We would like to announce that Associate Professor Josh Sebree has won our PowerLab C competition!
Josh is an analytical chemist based out of the University of Northern Iowa in the United States. He explores the chemistry that creates and sustains life in extreme environments. By researching these extreme environments, Josh and his team are able to develop a better understanding of the limits of life on other planets and moons.
Their samples of extremophile organisms come from expeditions to Coldwater Cave, and underground lakes found in Wind Cave in Iowa. Access to these lakes requires Josh and his caving partners to climb and crawl around 3km underground through passageways as small as 20cm.
As extreme as it is to evolve in this environment, it can be just as extreme to work within it; with one of the caves the team explores maintaining 1% - 2% carbon dioxide year-round.
This extreme environment seems the perfect place to test the extreme portability of the PowerLab C. Alongside Dr. Mark Hecimovich and Dr. Terence Moriarty, Josh will be able to simultaneously measure the cave environment and the cavers. “[This will] help us to make new connections between how a harsh cave environment vs. a benign cave environment affects cavers while they’re actively working,” Josh says, “this will show how the cavers are actively being affected, and help us to determine if there is a measurable ‘time to get out’ that the body registers.”
It was a very difficult deliberation process, with incredible labs from around the world vying to win a new PowerLab C. Thank you to everyone who applied. We were thrilled by the ideas you put forward for the PowerLab C; for examining small mammals in the arctic, measuring human respiratory rates at 14,000ft, examining muscle fatigue in elite divers in Croatia...
Each application reminded us of the incredible diversity of the work we support, and made us proud to be doing what we can to keep making science easier.
Congratulations Josh, and the Astrobiology Underground Team! We look forward to seeing what you find in those caves!
From Everest to the Amazon
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