His objective is to assess the organic species available for the origin and early evolution of life with a focus is on understanding the extraterrestrial input and origin of molecules relevant for life. This objective has been to study increasingly documented and constrained systems, from plausibly early Earth chemistry, chemistry of astrophysically relevant laboratory ices, organic and chiral analysis of meteorites, to analysis of sample returned material and how to protect that material from contamination. This research employs modern analytical methods to examine authentic samples of the early solar system as well as laboratory models of ancient environments which involves both directing research in the Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and scientific leadership in NASA sample return and in situ missions.
He received his A.B. degree with distinction in 1991 in biochemistry from Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. His research there was under the guidance of Professor Chris Craney. He attended graduate school at the University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA) in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the laboratory of Professor Stanley Miller and received his Ph.D. in 1997. He previoulsy was a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center through a cooperative agreement with the SETI Institute, where he worked in the Astrochemistry Laboratory within the Ames NAI Node.
He received more than 20 rewards and most of them within the institution, where we can highlight, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, in 2012, NASA Group Achievement Award, OSIRIS-REx Launch Service Team, NASA Silver Achievement Medal, OSIRIS-REx Project Management Team and Kennedy Space Center Group Achievement Award, OSIRIS-REx Launch Team, in 2017, NASA Group Achievement Award, OSIRIS-REx Earth Gravity Assist Team, in 2018, NASA Group Achievement Award, OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Approach and Preliminary Survey Team, in 2019 and American Astronautical Society Space Technology Award, OSIRIS-REx Team, in 2020.