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Jessica Weber

Photo of Jessica Weber


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-301

Pasadena, CA 91109



Member of:

Laboratory Studies



Dr. Jessica Weber is a Research Scientist working at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is a chemist and astrobiologist working to understand the limits of organic chemistry on planetary bodies, including Mars, Venus, and ocean worlds. Jessica works in the Origins and Habitability Lab (OHL). Jessica received her B.S. in Chemistry from UChicago and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from MIT. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and scuba diving.


  • MIT PhD, 2019 (Chemistry)
  • University of Chicago B.S. 2014 (Chemistry)

Professional Experience

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2019 – present)

  • Research Scientist, Laboratory Studies (2022 - present)
  • Science Team Member of EELS Path to Flight Working Group (August 2022 – Present)
  • Enceladus Vent Explorer (EVE) Science Team Member (Jan 2021 - Jan 2022); Science Co-Lead (Jan 2022 – Jan 2023)
  • JPL Postdoctoral Researcher with Dr. Laurie Barge (2019-2022)
  • Member of 2020 Planetary Science Summer School
  • Mentor of JPL interns (January 2020 – present) in MSP and JVSRP programs
  • Organization Co-lead of Caltech-JPL Venus Seminar Series (Fall 2019)

Community Service

  • Reviewer for journals including: CrystEngComm, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, Langmuir, Nature Chemistry Communications, Nature Communications, Astrobiology, PNAS, Science
  • Committee Member of Venus Early Career Group (VEXAG SAW 13) (2022 – present)
  • Member of NASA Standards of Evidence in Life Detection workshop (July 2021)
  • Organizer of JPL Astrobiology Journal Club (2020 – 2022)
  • 2021 Dwornik Award Judge at LPSC
  • Session convener at 2020 AGU, 2021 LPSC
  • Panelist and Moderator on “Women in Chemistry and STEM Career” panel for the Southern California ACS National Chemistry Week. (October 2020)
  • Volunteer at EXP Women in STEM Career Day (February 2020)

Research Interests

Prebiotic chemistry, origin of life, organic chemistry, astrobiology

Selected Awards

  • 2022 NASA Astrobiology Early Career Collaboration Award. (2022 with Goddard Flight Research Center
  • Co-I, JPL Spontaneous R&TD: "Development Task. Novel Continuous Flow Reaction Design to Test Martian Weathering." (2022)
  • Co-I, JPL Spontaneous R&TD: "A New Magnetic Electron Detection Technique for Astrobiology" (2020)
  • MIT Graduate Women of Excellence (2017)

Selected Publications

  1. Chodas; M; Ono, H.; Weber, J.; Rodriguez, L.; Hockman, B.; Mitchell, K.L., Cable, M.L. “Enceladus Vent Explorer Mission Architecture Trade Study.” IEEE, 2022, 2143 3.
  2. Barge, L. M*.; Flores, E.; Weber, J. M.; Fraeman, A. A.; Yung, Y. L.; VanderVelde, D.; Martinez, E.; Castonguay, A.; Billings, K.; Baum, M. M. “Prebiotic Reactions in a Mars Analog Iron Mineral System: Effects of Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonia on Amino Acid Formation.” Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 2022, 336, 469-479.
  3. Weber, J. M.;‡*; Tran, T. H. ‡ “Synthesizing Bioactive Molecules: Synergies between Drug Discovery Techniques and Astrobiology Research.” ACS Earth and Space Chem. 2022, 6, 1213-1220.
  4. Prakash, M.; Weber, J. M.*; Rodriguez, L. E.; Sheppard, R. Y.; Barge, L. M. “Database on Mineral Mediated Carbon Reduction: Implications for Future Research.” International Journal of Astrobiology. 2022, 21, 423-440.
  5. Weber, J. M.*; Henderson, B. L.; LaRowe, D. E., Goldman, A. G., Perl, S. M., Billings, K., Barge, L. M.* "Iron-sulfur minerals drive NAD+ reduction under prebiotic Earth conditions.” Astrobiology 2022, 22, 25-34.
  6. Lee, C.*; Weber, J. M.; Rodriguez, L. E.; Sheppard, R. Y.; Barge, L. M.; Berger, E. L.; Burton, A. S. “Chirality in organic and mineral systems: A review of reactivity and alteration processes relevant to prebiotic chemistry and life detection missions.” Symmetry, 2022, 14, 460.
  7. Barge, L. M.*; Rodriguez, L. E.; Weber, J. M.; Theiling, B. P. “Determining the ‘Biosignature Threshold’ for life detection on biotic, abiotic, or prebiotic worlds.” Astrobiology 2022, 22, 481-493.Weber, J. M., Henderson, B. L.; LaRowe, D. E., Goldman, A. G., Perl, S. M., Billings, K., Barge, L. M.* "Iron-sulfur minerals drive NAD+ reduction under prebiotic Earth conditions.” Astrobiology 2021, in review.
  8. Spiers, E. M.*; Weber, J. M.; Venigalla, C.; Annex, A. M.; Chen, C. P.; Gray, P. C.; Lee, C. I. McInyre, K. J.; Berdis, J. R.; Carberry Mogan, S. R.; do Vale Periera, P.; Kumar, S.; O’Neill, W.; Czajk, E. A.; Johnson, P. E.; Pascuzzo, A.; Tallapragada, S.; Phillips, D.; Mitchell, K.; Nash, A.; Scully, J.; Lowes, L. “Tiger: Concept Study for a New Frontiers Enceladus Habitability Mission.” Planetary Science Journal 2021, accepted
  9. Perl S. M.; Celestian, A. J.; Cockell, C. S.; Corsetti, F. A.; Barge, L. M.; Bottjer, D.; Filiberto, J.; Berelson, W. M.; Sessions, A. L.; Bacter, B. K. Kanik, I.; Potter-McIntyre, S.; Kataria, T.; Chen, P.; Weber, J. M.; Rodriguez, L. E.; Melwani-Daswani, M. “A Proposed Geobiology-Driven Nomenclature for Astrobiological in situ Observations and Sample Analysis.” Astrobiology 2021, 21, DOI: 10.1089/ast.2020.2318
  10. Flores, E.* Martinez, E., Rodriguez, L. E., Weber, J. M., Khodayari, A., Barge, L. M.* "Effects of Amino Acids on Phosphate Adsorption onto Iron (Oxy)hydroxide Minerals under Early Earth Conditions." ACS Earth and Space Chem, 2021, 5, 1048-1057.
  11. Weber, J. M.*; Barge, L. M. "Iron-Silicate Chemical Garden Morphology and Reactivity with Alpha-Keto Acids." ChemSystemsChem 2021, 3, e2000058.
  12. Barge, L. M.*; Flores, E.; VanderVelde, D.; Weber, J. M.; Baum, M. M.; Castonguay, A. "Geochemical gradients determine organic distributions in prebiotic reaction networks." JGR Planets 2020, 125, e2020JE006423.
  13. Hooks, M. R.; Webster, P.; Weber, J. M.*; Perl, S. Barge, L. M.; “Effects of Amino Acids on Iron-Silicate Chemical Garden Precipitates.” Langmuir 2020, 36, 5793-5801.
  14. Weber, J. M.; Longstreet, A. R.; Jamison, T. F.* “Bench-Stable Nickel Precatalysts with Heck-type Activation.” Organometallics 2018, 37, 2716–2722.
  15. Strieth-Kalthoff, F.; Longstreet, A. R.; Weber, J. M.; Jamison, T. F.* “Bench-Stable N-Heterocyclic Carbene Nickel Precatalysts for C–C and C–N Bond-Forming Reactions.” ChemCatChem 2018, 10, 2873–2877.
  16. Gates, Z. G.*; Vinogradov, A. A.; Quartararo, A. J.; Bandyopadhyay, A.; Choo, Z.-N.; Evans, E. D.; Halloran, K. H.; Mijalis, A. J.; Mong, S. K.; Simon, M. D.; Standley, E. A.; Styduhar, E. D.; Tasker, S. Z.; Touti, F.; Weber, J. M.; Wilson, J. L.; Jamison, T. F.; Pentelute, B. L.* “Xenoprotein Engineering via Synthetic Libraries.” PNAS. 2018, 115, E5298–E5306.