N. (2018) Making Data Matter – Voxel Printing for the Digital Fabrication of Data across Scales and Domains. Science Advances 4: 5 EAAS8652.
  7. Bader C, Sharma S, Smith RSH, Disset J, Oxman N. (2018) Viva in Silico: A position-based dynamics model for microcolony morphology simulation. Artificial Life Conference Proceedings 30: 304-310.