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 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.
She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Space Science and Technology (University of Maryland Baltimore County) working on the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite onboard the Curiosity Rover in the Planetary Environments Lab at NASA GSFC. Prior to that, 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. This project is motivated by the need to define a more universal and inclusive framework for biosignatures without pre-supposing specific biochemistry (i.e., Terran-based life).