Dr. Luoth (Lu) Chou is an astrobiologist and organic geochemist with an interest in understanding organic biosignatures detection and characterization, planetary exploration, and the search for life in the universe. She is currently a Research Scientist working on the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite onboard the Curiosity Rover in the Planetary Environments Lab at NASA GSFC. This research is focused on characterizing the organic matter composition of Mars in search for habitability and potential signs of life. She is also an Instrument Scientist focusing on the development of front-end separation technologies that can be coupled to sensitive molecular detectors such as mass spectrometers. Prior to her current position, she was a NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellow, working with Dr. Paul Mahaffy and Dr. Sarah Stewart Johnson (Georgetown University) on the Laboratory for Agnostic Biosignatures project.
Dr. Chou received her B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Maryland at College Park, and her Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her graduate research was focused on understanding the biogeochemistry of a cryogenic microbial ecosystem in the subsurface of Antarctica, while under the supervision of Dr. Fabien Kenig.