Dr. Shapiro is also the author or co-author of books that include Origins: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth and Life Beyond Earth. His research has been supported by numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and other organizations. Dr. Shapiro is the recipient of the 2004 Trotter Prize in Information, Complexity and Inference and he has received a National Institutes of Health Career Development Award. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the New York Academy of Sciences. Although Dr. Shapiro had no prior NRC committee experience, he participated in the formulation of the current study by virtue of the key role he played in the April 2002 Weird Life Workshop sponsored by the SSB/BLS Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life.
MITCHELL L. SOGIN is director of the Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution at the Marine Biological Laboratory. His research interests emphasize molecular phylogeny and the evolution of eukaryotic ribosomal RNAs. He is a member of the American Society of Microbiology, the Society of Protozoologists, the International Society of Evolutionary Protozoologists, the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Society for Cell Biology. Dr. Sogin is a former member of the Space Studies Board, an associate fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, a division lecturer for the American Society of Microbiology, a recipient of the Stoll Stunkard Award from the American Society of Parasitologists, a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and a visiting Miller Research Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He was a member of the NRC Committee on Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars.
JEFFREY L. STEIN is currently a Kauffman Fellow at Sofinnova Ventures. Dr. Stein has held a number of senior scientific and management positions in the biopharmaceutical industry. He was a founder, director, executive vice president, and chief scientific officer of Quorex Pharmaceuticals. Prior to co-founding Quorex, he was principal scientist at Diversa Corporation, where he founded and led both the small-molecule discovery team and the microbial diversity group. Dr. Stein was formerly a principal investigator at the Agouron Institute in La Jolla, Calif., where he pioneered the cloning and expression of multi-gene small-molecule pathways from microbial genomes. Additionally, he currently holds research positions in the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine and the Marine Biology Research Division at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Stein received his Ph.D. from UCSD and conducted postdoctoral research as an Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech in the laboratory of Melvin Simon.
ROGER SUMMONS is a professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a member of the Earth System Initiative, under which he and his team work in collaboration with microbiologists and ecologists to identify and study environmentally and geologically significant processes that are mediated by microorganisms. His laboratory research focuses on the biogeochemistry of microbial ecosystems, chemistry of biomarkers-molecular fossils, isotopic biosignatures, geochemistry of petroleum, and co-evolution of life and Earth’s surface environment. Dr. Summons is a fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. His NRC experience includes membership on the Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life (2003-2006).
JACK W. SZOSTAK is the Alexander Rich Distinguished Investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. A distinguished molecular biologist, Dr. Szostak has made groundbreaking contributions in several different areas of biology, most recently to the understanding of the origins of biological catalysis. He has contributed more than 100 articles to scientific journals. He served as co-chair of the Nucleic Acids Gordon Research Conference in 1993 and of the Keystone Symposium on RNA in 1996, and he was the Harvey Society Lecturer in 1998. Dr. Szostak was awarded, along with Gerald Joyce, the National Academy of Sciences Award in molecular biology in 1994 and the Hans Sigrist Prize from the University of Bern in 1997. He participated in the SSB’s workshop “Research Issues Regarding Alternative Life Forms (Weird Life).”