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MOLECULAR GEOMICROBIOLOGY SHORT COURSE: Travel grants to students available
Event dates: December 3-4, 2005

The short course will review progress that has resulted recently from integrative molecular approaches applied to problems environmental microbiology, geomicrobiology, and astrobiology, and discuss areas of high potential for future research.

Senior undergraduate and graduate students are strongly encouraged to attend. NASA is providing funds for 20 students to participate in the short course and will cover their registration and accommodation costs (for non- Bay area students). In rare cases, transportation support may be available. To apply for these scholarships, please contact Javiera at:

In the application, please state your name, recent and/or current university affiliation(s), and areas of interest (one paragraph). Please explain briefly (few sentences) the basis for your request for financial support. If you request special consideration for travel support, please have a faculty member send a brief accompanying email confirming that no other support is available (if you are an undergraduate not yet enrolled in graduate studies, state this).

Dates: Short Course sessions are December 3 and 4, 2005. The short course will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday and end early afternoon on Sunday so people can attend the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco, CA that starts Monday, December 5. There is a reception Friday, December 2 from 7:00-10:00 pm.

For more information, go to

2005 AGU Meeting, San Francisco
Dec 3-4, 2005, UC Berkeley campus

This session will be held in conjunction with a Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochmistry Short Course: Molecular Geomicrobiology, convened by Jill Banfield, Ken Nealson, and Javiera Cervini Silva to be held in the San Francisco Bay area immediately prior to AGU (see below for details).The special session will bring together experts working on molecular geomicrobiology to discuss topics of relevance to the microbe-mineral interface including but not restricted to


    • Molecular Geomicrobiology J. Banfield, J. Cervini-Silva, K. Nealson
    • Catalysis and Prebiotic Synthesis: Montmorillonite-Catalyzed Synthesis of RNA oligomers J. Ferris
    • Building the biomarker tree of life. J. Brocks and A. Pearson
    • What genetics offers geobiology D. Newman and J. Gralnick
    • Carbon and nitrogen cycling - a molecular history J. Raymond
    • Metabolic and genomic evolution over Earth history K. Nelson
    • Enzymology of electron transport: energy generation with geochemical consequences J. Fredrickson and T. Di Christina
    • Siderophores S. Kraemer, A.Butler, P. Borer, J Cervini-Silva
    • The microbe mineral interface G. DeStasio
    • Size matters: nanocrystalline products of biomineralization B. Gilbert, J. Banfield
    • Geomicrobiological cycling of iron (electron shuttling) A. Kappler & Kristina Straub
    • Microbial population dynamics through the lens of extreme environments. R. Whitaker & J. Banfield
    • Communities and the organization of metabolism. K. Nealson

    You can find more information about the session and abstract submissions at: and

  • For more information about the short course and activities associated with it, including an ice breaker at the Lawrence Hall of Science and tours to the Advance Light Source, please visit:

    Proposed Workshop on Martian Water

    Jeff Moore, Michael Manga and Francis Nimmo are planning to organize a Bay Area workshop on Martian water (surface and subsurface). The idea is to assemble local luminaries and graduate students, plus a few external speakers, to get an idea of our current state of knowledge and potential future research
    directions, and to foster links between different institutions. The workshop is planned to be 1 (or possibly 2) days; potential dates are
    February 3rd, 10th, or 24th, 2006 (all fall on a Friday).

    Please contact Francis Nimmo ( if you are interested in attending or have a preference for dates.


    "Habitable Planets Around Sun-like Stars: Common or Rare?"
    Sponsored by NASA Astrobiology Institute LAPLACE: Life and Planets Astrobiology Center, University of Arizona and National Optical Astronomy Observatory

    The LAPLACE 2006 Astrobiology Graduate Winter School will provide graduate students from all disciplines related to astrobiology an opportunity to
    research and develop their own ideas about the likelihood of habitable planets surrounding sun-like stars. The school will emphasize hands-on learning techniques including day and night-time observing on research telescopes at Kitt Peak Observatory, tours of the University of Arizona's Mirror Lab and Tree Ring Lab and activities in the Arizona Radio Observatories' Astrochemistry Lab. Students will also have chances to explore some of the unique aspects of the Tucson area including its unique geology and clear dark skies.

    Faculty will be drawn from leaders in astronomical research relevant to astrobiology and currently includes Mark Giampapa, Phil Hinz, David Kring,
    Michael Meyer, Joan Najita, Nick Woolf, and Lucy Ziurys. Students will have ample opportunity to interact with and learn from their peers as well as the faculty, in order to build a sense of community among graduate students with similar interests.

    • January 3, 2006 Travel to Tucson, registration at hotel, welcomereception.
    • January 4-6, 2006 UA-based activities: instruction, hands-on lab activities and tours.
    • January 6-8, 2006 Travel to Kitt Peak Observatory for on-site observing at solar, radio, and optical telescopes (lodging, meals included).
    • January 9, 2006 Return to UA and depart from Tucson.

    Eligibility: All graduate students who are currently studying topics related to the origins of life on Earth and in the Universe. Preference will be given to
    students from NAI member institutions. International students may also apply. Sessions will be conducted in English and students will be expected
    to possess basic University-level skills in math and science.

    Travel Support: Students receiving notification of acceptance will be provided travel support to attend the LAPLACE 2006 Winter School in Tucson. Airfare will consist of the lowest roundtrip from point of origin to Tucson. International student travel will be handled on a case-by-case basis. In addition, hotel, ground transportation and most meals will be provided.

    Application Process: Applications are to be submitted electronically to: Cathi Duncan (, Program Coordinator LAPLACE: Life and PlanetsAstrobiology Center, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, Application deadline: October 14, 2005. Please include the following in your application and be sure to write"LAPLACE 2006 Winter School" on all correspondence:

  • Contact Information: Name, email, mailing address, telephone number, date of birth, citizenship, visa information.

  • Current Institution: Name, address, area of study, level of studies, expected year of PhD, academic advisor - name and email address.
  • Essay: Your reasons for wanting to attend this school, your past/present contact with astrobiology and its related fields, self evaluation of your competence level (fair, good, very good, excellent) in mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry (1-2 pages).
  • Advisor A letter of recommendation, one page or less.

    • Application materials must be received by October 14, 2005.
    • Final Decisions will be made by October 28, 2005

    • Notification of Acceptance to Applicants October 31, 2005
    • Student Confirmation returned by November 11, 2005
    • Travel Arrangements must be completed by December 1, 2005
    • Visa and INS travel Documentation submission by December 1, 2005

    For further information, go the the website: <





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