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BQI is pleased to award Dr. Erica Barlow the inaugural BQI Overseas Fellow for 2022

The BQI Overseas Fellowship is designed to support outstanding young Australian researchers investigating the Big Questions of Science at overseas world leading institutions.  The Fellowship funds travel between Australia and overseas and is intended to maintain and strengthen links between the BQI Fellow and their alma mater, facilitating collaboration and idea sharing about the Big Questions of Science.

BQI Director Darren Dougan said he was excited that the inaugural Fellowship had been awarded to such an outstanding young Australian researcher. “Erica is conducting fascinating research aimed at detecting life ‘as we don’t know it’, investigating agnostic biosignatures, or signs of fossilised life in rocks that aren’t limited by assumptions of Earth-based life,” said Mr. Dougan.  “We’re thrilled that the Fellowship will allow Erica to return to Australia several times over the next few years to discuss and update us on her ground-breaking research”.

Dr. Erica Barlow

Dr. Barlow works in the laboratory of Prof. Chris House at Penn State University, at the world-renowned Laboratory for Agnostic Biosignatures (LAB), which is investigating ways to detect as-yet unrecognised – truly alien – forms of life elsewhere in the Universe. Dr. Barlow is funded through the NASA Postdoctoral Program and is a graduate of UNSW’s Australian Centre for Astrobiology.

“I’m excited to be returning to Sydney and to UNSW to deliver a talk on campus about my research.  The ACA is an exceptional centre of learning and I look forward to continuing my association with the ACA,” said Dr. Barlow.  “And I hope to return many times more in the future.”

Dr. Barlow will be giving a talk at UNSW at the AGSM Colonial Theatre, 27 April 2022 at 4pm.

The talk will be live streamed and you can tune into it via Microsoft Teams.

About Dr. Barlow

Dr Barlow completed both her Honours and PhD at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, UNSW Sydney. During her Honours research, she discovered a suite of microbial fossils in rocks from the ~2.4 billion-year-old Great Oxidation Event (GOE) that later formed the focus of her PhD research. By combining field observations and multiple analytical lab techniques, she provided unprecedented insight into life during the GOE, showing it was both more complex and diverse than previously thought.