Lisa Pratt is a professor emerita in the IU Bloomington Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences and planetary protection officer at NASA. Her research focuses on understanding life’s adaptations to extreme environments on Earth and on working with engineers to solve robotic challenges associated with the search for evidence of past or present life on Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
Her biogeochemical research on microbial transformation of simple inorganic molecules has been funded for two decades by NASA and the National Science Foundation. Pratt served as a team director at the NASA Astrobiology Institute from 2003 to 2008 and as chair of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group from 2013 to 2016. She has also been a member of the Return Sample Science Board for the Mars 2020 Rover mission, which is responsible for advanced planning related to the safe transportation of Martian samples to Earth for analysis.
She holds a Ph.D. in geology from Princeton University, a master’s degree in geology from the University of North Carolina and a master’s degree in botany from the University of Illinois.
Areas of Expertise
Earth and atmospheric sciences, astrobiology, space exploration, extreme environments, extremophiles, extraterrestrial life