Jennifer L Eigenbrode

Photo of JENNIFER EIGENBRODE

Jennifer L Eigenbrode

  • (AST, PLANETARY STUDIES)
  • 301.614.5967
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 699
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: NASA
  • Brief Bio

    Jennifer Eigenbrode is a biogeochemist and geologist with expertise in organic and isotope biogeochemistry and interests in astrobiology. She specializes in the use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) in the analysis of lipids and other hydrocarbons in rocks, ice, and biological samples. Eigenbrode studied at James Madison University (B.S. 1994), US Geological Survey (1996), Indiana University (M.S., 1999), Penn State University (Ph.D., 2004) and the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington (postdoctoral fellowship, 2004-2006), where she worked on a variety of interdisciplinary studies including paleoclimate records, Precambrian microbial ecology, and organic biosignatures in Mars analogs.  In 2007, she joined the Planetary Environments Laboratory (code 699) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to work on the Science Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite being flown on the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Her current research platform includes investigations of biosignatures in Mars analogs (rocks and ice), evolution of Earth's early biosphere, and isotopic analysis of organics in sample return materials, and development of organic detection techniques. 

    Current Projects

    Science Analysis at Mars (SAM)

    Science Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation of gases and organic molecules on the Martian surface during NASA’s 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Eigenbrode’s involvement includes support for calibration, lead of the thermochemolysis experiment development, and participation on the MSL Landing Site Working Group, and mission operations training. (SAM collaborator)

    Preservation of organic matter in soda lake sediments

    This investigation focuses on understanding the initial preservation of organic matter in these environments and optimizing detection methods to assess this record. The sulfate-rich brine of soda lakes makes them an analog to ancient sulfate lake deposits on Mars.

    Signatures of Life in Ice (SLIce) project

    Signatures of Life in Ice (SLIce) project aims to understand the organic inventory and inorganic impurities of surface glacial ice in Svalbard as a means of supporting planetary missions for detecting organic materials in ice beyond Earth (mars, Enceladus, Titan, Europa, etc.) (SLIce principal investigator; funded by NASA Exobiology and Mars Fundamental Research Programs)

    Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE)

    Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) focuses on understanding the geological context of and organic molecules in Mars analog rocks in the field and lab. The current project aims to evaluate acquisition and preservation of samples as in a Mars sample return mission scenario. (AMASE Co-investigator; funded by NASA Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) Program)

    Sample Preparation Methods for integrated organic-detection technologies

    Sample preparation methods for integrative technologies that focus on observing organic molecules in planetary and satellite rocks, ices, and sediments. Goddard’s Internal Research and Development program fund this research and development work.

    Molecular signatures of ancient and recent organic matter in iron-oxide/oxyhydroxide-rich surface environments

    This work includes the development and application of innovative techniques for extracting molecular information from these chemically unique samples. This work is funded by the Goddard Center for Astrobiology of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

    Isotopic heterogeneity of ancient sedimentary organic matter

    Positions/Employment

    2007 - Present

    Space Scientist

    NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Solar System Exploration Division, Planetary Environments Laboratory, Greenbelt, MD
    2004 - 2007

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC
    2000 - 2003

    Astrobiology Research Assistant and Fellow

    Penn State University, State College, PA
    1997 - 1998

    Shell Oil Research Fellow

    Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
    1996 - 1996

    Intern

    Shell Deepwater Development, New Orleans, LA
    1995 - 1996

    Visiting Technical Assistant

    University of Texas, Institute for Geophysics, Austin, TX
    1994 - 1995

    Consultant and Intern

    US Geological Survey, Environmental Geophysics, Golden, CO

    Education

    • Ph.D. in Geosciences (2004), Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA. Thesis: Late Archean Microbial Ecology: An Integration of Molecular, Isotopic, and Lithologic Records.
    • M.S. in Geological Sciences (1999), Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA. Thesis: Late Holocene High-Resolution Terrestrial Climate Change Recorded in Sedimentary Organic Matter of Soda Lake, San Luis Obispo County, California.
    • B.S. in Geology (1994), James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA. Thesis: Clay Mineralogy of River Terrace Soils, Augusta County, Virginia.

    Publications

    Refereed

    Czaja, A. D., C. M. Johnson, B. L. Beard, et al. J. L. Eigenbrode, K. H. Freeman, and K. E. Yamaguchi. 2010. "Iron and carbon isotope evidence for ecosystem and environmental diversity in the ~27 to 25 Ga Hamersley Province, Western Australia." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 292 70-80 [10.1016/j.epsl.2010.01.032]

    Eigenbrode, J. L., K. H. Freeman, and R. E. Summons. 2009. "Methylhopane biomarker hydrocarbons in Hamersley province sediments provide evidence for Neoarchean aerobiosis." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 273 323-331 [10.1016/j.epsl.2008.06.037]

    Eigenbrode, J. L., L. Benning, J. Maule, et al. N. Wainwright, A. Steele, H. E. Amundsen, and AMASE 2006 team. 2009. "An In-field organic decontamination protocol for sampling devices used in life-detection studies." Astrobiology 9 (5): 455-465 [10.1089=ast.2008.0275]

    Eigenbrode, J. L. 2007. "Fossil lipids for life detection: A case study from the early Earth record." Space Science Reviews 135 161-185 [10.1007/s11214-007-9252-9]

    Eigenbrode, J. L., and K. H. Freeman. 2006. "Late Archean rise of aerobic microbial ecosystems." Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 103 (43): 15759–15764 [10.1073/pnas.0607540103]

    Ono, S., J. L. Eigenbrode, A. A. Pavlov, et al. P. Kharecha, D. Rumble, J. F. Kasting, and K. H. Freeman. 2003. "New insights into Archean sulfur cycle from mass-independent sulfur isotope records from the Hamersley Basin, Australia." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 213 (1-2): 15-30 [10.1016/S0012-821X(03)00295-4]

    Pavlov, A. A., J. F. Kasting, J. L. Eigenbrode, and K. H. Freeman. 2001. "Organic haze in Earth’s early atmosphere: Source of low-13C Late Archean kerogens?" Geology 29 1003-1006

    Basu, A., and J. L. Eigenbrode. 1998. "A laboratory exercise on cratering in a geology course for non-science majors." Journal of Geoscience Education 46 164-168

    Non-Refereed

    Des Marais, D. J., L. E. Borg, D. W. Beaty, J. L. Eigenbrode, and Et al.. 2008. "Science Priorities for Mars Sample Return." Astrobiology 8 489-535 [10.1089/ast.2008.0759]

    Brief Bio

    Jennifer Eigenbrode is a biogeochemist and geologist with expertise in organic and isotope biogeochemistry and interests in astrobiology. She specializes in the use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) in the analysis of lipids and other hydrocarbons in rocks, ice, and biological samples. Eigenbrode studied at James Madison University (B.S. 1994), US Geological Survey (1996), Indiana University (M.S., 1999), Penn State University (Ph.D., 2004) and the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington (postdoctoral fellowship, 2004-2006), where she worked on a variety of interdisciplinary studies including paleoclimate records, Precambrian microbial ecology, and organic biosignatures in Mars analogs.  In 2007, she joined the Planetary Environments Laboratory (code 699) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to work on the Science Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite being flown on the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Her current research platform includes investigations of biosignatures in Mars analogs (rocks and ice), evolution of Earth's early biosphere, and isotopic analysis of organics in sample return materials, and development of organic detection techniques. 

    Refereed

    Czaja, A. D., C. M. Johnson, B. L. Beard, et al. J. L. Eigenbrode, K. H. Freeman, and K. E. Yamaguchi. 2010. "Iron and carbon isotope evidence for ecosystem and environmental diversity in the ~27 to 25 Ga Hamersley Province, Western Australia." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 292 70-80 [10.1016/j.epsl.2010.01.032]

    Eigenbrode, J. L., K. H. Freeman, and R. E. Summons. 2009. "Methylhopane biomarker hydrocarbons in Hamersley province sediments provide evidence for Neoarchean aerobiosis." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 273 323-331 [10.1016/j.epsl.2008.06.037]

    Eigenbrode, J. L., L. Benning, J. Maule, et al. N. Wainwright, A. Steele, H. E. Amundsen, and AMASE 2006 team. 2009. "An In-field organic decontamination protocol for sampling devices used in life-detection studies." Astrobiology 9 (5): 455-465 [10.1089=ast.2008.0275]

    Eigenbrode, J. L. 2007. "Fossil lipids for life detection: A case study from the early Earth record." Space Science Reviews 135 161-185 [10.1007/s11214-007-9252-9]

    Eigenbrode, J. L., and K. H. Freeman. 2006. "Late Archean rise of aerobic microbial ecosystems." Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 103 (43): 15759–15764 [10.1073/pnas.0607540103]

    Ono, S., J. L. Eigenbrode, A. A. Pavlov, et al. P. Kharecha, D. Rumble, J. F. Kasting, and K. H. Freeman. 2003. "New insights into Archean sulfur cycle from mass-independent sulfur isotope records from the Hamersley Basin, Australia." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 213 (1-2): 15-30 [10.1016/S0012-821X(03)00295-4]

    Pavlov, A. A., J. F. Kasting, J. L. Eigenbrode, and K. H. Freeman. 2001. "Organic haze in Earth’s early atmosphere: Source of low-13C Late Archean kerogens?" Geology 29 1003-1006

    Basu, A., and J. L. Eigenbrode. 1998. "A laboratory exercise on cratering in a geology course for non-science majors." Journal of Geoscience Education 46 164-168

    Non-Refereed

    Des Marais, D. J., L. E. Borg, D. W. Beaty, J. L. Eigenbrode, and Et al.. 2008. "Science Priorities for Mars Sample Return." Astrobiology 8 489-535 [10.1089/ast.2008.0759]

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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