Dr. Michael P Callahan

Photo of MICHAEL CALLAHAN

Dr. Michael P Callahan

  • RESEARCH AST, SOLAR SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
  • 301.286.1548
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 691
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: NASA
  • Positions/Employment

    2010 - Present

    Research Physical Scientist

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory

    Education

    Ph.D., Physical/Analytical Chemistry, University of California Santa Barbara, 2008

    B.S., Chemistry (magna cum laude), University of Rhode Island, 2001

    Research Interests

    Some of my research interests include:

    Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Astrobiology, Origin of Life, Prebiotic Chemistry, Instrument Development, Analytical Method Development, Meteorites, Comets, Laboratory Simulations for Meteoritic, Cometary, and Early Earth Chemistry, Formation Mechanisms of Organics in Meteorites and Comets, Energetic Processing of Organics, Sample Analysis of Return Samples, Properties of Nucleobases and Other Nitrogen Heterocycles

    Brief Bio

    Dr. Callahan is a research physical scientist in the Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  His research focuses on the study of organic matter in meteorites with an emphasis on nitrogen heterocyclic compounds. He uses a variety of analytical techniques (gas and liquid chromatography, optical spectroscopy, and high resolution mass spectrometry) to (1) investigate the distribution and abundance of nitrogen heterocycles and amino acids in carbonaceous meteorites and elucidate their formation mechanisms by comparative analysis of laboratory analogs, (2) characterize the soluble organics in carbonaceous meteorites to understand the organic chemical diversity within different meteorite groups at the molecular level, and (3) develop state-of-the-art methods for the analysis of organics in microscale samples.

    His research on nucleobases and nucleobase analogs in carbonaceous meteorites has received national and international coverage (including CNN, TIME, The Washington Post, and Popular Science). He was also featured on the Discovery Science Channel show “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” (Season 3, Episode 1). He was awarded the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award in Science (2011) and the NASA Early Career Achievement Medal (2012) for his outstanding contributions to the analysis of extraterrestrial nucleobases in carbonaceous chondrites.  He has also published over 30 peer-reviewed research articles.
     
    For his Ph.D. dissertation, he investigated the photophysics of isolated nucleobases by using a combination of laser desorption, supersonic jet cooling, resonant two-photon ionization, and mass spectrometry under the guidance of Prof. Mattanjah S. de Vries (UC Santa Barbara). After earning his Ph.D. in 2008, he was awarded a NASA postdoctoral program fellowship (2008-2010) to investigate the extraterrestrial origin of nucleobases in carbonaceous chondrites under the guidance of Dr. Jason P. Dworkin.

    Awards

    Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award in Outreach, Team Award (2013)

    NASA Early Career Achievement Medal (2012)

    Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award in Science (2011)
     

    NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship (2008-2010)

    4-time recipient of California space grant graduate fellowship (2005 - 2007)

    UC Santa Barbara doctoral student travel award (2007)
     
    Interdisciplinary Humanities Center graduate project collaborative award (2007)
     
    8th NASA exobiology principal investigator’s symposium student travel award (2005)
     
    UC Santa Barbara dean’s special fellowship (2002)
     
    UC Santa Barbara chemistry department fellowship (2002)
     
    Phi Beta Kappa national honor society (2001)
     
    University of Rhode Island chemistry department award (2001)
     
    Golden Key national honor society (2001)
     
    Pi Mu Epsilon mathematics national honor society (2000)
     
    University of Rhode Island ACS analytical chemistry award (2000)
     
    Phi Eta Sigma national honor society (1998)

    Selected Publications

    Refereed

    Callahan, M. P., M. G. Martin, A. S. Burton, D. P. Glavin, and J. P. Dworkin. 2014. "Amino acid analysis in micrograms of meteorite sample by nanoliquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry." Journal of Chromatography A 1332 30-34

    Smith, K. E., M. P. Callahan, P. A. Gerakines, J. P. Dworkin, and C. H. House. 2014. "Investigation of pyridine carboxylic acids in CM2 carbonaceous chondrites: Potential precursor molecules for ancient coenzymes." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 136, 1-12.

    Callahan, M. P., A. S. Burton, J. E. Elsila, et al. E. M. Baker, K. E. Smith, D. P. Glavin, and J. P. Dworkin. 2013. "A search for amino acids and nucleobases in the Martian meteorite Roberts Massif 04262 using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 48 (5): 786–795 [10.1111/maps.12103]

    McGovern, P. E., B. P. Luley, N. Rovira, et al. A. Mirzoian, M. P. Callahan, K. E. Smith, G. R. Hall, and T. Davidson. 2013. "Beginning of viniculture in France." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110 (25): 10147-10152 [10.1073/pnas.1216126110]

    Callahan, M. P., P. A. Gerakines, M. G. Martin, Z. Peeters, and R. L. Hudson. 2013. "Irradiated benzene ice provides clues to meteoritic organic chemistry." Icarus 226 (2): 1201-1209 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1016/j.icarus.2013.07.033]

    Burton, A. S., J. Elsila, M. P. Callahan, et al. M. G. Martin, D. Glavin, N. M. Johnson, and J. Dworkin. 2012. "A propensity for n-ω-amino acids in thermally altered Antarctic meteorites." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 47 374-386.

    Glavin, D. P., J. E. Elsila, A. S. Burton, et al. M. P. Callahan, J. P. Dworkin, R. W. Hilts, and C. D. Herd. 2012. "Unusual nonterrestrial l-proteinogenic amino acid excesses in the Tagish Lake meteorite." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 47 1347-1364.

    Elsila, J. E., M. P. Callahan, D. P. Glavin, J. P. Dworkin, and H. Bruckner. 2011. "Distribution and Stable Isotopic Composition of Amino Acids from Fungal Peptaibiotics: Assessing the Potential for Meteoritic Contamination." Astrobiology 11 (2): 123-133

    Abo-Riziq, A., L. Grace, B. Crews, et al. M. P. Callahan, T. van Mourik, and M. S. de Vries. 2011. "Conformational Structure of Tyrosine, Tyrosyl-glycine, and Tyrosyl-glycyl-glycine by Double Resonance Spectroscopy." Journal of Physical Chemistry A 115 (23): 6077-6087

    Parker, E. T., H. J. Cleaves, J. P. Dworkin, et al. D. P. Glavin, M. P. Callahan, A. D. Aubrey, A. Lazcano, and J. L. Bada. 2011. "Primordial synthesis of amines and amino acids in a 1958 Miller H2S-rich spark discharge experiment." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108 (14): 5526-5531

    Herd, C. D., A. Blinova, D. N. Simkus, et al. Y. Huang, R. Tarozo, C. M. Alexander, F. Gyngard, L. R. Nittler, G. D. Cody, M. L. Fogel, Y. Kebukawa, A. D. Kilcoyne, R. W. Hilts, G. F. Slater, D. P. Glavin, J. P. Dworkin, M. P. Callahan, J. E. Elsila, B. T. De Gregorio, and R. M. Stroud. 2011. "Origin and Evolution of Prebiotic Organic Matter As Inferred from the Tagish Lake Meteorite." Science 332 (6035): 1304-1307

    Callahan, M. P., K. E. Smith, H. J. Cleaves, et al. J. Ruzicka, J. C. Stern, D. P. Glavin, C. H. House, and J. P. Dworkin. 2011. "Carbonaceous meteorites contain a wide range of extraterrestrial nucleobases." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108 (34): 13995-13998

    Gengeliczki, Z., M. P. Callahan, M. Kabelac, A. M. Rijs, and M. S. de Vries. 2011. "Structure of 2,4-diaminopyrimidine – theobromine alternate base pairs." Journal of Physical Chemistry A 115 (41): 11423-11427

    Nachtigallova, D., H. Lischka, J. J. Szymczak, et al. M. Barbatti, P. Hobza, Z. Gengeliczki, G. Pino, M. P. Callahan, and M. S. de Vries. 2010. "The effects of C5 substitution on the photochemistry of uracil." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 12 4924-4933

    Gengeliczki, Z., M. P. Callahan, N. Svadlenak, et al. C. I. Pongor, B. Sztaray, L. Meerts, D. Nachtigallova, P. Hobza, M. Barbatti, H. Lischka, and M. S. de Vries. 2010. "Effect of substituents on the excited-state dynamics of the modified DNA bases 2,4-diaminopyrimidine and 2,6-diaminopurine." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 12 (20): 5375-5388

    Glavin, D. P., M. P. Callahan, J. P. Dworkin, and J. E. Elsila. 2010. "The effects of parent body processes on amino acids in carbonaceous chondrites." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 45 1948-1872.

    Callahan, M. P., Z. Gengeliczki, and M. S. de Vries. 2008. "Resonant two-photon ionization mass spectrometry of jet-cooled phenolic acids and polyphenols." Analytical Chemistry 80 (6): 2199-2203

    Callahan, M. P., Z. Gengeliczki, N. Svadlenak, et al. H. Valdes, P. Hobza, and M. S. de Vries. 2008. "Non-standard base pairing and stacked structures in methylxanthine clusters." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 10 (19): 2819-2826

    Callahan, M. P., A. G. Abo-Riziq, B. Crews, L. Grace, and M. S. de Vries. 2008. "Isomer discrimination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Murchison meteorite by resonant ionization." Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 71 (4): 1492-1495

    Callahan, M. P., B. Crews, A. Abo-Riziq, et al. L. Grace, M. S. de Vries, Z. Gengeliczki, T. M. Holmes, and G. A. Hill. 2007. "IR-UV double resonance spectroscopy of xanthine." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 9 (32): 4587-4591

    Abo-Riziq, A., B. O. Crews, M. P. Callahan, L. Grace, and M. S. de Vries. 2006. "Spectroscopy of Isolated Gramicidin Peptides." Angewandte Chemie 118 (31): 5290-5293

    Abo-Riziq, A., J. E. Bushnell, B. Crews, et al. M. P. Callahan, L. Grace, and M. S. de Vries. 2006. "Gas Phase Spectroscopy of the pentapeptide FDASV." Chemical Physics Letters 431 (4-6): 227-230

    Crews, B., A. Abo-Riziq, L. Grace, et al. M. P. Callahan, P. Hobza, and M. S. de Vries. 2005. "IR-UV double resonance spectroscopy of guanine-H2O clusters." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 7 (16): 3015-3020

    Professional Societies

    American Chemical Society, 2000 - Present

    Selected Public Outreach

    Mentor for high school student in Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory (summer 2012) 2012 - 2012
    I served as a mentor to a high school student from Bullis School (Potomac, MD). The research project investigated Martian meteorites for amino acids.  This research was published in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science and included the high school student as a co-author.
    Co-Chair for the 2010 Gordon Research Seminar on Origin of Life (Galveston, TX) 3 / 2009 - 1 / 2010

    Peer-selected co-chair of the Gordon Research Conference GRS on Origin of Life (January 9-10, 2010 in Galveston, TX) and was responsible for planning, programming, development, oversight, scheduling, and overall management of resources for scientific conference.

    Mentor, California Alliance for Minority Participation, UC Santa Barbara (2007 - 2008) 2007 - 2008

    Mentored an undergraduate student in the synthesis and laser spectroscopy of pyrimidine analogs.

    Mentor, Research Mentorship Program, UC Santa Barbara 6 / 2006 - 8 / 2006

    Mentored two high school students in the UCSB research mentorship program and developed project to investigate trace aromatic organic molecules using laser mass spectrometry in analog samples simulating archaeological cooking pottery.  Project consisted of constructing ceramic vessels, performing model cooking studies, performing Soxhlet extractions, and trace analysis of aromatic compounds by laser mass spectrometry.

    Brief Bio

    Dr. Callahan is a research physical scientist in the Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  His research focuses on the study of organic matter in meteorites with an emphasis on nitrogen heterocyclic compounds. He uses a variety of analytical techniques (gas and liquid chromatography, optical spectroscopy, and high resolution mass spectrometry) to (1) investigate the distribution and abundance of nitrogen heterocycles and amino acids in carbonaceous meteorites and elucidate their formation mechanisms by comparative analysis of laboratory analogs, (2) characterize the soluble organics in carbonaceous meteorites to understand the organic chemical diversity within different meteorite groups at the molecular level, and (3) develop state-of-the-art methods for the analysis of organics in microscale samples.

    His research on nucleobases and nucleobase analogs in carbonaceous meteorites has received national and international coverage (including CNN, TIME, The Washington Post, and Popular Science). He was also featured on the Discovery Science Channel show “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” (Season 3, Episode 1). He was awarded the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award in Science (2011) and the NASA Early Career Achievement Medal (2012) for his outstanding contributions to the analysis of extraterrestrial nucleobases in carbonaceous chondrites.  He has also published over 30 peer-reviewed research articles.
     
    For his Ph.D. dissertation, he investigated the photophysics of isolated nucleobases by using a combination of laser desorption, supersonic jet cooling, resonant two-photon ionization, and mass spectrometry under the guidance of Prof. Mattanjah S. de Vries (UC Santa Barbara). After earning his Ph.D. in 2008, he was awarded a NASA postdoctoral program fellowship (2008-2010) to investigate the extraterrestrial origin of nucleobases in carbonaceous chondrites under the guidance of Dr. Jason P. Dworkin.

    Refereed

    Callahan, M. P., M. G. Martin, A. S. Burton, D. P. Glavin, and J. P. Dworkin. 2014. "Amino acid analysis in micrograms of meteorite sample by nanoliquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry." Journal of Chromatography A 1332 30-34

    Smith, K. E., M. P. Callahan, P. A. Gerakines, J. P. Dworkin, and C. H. House. 2014. "Investigation of pyridine carboxylic acids in CM2 carbonaceous chondrites: Potential precursor molecules for ancient coenzymes." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 136, 1-12.

    Callahan, M. P., A. S. Burton, J. E. Elsila, et al. E. M. Baker, K. E. Smith, D. P. Glavin, and J. P. Dworkin. 2013. "A search for amino acids and nucleobases in the Martian meteorite Roberts Massif 04262 using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 48 (5): 786–795 [10.1111/maps.12103]

    McGovern, P. E., B. P. Luley, N. Rovira, et al. A. Mirzoian, M. P. Callahan, K. E. Smith, G. R. Hall, and T. Davidson. 2013. "Beginning of viniculture in France." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110 (25): 10147-10152 [10.1073/pnas.1216126110]

    Callahan, M. P., P. A. Gerakines, M. G. Martin, Z. Peeters, and R. L. Hudson. 2013. "Irradiated benzene ice provides clues to meteoritic organic chemistry." Icarus 226 (2): 1201-1209 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1016/j.icarus.2013.07.033]

    Burton, A. S., J. Elsila, M. P. Callahan, et al. M. G. Martin, D. Glavin, N. M. Johnson, and J. Dworkin. 2012. "A propensity for n-ω-amino acids in thermally altered Antarctic meteorites." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 47 374-386.

    Glavin, D. P., J. E. Elsila, A. S. Burton, et al. M. P. Callahan, J. P. Dworkin, R. W. Hilts, and C. D. Herd. 2012. "Unusual nonterrestrial l-proteinogenic amino acid excesses in the Tagish Lake meteorite." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 47 1347-1364.

    Elsila, J. E., M. P. Callahan, D. P. Glavin, J. P. Dworkin, and H. Bruckner. 2011. "Distribution and Stable Isotopic Composition of Amino Acids from Fungal Peptaibiotics: Assessing the Potential for Meteoritic Contamination." Astrobiology 11 (2): 123-133

    Abo-Riziq, A., L. Grace, B. Crews, et al. M. P. Callahan, T. van Mourik, and M. S. de Vries. 2011. "Conformational Structure of Tyrosine, Tyrosyl-glycine, and Tyrosyl-glycyl-glycine by Double Resonance Spectroscopy." Journal of Physical Chemistry A 115 (23): 6077-6087

    Parker, E. T., H. J. Cleaves, J. P. Dworkin, et al. D. P. Glavin, M. P. Callahan, A. D. Aubrey, A. Lazcano, and J. L. Bada. 2011. "Primordial synthesis of amines and amino acids in a 1958 Miller H2S-rich spark discharge experiment." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108 (14): 5526-5531

    Herd, C. D., A. Blinova, D. N. Simkus, et al. Y. Huang, R. Tarozo, C. M. Alexander, F. Gyngard, L. R. Nittler, G. D. Cody, M. L. Fogel, Y. Kebukawa, A. D. Kilcoyne, R. W. Hilts, G. F. Slater, D. P. Glavin, J. P. Dworkin, M. P. Callahan, J. E. Elsila, B. T. De Gregorio, and R. M. Stroud. 2011. "Origin and Evolution of Prebiotic Organic Matter As Inferred from the Tagish Lake Meteorite." Science 332 (6035): 1304-1307

    Callahan, M. P., K. E. Smith, H. J. Cleaves, et al. J. Ruzicka, J. C. Stern, D. P. Glavin, C. H. House, and J. P. Dworkin. 2011. "Carbonaceous meteorites contain a wide range of extraterrestrial nucleobases." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108 (34): 13995-13998

    Gengeliczki, Z., M. P. Callahan, M. Kabelac, A. M. Rijs, and M. S. de Vries. 2011. "Structure of 2,4-diaminopyrimidine – theobromine alternate base pairs." Journal of Physical Chemistry A 115 (41): 11423-11427

    Nachtigallova, D., H. Lischka, J. J. Szymczak, et al. M. Barbatti, P. Hobza, Z. Gengeliczki, G. Pino, M. P. Callahan, and M. S. de Vries. 2010. "The effects of C5 substitution on the photochemistry of uracil." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 12 4924-4933

    Gengeliczki, Z., M. P. Callahan, N. Svadlenak, et al. C. I. Pongor, B. Sztaray, L. Meerts, D. Nachtigallova, P. Hobza, M. Barbatti, H. Lischka, and M. S. de Vries. 2010. "Effect of substituents on the excited-state dynamics of the modified DNA bases 2,4-diaminopyrimidine and 2,6-diaminopurine." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 12 (20): 5375-5388

    Glavin, D. P., M. P. Callahan, J. P. Dworkin, and J. E. Elsila. 2010. "The effects of parent body processes on amino acids in carbonaceous chondrites." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 45 1948-1872.

    Callahan, M. P., Z. Gengeliczki, and M. S. de Vries. 2008. "Resonant two-photon ionization mass spectrometry of jet-cooled phenolic acids and polyphenols." Analytical Chemistry 80 (6): 2199-2203

    Callahan, M. P., Z. Gengeliczki, N. Svadlenak, et al. H. Valdes, P. Hobza, and M. S. de Vries. 2008. "Non-standard base pairing and stacked structures in methylxanthine clusters." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 10 (19): 2819-2826

    Callahan, M. P., A. G. Abo-Riziq, B. Crews, L. Grace, and M. S. de Vries. 2008. "Isomer discrimination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Murchison meteorite by resonant ionization." Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 71 (4): 1492-1495

    Callahan, M. P., B. Crews, A. Abo-Riziq, et al. L. Grace, M. S. de Vries, Z. Gengeliczki, T. M. Holmes, and G. A. Hill. 2007. "IR-UV double resonance spectroscopy of xanthine." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 9 (32): 4587-4591

    Abo-Riziq, A., B. O. Crews, M. P. Callahan, L. Grace, and M. S. de Vries. 2006. "Spectroscopy of Isolated Gramicidin Peptides." Angewandte Chemie 118 (31): 5290-5293

    Abo-Riziq, A., J. E. Bushnell, B. Crews, et al. M. P. Callahan, L. Grace, and M. S. de Vries. 2006. "Gas Phase Spectroscopy of the pentapeptide FDASV." Chemical Physics Letters 431 (4-6): 227-230

    Crews, B., A. Abo-Riziq, L. Grace, et al. M. P. Callahan, P. Hobza, and M. S. de Vries. 2005. "IR-UV double resonance spectroscopy of guanine-H2O clusters." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 7 (16): 3015-3020

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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