Ralph Pudritz (McMaster U.) is the founding Director of the Origins Institute (OI) and has played an important role in the development of Astrobiology at the OI, including sponsorship of an international conference on Astrobiology in 2005 (see http://origins.mcmaster.ca/conferences.php). His research focuses on star and planet formation and carries out both theoretical calculations as well as sophisticated computational HPC simulations of these processes and conducts state-of-the-art investigations of the evolution of exoplanets within their host gas disks in order to investigate how such planets migrate so close to their host stars. This research connects the chemistry of protoplanetary disks with the study of biomolecules and water in meteorites and their delivery to terrestrial planets. His research group offers an excellent environment in which CATP trainees will learn and master the art of computational simulations of protoplanetary disks, disk chemistry, exoplanetary formation and migration, biomolecule formation, and biomolecular delivery to planets by meteoritic bombardment. Students will work on the advanced HPC facilities of the OI SHARCNET cluster. CATP trainees will be in close contact with CATP researchers whose work focuses on biomolecular signatures - particularly those that result from meteoritic impacts (e.g. work of Osinski), with applications to signatures that can be expected in polar sites as well as on the surfaces of cold planets such as Mars.
For further information on Ralph Pudritz, please see Dr. Pudritz's web site