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Canadian Astrobiology Training Program (CATP) Research Seminars

Videoconferencing. A unique feature of our program that allows us to easily cross disciplines and promote further interdisciplinarity is our ability to hold virtual meetings and share seminars by videoconference. Western has recently purchased a site licence for Wimba Collaboration Suite, allowing live lectures across the internet with sharing of slides and live question and answer sessions. McGill’s Montreal Neurological Institute possesses a teleconference room for similar sharing of courses. Throughout the program a bi-monthly Astrobiology seminar series will be available to all members. Presentations will be given by CATP Co-Is, collaborators, recruits, and invitees and will be videotaped and digitally archived for future viewing to build a strong library of lectures. As the program progresses, the feasibility of sharing established and new courses among institutions will be investigated. Member institutions currently offer or will be offering ideal courses for this program as follows: McGill’s undergraduate Astrobiology course; UWO’s graduate seminar in planetary science, impact cratering course, and a graduate level astrobiology course (in development, Banerjee and Osinski); McMaster, a planned Astrobiology graduate course and planned specialized Exoplanets graduate course (source: NSERC CATP Astrobiology Proposal 2008/09/29)

Seminars 2013-14:

Date Presenter Institution Title

April 30, 2014

Dr. George Whitesides

Harvard University


March 26, 2014

Dr. Kevin Hand

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Icy moons as astrobiology targets

February 26, 2014

Dr. Jennifer Biddle

University of Delaware

Deep biosphere

January 29, 2014

Dr. Zita Martins

University College London

Impact-generated synthesis of amino acids

December 18, 2013

Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar

University of Toronto

Ancient water (Postponed)

November 27, 2013

Dr. Rory Barnes

University of Washington

Formation, evolution and habitability of planets

October 30, 2013

Dr. Lyle Whyte

McGill University

Grant Writing 101 (professional training)

Seminars 2012-13:

Date Presenter Institution Title

April 24, 2013

Dr. Craig Marshall

University of Kansas


March 27, 2013

Dr. Douglas Bartlett

SCRIPPS Institute of Oceanography

Exploring Beyond the Abyss on the James Cameron Deepsea Challenge Expedition

February 27, 2013

Dr. Roger Wiens

Los Alamos NL


January 30, 2013

Dr. Ken Stedman

Portland State University

Viruses from hell (and beyond): A primer on Astrovirology

December 12, 2012

Dr. Victoria Meadows

University of Washington

Detecting Distant Signs of Habitability and Life

November 30, 2012

Dr. Chris McKay

NASA Ames Research Center

The search for life on other planets; update from the Mars Curiosity Rover

October 31, 2012

Dr. Jan Amend

University of Southern California

Life Underground: Direct and Indirect Studies of Microbial Function

Seminars 2011-12:

Date Presenter Institution Title

April 25, 2012

Dr. Dawn Sumner

University of California - Davis

To be determined

March 28, 2012

Dr. John C Priscu

Montana State University

Microbial Habitats on Icy Worlds in our Solar System

February 29, 2012

Dr. Andrew Steele

Carnegie Institution for Science

The search for Life on Mars - a perspective

February 08, 2012

Dr. Nilton O Renno

University of Michigan

NASA Phoenix - Brines on Mars

December 14, 2011

Dr. David J Des Marais


Exploring Mars for evidence of habitable environments and life.

November 30, 2011

Dr. Denis Lacelle

University of Ottawa

The use of stable isotopes in Astrobiology: from tracing the origin of water to detecting evidence of life

October 26, 2011

To be rescheduled

September 28, 2011

Dr. Hojatollah Vali

McGill University

Biogenic magnetite as a robust biosignature

Seminars 2010-11:

Date Presenter Institution Title

May 31, 2011

Prof. Malcolm Walter

University of New South Wales

The first two billion years of life on Earth: the view from Australia

April 8, 2011

Dr. Darlene Lim

NASA Ames Research Center

Pavilion Lake Research Project: Using Underwater Field Science to Prepare Humans for Future Planetary Exploration

March 25, 2011

Dr. Barbara Sherwood-Lollar

University of Toronto

The Network for Inner Space Observatories: a new view of possible astrobiology analog sites

March 11, 2011

Prof. Charles Cockell

The Open University

Habitats and vacant habitats for chemolithotrophs on Mars

February 25, 2011

Reading Week

Study Break

No Seminar Held

February 11, 2011 (joint seminar)

Dr. Greg Slater

McMaster University

Investigating Signatures of the Origins and Processing of Volatile Fatty Acids

February 11, 2011 (joint seminar)

Dr. Chris Herd

University of Alberta

Organic Matter in the Tagish Lake Meteorite: A Unique Perspective on Parent Body Processing

January 28, 2011

postponed to April 8, 2011

January 14, 2011

Dr. Ralph Pudritz

McMaster University

Equipping Planets for Life

December 10, 2010

Dr. Gordon Southam

University of Western Ontario

Biogeochemical Processes from the Perspective of Bacteria

November 26, 2010

Dr. Richard Leveille

Canadian Space Agency

Little Red Bugs: mineralized iron oxidizing bacteria as possible biosignatures on Early Earth and Mars

November 12, 2010

Dr. Jay Nadeau

McGill University

Advanced Microscopic Techniques for In Situ Life Detection

October 22, 2010

Dr. Ed Cloutis

University of Winnipeg

Searching for Life on Mars by "Following the Methane"

October 8, 2010

Dr. Lyle Whyte (CATP Principal Investigator)

McGill University

Searching for Little Green Bugs and Methane in the Canadian High Arctic

Seminars 2009-10:

Date Presenter Institution Title

April 23, 2010

Dr. Louisa Preston (postdoctoral fellow)

Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration at the University of Western Ontario

Microbes in Minerals, Mars and More, explores the detection of biomarkers within rocks up to 400 Ma old using mid infra-red spectroscopy. Biomarkers found within hydrothermal environments, acid mine drainage systems and volcanic glasses will be discussed as well as the history and potential for finding life on Mars and how, if this life was ever present, would bethe best ways to detect it

April 09, 2010

Dr. Ed. Cloutis (CATP Co-Investigator)

University of Winnipeg

Tour of astrobiology-related analogue sites in Manitoba

March 26, 2010

Dr. Lynn Rothschild

NASA Ames Research Center

Replaying the tape” is an intriguing ‘would it happen again?’ exercise. With respect to broad evolutionary innovations, such as photosynthesis, the answers are central to our search for life elsewhere.

March 12, 2010

Dr. Victoria Hipkin

Canadian Space Agency

Mars Missions and Astrobiology

February 26, 2010

Dr. Lyle Whyte (CATP Principal Investigator)

McGill University

CATP Introduction: Canadian Astrobiology Training Program