Sabrina Elkassas

Sabrina is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Joint Program in Chemical Oceanography. Her current research focuses on studying microbial life from extreme environments, such as deep-sea hydrothermal vents, serpentinite mud volcanoes, and terrestrial soda lakes, as analogs for life possible on other celestial bodies with oceans. She is part of NASA’s “Exploring Ocean Worlds” that includes investigators from all fields of astrobiology, chemistry, and geology. Her work is a mix of molecular, bioinformatic, and culture-based techniques with an emphasis on determining microbial community composition and function through metagenomics, RNA-Stable Isotope Probing (RNA-SIP), and metatranscriptomics. She is co-advised by Dr. Julie Huber and Dr. Jeffrey Seewald at WHOI.