Jennifer Macalady

Jennifer “Jenn” Macalady is an Associate Professor and geomicrobiologist in the Department of Geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University, where she studies microbial life on earth and the possibility for life on other planets. She earned her B.A. in Geology from Carleton College in 1991, and her Ph.D. in Soil Microbiology at University of California-Davis in 2000. She pursued postdoctoral research at University of California-Berkeley under the mentorship of Jillian Banfield, and briefly returned to Carleton College as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 2002. She accepted a permanent position at Penn State in 2004, where she has served as Director of the Center for Environmental Geochemistry and Genomics, Faculty-in-charge of the Graduate Program in Biogeochemistry, and Director of the Penn State Astrobiology Research Center. She can often be found underground in the deep and sulfidic Frasassi cave system, Italy, or with cave divers exploring inland blue holes and stratified aquifers in the Caribbean.