Solar System Exploration Division

Jamie Elsila Cook

(Deputy Director)

Jamie Elsila Cook's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.286.9160
Org Code: 690
Mail Code 690
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Jamie Elsila (Cook) is the Deputy Director of the Solar System Exploration Division, as well as an astrochemist in the Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Her research emphasis is on abiotic extraterrestrial organic chemistry, particularly the abundances, distributions, and stable isotopic signatures of extraterrestrial organic compounds, including amino acids in carbonaceous chondrites, lunar samples, and cometary material returned by the Stardust mission. She oversees the GSFC Internal Scientist Funding Model planetary work packages. She is also the deputy lead for the Goddard Center for Astrobiology and a member of the sample analysis team for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. 

Current Projects


Member of the sample analysis team examining soluble organic compounds in material returned from asteroid Bennu.

Goddard Center for Astrobiology

Fundamental Laboratory Research (FLaRe)

Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA)

Analysis of volatile organics from previously unexamined, specially curated samples collected by Apollo 17 astronauts.

Laboratory for Agnostic Biosignatures

Analysis of Soluble Organic Compounds in Meteorites and Other Extraterrestrial Materials


Coordinated Organics Analysis for Extraterrestrial Samples

Hayabusa2 soluble organic analysis


Deputy Director, Solar System Exploration Division

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

April 2023 - Present

Research Scientist

Astrochemistry Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

May 2007 - Present

Principal Investigator

SETI Institute - Mountain View, CA

October 2006 - May 2007

Post-Doctoral Researcher

NASA Ames Research Center - Moffett Field, CA

October 2004 - October 2006

Graduate Student

Chemistry Department, Stanford University - Stanford, CA

September 1999 - September 2004

Peace Corps Volunteer, Secondary Science and Math Education

United States Peace Corps - Masasi, Tanzania

September 1996 - December 1998


NASA Ames Research Center - Moffett Field, CA

January 1996 - April 1996


Ph.D. (Chemistry - 2004) Stanford University, Stanford, CA

B.A. (Chemistry, summa cum laude - 1996) Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI

Professional Societies

American Chemical Society

1999 - Present

Professional Service

  • Member, CAPTEM Asteroids Subcommittee, 2017-present
  • From Interstellar Ices to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Symposium, Scientific Organizing Committee and Local Organizing Committee, 2015
  • Astrobiology Science Conference Scientific Organizing Committee, 2015
  • Meteorite Working Group Member, 2013-2015
  • NASA Astrobiology Roadmap Working Group, 2013-2014
  • OSIRIS-REx Science Team Collaborator, 2011-present
  • NASA Goddard Science Director’s Council, 2010-2011
  • Panelist, subpanel chair, and external reviewer for numerous ROSES panels 2007-present

Selected Publications


2024. "Enantioselective three-dimensional high-performance liquid chromatographic determination of amino acids in the Hayabusa2 returned samples from the asteroid Ryugu." Journal of Chromatography Open 5 100134 [10.1016/j.jcoa.2024.100134] [Journal Article/Letter]

2024. "Soluble Organic Compounds and Cyanide in Apollo 17 Lunar Samples: Origins and Curation Effects." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 129 (4): [10.1029/2023je008133] [Journal Article/Letter]

2024. "Molecular distribution and ¹³C isotope composition of volatile organic compounds in the Murchison and Sutter's Mill carbonaceous chondrites." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 59 (2): 286-300 [10.1111/maps.14118] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in samples of Ryugu formed in the interstellar medium." Science 382 (6677): 1411-1416 [10.1126/science.adg6304] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Investigating the impact of x‐ray computed tomography imaging on soluble organic matter in the Murchison meteorite: Implications for Bennu sample analyses." Meteoritics and Planetary Science [10.1111/maps.14111] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Soluble organic matter Molecular atlas of Ryugu reveals cold hydrothermalism on C-type asteroid parent body." Nature Communications 14 (1): 6525 [Full Text] [10.1038/s41467-023-42075-y] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Chemical evolution of primordial salts and organic sulfur molecules in the asteroid 162173 Ryugu." Nature Communications 14 (1): 5284 [10.1038/s41467-023-40871-0] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Position-specific carbon isotopes of Murchison amino acids elucidate extraterrestrial abiotic organic synthesis networks." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 355 210-221 [Full Text] [10.1016/j.gca.2023.06.010] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "The spatial distribution of soluble organic matter and their relationship to minerals in the asteroid (162173) Ryugu." Earth, Planets and Space 75 (1): 73 [10.1186/s40623-023-01792-w] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "PAHs, hydrocarbons, and dimethylsulfides in Asteroid Ryugu samples A0106 and C0107 and the Orgueil (CI1) meteorite." Earth, Planets and Space 75 (1): 28 [Full Text] [10.1186/s40623-022-01758-4] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Extraterrestrial Amino Acids and Amines Identified in Asteroid Ryugu Samples Returned by the Hayabusa2 Mission." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 347 42-57 [Full Text] [10.1016/j.gca.2023.02.017] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Soluble organic molecules in samples of the carbonaceous asteroid (162173) Ryugu." Science 379 (6634): eabn9033 [Full Text] [10.1126/science.abn9033] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Rapid Radiolytic Degradation of Amino Acids in the Martian Shallow Subsurface: Implications for the Search for Extinct Life." Astrobiology 22 (9): 1099-1115 [Full Text] [10.1089/ast.2021.0166] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Deuterium Isotope Fractionation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Meteorites as an Indicator of Interstellar/Protosolar Processing History." Life 12 (9): 1368 [10.3390/life12091368] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Frontiers in Prebiotic Chemistry and Early Earth Environments." Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres [10.1007/s11084-022-09622-x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Science Autonomy for Ocean Worlds Astrobiology: A Perspective." Astrobiology [10.1089/ast.2021.0062] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Experimental and Theoretical Constraints on Amino Acid Formation from PAHs in Asteroidal Settings." ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 6 468-481 [Full Text] [10.1021/acsearthspacechem.1c00329] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Rethinking the Search for the Origins of Life." Eos 103 [10.1029/2022eo220065] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Low total abundances and a predominance of n ‐ω‐amino acids in enstatite chondrites: Implications for thermal stability of amino acids in the inner solar system." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 56 (11): 2118–2127 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.13757] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Extraterrestrial hydroxy amino acids in CM and CR carbonaceous chondrites." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 56 (6): 1005-1023 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.13661] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Amino acid abundances and compositions in iron and stony‐iron meteorites." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 56 (3): 586-600 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.13638] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Carbon isotope evidence for the substrates and mechanisms of prebiotic synthesis in the early solar system." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 292 188-202 [Full Text] [10.1016/j.gca.2020.09.026] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Analysis of amino acids, hydroxy acids, and amines in CR chondrites." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 55 (11): 2422-2439 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.13586] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Abundant extraterrestrial amino acids in the primitive CM carbonaceous chondrite Asuka 12236." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 55 (9): 1979–2006 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.13560] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Impact of Phyllosilicates on Amino Acid Formation under Asteroidal Conditions." ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 4 (8): 1398-1407 [Full Text] [10.1021/acsearthspacechem.0c00137] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Extraterrestrial organic compounds and cyanide in the CM2 carbonaceous chondrites Aguas Zarcas and Murchison." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 55 (7): 1509-1524 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.13531] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Extraterrestrial amino acids and L-enantiomeric excesses in the CM2 carbonaceous chondrites Aguas Zarcas and Murchison." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 56 (1): 148–173 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.13451] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "The Search for Chiral Asymmetry as a Potential Biosignature in our Solar System." Chemical Reviews 120 4660−4689 [Full Text] [10.1021/acs.chemrev.9b00474] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Methodologies for Analyzing Soluble Organic Compounds in Extraterrestrial Samples: Amino Acids, Amines, Monocarboxylic Acids, Aldehydes, and Ketones." Life 9 (47): 30 pages [Full Text] [10.3390/life9020047] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "New insights into the heterogeneity of the Tagish Lake meteorite: Soluble organic compositions of variously altered specimens." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 54 1283-1302 [10.1111/maps.13276] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "The Sariçiçek howardite fall in Turkey: Source crater of HED meteorites on Vesta and impact risk of Vestoids." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 54 (5): 953-1008 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.13258] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Analyses of Aliphatic Aldehydes and Ketones in Carbonaceous Chondrites." ACS Earth & Space Chemistry 3 463-472 [Full Text] [10.1021/acsearthspacechem.9b00006] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Molecular distribution, 13C-isotope, and enantiomeric compositions of carbonaceous chondrite monocarboxylic acids." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 54 (2): 415-430 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.13216] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Compound-specific carbon isotope compositions of aldehydes and ketones in the Murchison meteorite." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 54 (1): 142-156 [10.1111/maps.13202] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "OSIRIS-REx Contamination Control Strategy and Implementation." Space Science Reviews 214 (1): 19 [Full Text] [10.1007/s11214-017-0439-4] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "The Origin and Evolution of Organic Matter in Carbonaceous Chondrites and Links to Their Parent Bodies." Primitive Meteorites and Asteroids 205-271 [Full Text] [10.1016/b978-0-12-813325-5.00003-3] [Article in Book]

2018. "Hydrothermal Decomposition of Amino Acids and Origins of Prebiotic Meteoritic Organic Compounds." ACS Earth & Space Chemistry [Full Text] [10.1021/acsearthspacechem.8b00025] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Distribution of aliphatic amines in CO, CV, and CK carbonaceous chondrites and relation to mineralogy and processing history." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 52 (12): 2632–2646 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.12959] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Pathways to Meteoritic Glycine and Methylamine." ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 1 (1): 3-13 [Full Text] [10.1021/acsearthspacechem.6b00014] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Meteoritic Amino Acids: Diversity in Compositions Reflects Parent Body Histories." ACS Central Science 2 370-379 [Full Text] [10.1021/acscentsci.6b00074] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Aliphatic Amines in Antarctic CR2, CM2, and CM1/2 Carbonaceous Chondrites." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 189 296-311 [Full Text] [10.1016/j.gca.2016.06.018] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Indigenous aliphatic amines in the aqueously altered Orgueil meteorite." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 50 1733-1749 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.12507] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "The origin of amino acids in lunar regolith samples." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 172 357-369 [Full Text] [10.1016/j.gca.2015.10.008] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Amino acid analyses of R and CK chondrites." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 50 (3): 470-482 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.12433] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Assessing the origins of aliphatic amines in the Murchison meteorite from their compound-specific carbon isotopic ratios and enantiomeric composition." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 141 331-345 [Full Text] [10.1016/j.gca.2014.06.035] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "The amino acid composition of the Sutter's Mill CM2 carbonaceous chondrite." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 49 (11): 2074-2086 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.12281] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "The effects of parent-body hydrothermal heating on amino acid abundances in CI-like chondrites." Polar Science 8 255-263 [10.1016/j.polar.2014.05.002] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Does aspartic acid racemization constrain the depth limit of the subsurface biosphere?." Geobiology 12 (1): 1-19 [10.1111/gbi.12069] [Journal Article/Letter]

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 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.12103] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Extraterrestrial amino acids identified in metal-rich CH and CB carbonaceous chondrites from Antarctica." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 48 (3): 390-402 [Full Text] [10.1111/maps.12063] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Radar-Enabled Recovery of the Sutter's Mill Meteorite, a Carbonaceous Chondrite Regolith Breccia." Science 338 (6114): 1583-1587 [10.1126/science.1227163] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Inconclusive evidence for nonterrestrial isoleucine enantiomeric excesses in primitive meteorites." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109 (48): E3288-E3288 [10.1073/pnas.1213261109] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Compound-specific carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotopic ratios for amino acids in CM and CR chondrites and their use in evaluating potential formation pathways." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 47 (9): 1517-1536 [10.1111/j.1945-5100.2012.01415.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Unusual nonterrestrial l-proteinogenic amino acid excesses in the Tagish Lake meteorite." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 47 (8): 1347-1364 [10.1111/j.1945-5100.2012.01400.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "A propensity for n-ω-amino acids in thermally altered Antarctic meteorites." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 47 (3): 374-386 [Full Text] [10.1111/j.1945-5100.2012.01341.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "A propensity for n-ω-amino acids in thermally altered Antarctic meteorites ." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 47 374-386 [10.1111/j.1945-5100.2012.01400.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Inconclusive evidence for nonterrestrial isoleucine enantiomeric excesses in primitive meteorites." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109 (48): E3288-E3288 [Full Text] [10.1073/pnas.1213261109] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Compound-specific carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotopic ratios for amino acids in CM and CR chondrites and their use in evaluating potential formation pathways." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 47 (9): 1517–1536 [Full Text] [10.1111/j.1945-5100.2012.01415.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Understanding prebiotic chemistry through the analysis of extraterrestrial amino acids and nucleobases in meteorites." Chemical Society Reviews 41 5459-5472 [Full Text] [10.1039/C2CS35109A] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Carbon isotopic fractionation in Fischer-Tropsch-type reactions and relevance to meteorite organics." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 47 1029-1034. [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Origin and Evolution of Prebiotic Organic Matter As Inferred from the Tagish Lake Meteorite." Science 332 (6035): 1304-1307 [Full Text] [10.1126/science.1203290] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Distribution and stable isotopic composition of amino acids from fungal peptaibiotics: assessing the potential for meteoritic contamination." Astrobiology 11 (2): 123-133 [Full Text] [10.1089/ast.2010.0505] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "The effects of parent body processes on amino acids in carbonaceous chondrites." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 45 1948-1872. [Full Text] [10.1111/j.1945-5100.2010.01132.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Extraterrestrial amino acids in the Almahata Sitta meteorite." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 45 (10-11): 1695-1709 [Full Text] [10.1111/j.1945-5100.2010.01094.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Assessment and control of organic and other contaminants associated with the Stardust sample return from comet 81P/Wild 2." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 45 (3): 406-433 [Full Text] [10.1111/j.1945-5100.2010.01031.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Cometary glycine detected in samples returned by Stardust." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 44 (9): 1323-1330 [Full Text] [10.1111/j.1945-5100.2009.tb01224.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Formation of Uracil from the Ultraviolet Photo-Irradiation of Pyrimidine in Pure H2O Ices." ASTROBIOLOGY 9 (7): [10.1089=ast.2008.0324] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Mechanisms of amino acid formation in interstellar ice analogs." Astrophysical Journal 660 911-918 [Full Text] [10.1086/513141] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Ultraviolet photolysis of anthracene in H2O interstellar ice analogs: potential connection to meteoritic organics." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 42 (12): 2035-2041 [Full Text] [10.1111/j.1945-5100.2007.tb01005.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "UV photolysis of quinoline in interstellar ice analogs." Meteoritics & Planetary Science 41 785-796. [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "Alkylation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in carbonaceous chondrites." Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta 69 (5): 1349-1357 [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "Extracts of impact breccia samples from Sudbury, Gardnos, and Ries impact craters and the effects of aggregation on C60 detection." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 69 2891-2899. [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Factors affecting quantitative analysis in laser desorption/laser ionization mass spectrometry." Analytical Chemistry 76 (9): 2430-2437 [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "Evidence that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in two carbonaceous chondrites predate parent-body formation." Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta 67 (7): 1429-1436 [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "Side group addition to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon coronene by proton irradiation in cosmic ice analogs." Astrophysical Journal 576 (1): L25-L29 [Journal Article/Letter]

2002. "Side group addition to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon coronene by ultraviolet photolysis in cosmic ice analogs." Astrophysical Journal 576 (2): 1115-1120 [Full Text] [10.1086/341863] [Journal Article/Letter]

1997. "The 2140 cm−1(4.673 Microns) Solid CO Band: The Case for Interstellar O2and N2and the Photochemistry of Nonpolar Interstellar Ice Analogs." The Astrophysical Journal 479 (2): 818-838 [10.1086/303906] [Journal Article/Letter]


2021. "Towards a more universal life detection strategy." Vol. 53, Issue 4 (Planetary/Astrobiology Decadal Survey Whitepapers) 53 (4): [Full Text] [10.3847/25c2cfeb.53a24171] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Future planetary instrument capabilities made possible by micro- and nanotechnology." Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI [10.1117/12.2519455] [Proceedings]