Research Interests

Environmental history of Mars; Habitability of terrestrial planets; Biomarker Taphonomy; Origin of Life; Environmental Metagenomics


Education

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Graduate Student, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science
Program in Geology, Geochemistry, and Geobiology
Coursework: Molecular Biogeochemistry, The Phylogenomic Planetary Record, Stable Isotope Fractionation, Field Geobiology, Mass Spectrometry for Geobiologists, Differential Equations

Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Sc.B., Geological Sciences, May, 2011
Coursework: Planetary Geology, Stratigraphy and Sedimentation, Mineralogy, Petrology, Global Environmental Remote Sensing, Structural Geology, Geochemistry, Evolution of a Habitable Planet, Limnology, Physical Processes in Geology, Fossil Record, Oceanography, Ocean Biogeochemical Cycles, Evolution of the Lacustrine Ecosystem, Biochemistry, General and Organic Chemistry, Single Variable Calculus, Basic Physics

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Visiting Student, Summer, 2010

Coursework: Field Geology


Research Experience

Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, August 2017 - Present

Graduate Student

  • Investigate the diversity of early diagenetic processes leading to kerogen formation in different environmental settings
  • Constrain the environmental/geological settings for the origin of life under an RNA World-like scenario from our understanding of abiotic nucleotide synthesis, stability, and evolution

Department of Molecular Biology

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, March 2015 - July 2017

Junior Researcher

  • Aid in the development of a nanopore-based metagenomics instrument for future life-detection missions on Mars
  • Reproduce synthetic Mars analog soils from in-situ Mars rover and lander mineralogical analyses
  • Develop novel nucleic acid extraction and library preparation assays for sequencing microbes in low-biomass and recalcitrant synthetic Mars analog soils

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Columbia University, New York, New York, USA, August 2012 - July 2014

Research Staff Assistant

  • Curated and archived rock samples and sediment cores in the LDEO Core Repository collection
  • Assisted investigators from the national and international geoscience community in the planning and execution of sample collection activities, including sea-going expeditions
  • Educated teachers, students, and the public about the importance of the Core Repository for developing a better understanding of Earth processes such as climate change, ocean acidification and tectonics

Honors and Awards

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Dean of Science Fellow, Fall 2017 - Present

National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Summer 2010


Journal Publications

Mojarro, A., J. Hachey ,G. Ruvkun, M. T. Zuber, & C. E. Carr. CarrierSeq: a sequence analysis workflow for low-input nanopore sequencing. BMC Bioinformatics, 2018, PDF

Mojarro, A., G. Ruvkun, M. T. Zuber, & C. E. Carr. Nucleic Acid Extraction from Synthetic Mars Analog Soils for In Situ Life detection. Astrobiology, 2017, PDF

Bova, S. C., T. D. Herbert, Y. Rosenthal, J. Kalansky, M. Altabet, C. Chazen, A. Mojarro, & J. Zech. Upward-propagating change in Eastern Equatorial Pacific intermediate water heat and carbon content during deglaciation. Paleoceanography, 2015 PDF


Conference Publications

Mojarro, A., J. Hachey, R. Bailey, M. Brown, R. Doebler, G. Ruvkun, M. T. Zuber, & C. E. Carr. Nucleic Acid Extraction and Sequencing from Low-Biomass Synthetic Mars Analog Soils. Lunar & Planetary Science XLVIII, The Woodlands, Texas, March 21-25, 2017, Abstract #1585 PDF ePoster

Pontefract, A., J. Hachey, A. Mojarro, V. K. Walker, H. Rowedder, T. F. Zhu, C. Lui, M. T. Zuber, G. Ruvkun, & C. E. Carr. Understanding Habitability and Biosignature Preservation in a Hypersaline Mars Analog Environment: Lessons from Spotted Lake. Lunar & Planetary Science XLVIII, The Woodlands, Texas, March 21-25, 2017, Abstract #1124 PDF

Carr, C. E., A. Mojarro, J. Hachey, K. Saboda., J. Tani, S.A. Bhattaru, A. Smith, A. Pontefract, M.T. Zuber, M. Finney, R. Doebler, M. Brown, R. Talbot, V. Nguyen, R. Bailey, T. Ferguson, G. Church, & G. Ruvkun Towards In Situ Sequencing for Life Detection. Aerospace Conference, IEEE, Big Sky, Montana, March 4-11, 2017, Abstract #2353 ResearchGate

Carr C. E., A. Mojarro, J. Hachey, A. Pontefract, R. Doebler, M. Brown, G. Ruvkun, & M. T. Zuber. Progress and Challenges for Life Detection via Nucleic Acid Sequencing. Astrobiology Science Conference, Mesa, Arizona, April 24-28, 2017, Abstract #3395 PDF

Hachey, J., A. Mojarro, J. Tani, A. Smith, A. Pontefract, S.A. Bhattaru, K. Saboda, G. Ruvkun, M. T. Zuber, & C. E. Carr. Single Molecule Sequencing for Life Detection Beyond Earth. Nanopore Community Meeting, New York, NY, December 1-2, 2016 Video

Mojarro, A., J. Hachey, J. Tani, A. Smith, S.A. Bhattaru, A. Pontefract, R. Doebler, M. Brown, G. Ruvkun, M. T. Zuber, & C. E. Carr. Nucleic Acid Extraction and Sequencing for In Situ Life Detection on Mars. 3rd International Workshop on Instrumentation for Planetary Missions, Pasadena, CA, October 24-27, 2016, Abstract #4095 PDF

Mojarro, A., G. Ruvkun, M. T. Zuber, & C. E. Carr. Methods for Extracting Nucleic Acids from Mars Analog Regolith. Lunar & Planetary Science XXXXVII, The Woodlands, Texas, March 21-25, 2016, Abstract #1643 PDF ePoster

Carr, C. E., A. Mojarro, J. Tani, S.A. Bhattaru, M.T. Zuber, R. Doebler, M. Brown, K. Herrington, R. Talbot, C. Fuller, M. Finney, G. Church, & G. Ruvkun Advancing the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes. Aerospace Conference, IEEE, Big Sky, Montana, 2016, Abstract #2676 ResearchGate

Mojarro, A., G. Ruvkun, M. T. Zuber, & C. E. Carr. Human Exploration at Valles Marineris: The Past, Present, and Future of life on Mars, First Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars, 2015, Abstract #1036 PDF Slides Video

Bova, S. C., A. Mojarro, & T. D. Herbert. Variability in Eastern Equatorial Pacific intermediate water circulation during the last glacial termination: the impact of high latitude climate on equatorial stratification. American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, California, December, 2013, Abstract #PP31D-1900 Abstract


Languages

Spanish Native Speaker


Computer Skills

Programming Languages: HTML, Bash, Python

Bioinformatics Packages: PoreTools, MASH, Burrows-Wheeler-Aligner, Canu Assembler, Tablet, Kaiju, PhyML, RAxML, PhyloBayes, MUSCLE, fqrim, Bowtie 2, SAM Tools, ProtTest 3, TreePuzzle, BLAST

Applications: LATEX, Docker, Microsoft Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, AndrewLab, JMars


Benchtop Skills

Instruments: Nanopore MinION Sequencer, BioRad QX200 DDPCR, GC-FID, GC-MS

Protocols: DNA and RNA extraction and purification, PCR, Nanopore 1D library preparation, lipid extraction, column chromatography, lipid derivatization