2020 Explorigins Colloquium

For registration and abstract submission, we ask that you complete this form by January 10th. 

Announcement of selected speakers and poster presentations will be made on January 13th. 

Colloquium Flyer

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,

On behalf of Georgia Tech Astrobiology and the ExplOrigins early career group, we invite you to submit an abstract for the 2020 Exploration and Origins Colloquium which kicks off with a poster session on Monday January 27th, and continues with a day of plenary lectures, contributed talks, and a breakout networking session on Tuesday, January 28th. This interdisciplinary colloquium will highlight space exploration science and biological, geological, and astronomical origins research going on at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as neighboring universities. The goals of the colloquium are to forge relationships between diverse individuals, encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary understanding, and kick-start future fundable projects requiring the skills and expertise of multi-lab teams.

As previously, the colloquium will be split into two mutually inclusive sections: Exploration and Origins. While outlines of the two sections are provided below, the scope of abstracts considered will be broad. Past submissions have come from departments across the sciences and engineering.  We emphasize that all interested parties are welcome regardless of discipline or affiliation. 


For the Exploration session, we are particularly interested in submissions that deal with any and all aspects of reaching beyond to explore the nature of diverse environments. Examples include space technology development, spacecraft mission design, all elements of planetary science, biological or ecological fieldwork, and direct observations of planets and extrasolar systems; in short, exploring what is  ‘out there’, wherever ‘there’ is.


Submissions for the Origins session are encouraged to include some aspect of reaching back to understand the nature of the world today. Examples include cosmology and the origins of life itself, the evolution of  minerals, prebiotic geochemistry, the elaboration of metabolism, the emergence of multicellularity, atmospheric feedbacks, and the formation of planetary systems.

If you have any questions regarding the abstract submission process, please email the conference organizers at info.gt.astrob.colloq@gmail.com. Thank you for your consideration.


January 27th, 2020, MoSE 1st and 2nd Floor Atrium 

    • 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Poster Session

January 28th, 2020, IBB Suddath Seminar Room

8:00 AM – 8:45 AM: Coffee and Poster Viewing

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM: Welcome notes: College of Sciences Dean Susan Lozier

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Plenary 1 — Mariel Borowitz

10:00 AM – 10:15 AM: Coffee Break

10:20 AM – 12:00 PM: Morning Session (Introduction: Tyler Roche)

    1. Kynan Hughson: Possible pingo analogs may populate Ceres
    2. Micah Schaible: In situ characterization of elemental compositions for small bodies throughout the Solar System
    3. Bradley Burcar: The impact of CO2 and cyanide in prebiotic environments on mineral formation and urea-based phosphorylation reactions
    4. Kelvin Smith: Mechanistic Investigation of Depsipeptides in the Early Earth Through Kinetic Monte Carlo Framework
    5. Petar Penev: Eukaryotic-like ribosomal RNA region in Lokiarchaeota

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch (MoSE 1st and 2nd floor atrium)

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Plenary 2 — Christopher Carr

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Afternoon Session 1 (Introduction: Taylor Plattner)

    1. Nadia Szeinbaum: Synthetic microbial consortia to explore cooperation on early Earth
    2. Anthony Burnetti:The dual origins of phototrophy and major evolutionary transitions.
    3. Devon Cole: Stability of atmospheric oxygen levels and ocean ventilation

3:00 – 3:15 PM: Coffee Break

3:15 – 5:00 PM: Afternoon Session 2 (Introduction: Chase Chivers)

    1. Chris SzotVertical Entry Robot for Navigating Europa (VERNE) Mission and System Design
    2. Loren Dean Williams: Polymers versus Metabolism
    3. Adriana Lozoya Colinas: DNA replication facilitated by a prebiotic solvent
    4. Aaron Pital: Semantic mining o chemical origins from non-chemistry disciplines

5:00-5:10: Closing Remarks

Poster Guidelines:

The poster boards we will be using have dimensions 36″ by 42″. You may choose to set your poster up in a portrait or landscape orientation.

The organizing committee:

Aaron Pital (Graduate Student, Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Chase Chivers (Graduate Student, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) 
Christina Buffo (Graduate Student, Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Tyler Roche (Graduate Student, Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Rebecca Guth-Metzler (Graduate Student, Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Taylor Plattner (Graduate Student, Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Micah Schaible (Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Funding and Support:

We are grateful for the funding and support provided by CSTAR, GT Conference Support, the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Frank Rosenzweig (NAI, CAN-7)