John Grotzinger

Professor

The Grotzinger Group

Dustin Morris

Graduate Student

Daniela Osorio Rodriguez

Graduate Student

John Grotzinger

Professor

Ted Present

Postdoctoral Scholar

Cecilia Sanders

Graduate Student

ltrower(at)caltech(dot)edu

When I was very young, my parents wrote me a book, printed it out, and put it in a blue plastic binder that I keep on my desk to this day. It was called “Cecilia and The Bed of Bones” and concerned a little, brown girl exploring the hills of Montana for dinosaur fossils and other remains of ancient worlds. To date, I’ve yet to find any dinosaurs — but I AM a PhD student studying the origins and evolution of life. I am interested in how and why evidence of life and its building blocks is preserved — and why it often isn’t. I do this by describing and quantifying the sedimentology and stratigraphy of Pre-Cambrian rocks in Central Brazil, Southern Namibia, and the SW United States. And by growing chemotrophic micro-organisms under different conditions in the lab, to model ancient ecosystems and— alternately — their preservation and destruction. I focus mostly on carbonates, phosphorites, cherts, and their relationship to microfossils and microbial textures — and analyze them using IR, Visible, and X-Ray spectroscopy, good old microscopy, and — when applicable — mass spectrometry. When I’m not in the lab or in the field, I am designing and teaching elementary-level science curricula for the Pasadena Unified School System. (Go Cleveland Elementary Condors!) Recreationally, I illustrate both science/technical diagrams and fantasy characters/landscapes. And consume pop culture in every possible medium.

Eva Scheller

Graduate Student

Eliza Carter

Research Staff

Nathan Stein

Graduate Student