Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Angel Mojarro


Org Code: 691

Mail Code: 691
Greenbelt, MD 20771


Brief Bio

I am a postdoctoral researcher and organic geochemist in the Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. My research is focused on biomarker preservation and the origins of life. Specifically, I study how molecular fossils form, how they might persist through time, and the transition from natural chemical networks to modern biological systems.

Current Projects



A longstanding question regarding the formation and evolution of the solar system concerns the potential sources and diversity of complex organic compounds which may have contributed to the origins of life on the early Earth. One possibility is that organics synthesized within the early formation of the our solar system may fundamentally represent the most significant source of building blocks (amino acids, sugars, nucleobases). Therefore, organic-rich asteroids and/or meteorites which have persisted with minimal alteration since their formation may serve as time capsules of the primordial solar system, which we can investigate to better understand our planetary and prebiotic origins. As part of the OSIRIS-REx organics analysis team, I am interested in the chemical processes resposible for the formation of prebiotically-relevant compounds and their delivery to planetary surfaces.


Postdoctoral Researcher

National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Greenbelt, Maryland

February 2023 - Present

Graduate Research Assistant

Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Cambridge, Massachusetts

September 2017 - January 2023

Junior Researcher

Massachusetts General Hospital - Boston, Massachusetts

March 2015 - August 2017

Research Staff Assistant

Columbia University - Palisades, New York

August 2012 - July 2014

Research Assistant

Brown University - Providence, Rhode Island

September 2009 - July 2012


Ph.D. in Geochemistry (2023), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • Thesis: "Experiments on Biomarker Preservation."
  • Advisor: Dr. Roger E. Summons

Sc.B. in Geological Sciences (2011), Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island



Mojarro, A., A. Buch, J. P. Dworkin, et al. C. Fressinet, D. P. Glavin, C. Szopa, M. Millan, A. J. Williams, J. L. Eigenbrode, and R. E. Summons. 2023. Murchison Meteorite Analysis using Tetramethylammonium Hydroxide (TMAH) Thermochemolysis under Simulated Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Pyrolysis-Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Conditions Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets 128 (11): e2023JE007968 [10.1029/2023JE007968]

Mojarro, A., X. Cui, X. Zhang, et al. A. B. Jost, K. D. Bergmann, J. Vinther, and R. E. Summons. 2021. Comparative soft‐tissue preservation in Holocene‐age capelin concretions Geobiology 20 (3): 377-398 [10.1111/gbi.12480]

Mojarro, A., L. Jin, J. W. Szostak, J. W. Head, and M. T. Zuber. 2021. In search of the RNA world on Mars Geobiology 19 (3): 307-321 [10.1111/gbi.12433]

Mojarro, A., J. Hachey, R. Bailey, et al. M. Brown, R. Doebler, G. Ruvkun, M. T. Zuber, and C. E. Carr. 2019. Nucleic Acid Extraction and Sequencing from Low-Biomass Synthetic Mars Analog Soils for In Situ Life Detection Astrobiology 19 (9): 1139-1152 [10.1089/ast.2018.1929]

Mojarro, A., J. Hachey, G. Ruvkun, M. T. Zuber, and C. E. Carr. 2018. CarrierSeq: a sequence analysis workflow for low-input nanopore sequencing BMC Bioinformatics 19 (1): 108 [10.1186/s12859-018-2124-3]

Mojarro, A., G. Ruvkun, M. T. Zuber, and C. E. Carr. 2017. Nucleic Acid Extraction from Synthetic Mars Analog Soils for In Situ Life Detection Astrobiology 17 (8): 747-760 [10.1089/ast.2016.1535]