Senior Research Scientist, NASA – Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA
Dr. Kasthuri Venkateswaran (Venkat) is the Senior Research Scientist at JPL and supports the Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group. His 39+ years of research encompasses marine, food, and environmental microbiology. He has applied his research in molecular microbial analysis to better understand the ecological aspects of microbes, while conducting field studies in several extreme environments such as deep sea (2,500 m), spacecraft missions (Mars Exploration Rovers), assembly facility clean rooms, and the space environment in Earth orbit (ISS). Also, he provides expertise for non-NASA programs such as commercial agencies (Boeing – airline cabin air measurement) and medical industries (tissue and organ transplants processing). The bioinformatics databases generated by Venkat’s team are extremely useful in the development of biosensors which will provide information about the spacecraft surfaces and enclosed habitats in an attempt to determine forward contamination as well as develop countermeasures (advance cleaning and sterilization technologies) to control the problematic microbial species.