Free Live NSN Webinar Series: Astromycology in Space Exploration with Dr. Marta Filipa Simões
Join the NASA Night Sky Network on Wednesday, February 28, at 6:00 PM Pacific Time (9:00 PM Eastern) along with Dr. Marta Filipa Simões where we’ll discuss how fungal ecology and biodiversity can behave in outer space conditions.
Fungi hold immense promise as cell factories for a sustainable future. Their remarkable versatility, coupled with their ability to produce a vast array of valuable bioproducts, makes them indispensable allies in our efforts to address global challenges and create a more sustainable processes. By harnessing the power of these microbial marvels, we can pave the way for a future where biotechnology plays a pivotal role in addressing the pressing needs of humanity while safeguarding the delicate balance of our planet and our exploration of outerspace locations.
At the same time, fungi can also be critical since they can be responsible for the production of unwanted compounds (e.g., mycotoxins) and infect many different organisms, posing as a threat to our own health (as highlighted by the fungal priority pathogens list released by the World Health Organization), and therefore our survival outside our planet, especially in long term space missions.
For all of these reasons astromycology needs to better research the impact of fungi in space exploration, to develop new processes and technologies that can be safely used during space missions (and also transferred to our planet and daily lives), in order to better plan and implement safer and more sustainable space missions.
About Marta Filipa Simõesz:
Marta Filipa Simões is a microbiologist who has worked with a myriad of microorganisms (mycobacteria, environmental and clinical bacteria, mycobacteriophages, yeasts, and filamentous fungi) and has a multidisciplinary background with a particular focus on mycology (filamentous fungi). She graduated in Biotechnological Engineering, did a Master in clinical microbiology, and got her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering, in Portugal. She then did a postdoc in Saudi Arabia, at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and has worked in the UK at Edge Hill University (EHU) as a senior biology technician, a junior research fellow, and an associate tutor.
She is currently based in Macau (China), where she is working as an assistant professor on astrobiology, at the State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Sciences (SKLPlanets) located at the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST). She is establishing her research team on astromycology. Her current work is focused mostly on: fungal ecology, biodiversity in environmental analogues to outer-space conditions, bioprospection and application of filamentous fungi, and fungal growth containment and exploitation in outer-space similar conditions (e.g., simulated microgravity, and exposure to artificial regoliths).
The event will be streaming live on YouTube, but please note that questions asked over the NSN-members-only Zoom Q&A will be prioritized.