Professor CS Cockell, FRSE
Charles is a member of the following School research institute and research areas:
1986-1989 BSc, Bristol University, Biochemistry
1990-1994 DPhil, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, Molecular Biophysics
1995-1997 National Academy of Sciences Associateship, NASA Ames Research Center, California, Exobiology
1997-1998 Visiting Scholarship, Dept. of Biology, Stanford University
1998-1999 Visiting Scientist, Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona
2000-2005 Research Scientist, British Antarctic Survey, Microbiology
2005-2011 Professor of Geomicrobiology, Open University
2011- Professor of Astrobiology, University of Edinburgh
My research group is interested in astrobiology and microbiology. Our particular research focus lies in the study of life in extreme environments, understanding the diversity, processes and biosignatures of life in extremes, and the potential habitability of extraterrestrial environments.
We have done some of our work through the UK Centre for Astrobiology in 2011, a virtual centre that we set up. Through this centre we've implemented a variety of activities from establishing the world's first underground astrobiology lab that we've used to study life in the deep subsurface through to launching several experiments to the International Space Station. We have used this centre to develop education projects, including the Life Beyond project in Scottish prisons. You can read about this virtual centre here: www.astrobiology.ac.uk
I am Course Organiser and teach on the pre-honours Astrobiology course (PHYS08051) at the University of Edinburgh (with Ken Rice). It seeks to give students a grounding in interdisciplinary science and the diverse disciplines including physics, astronomy, geology, biology and chemistry relevant to astrobiology.
I oversee and teach half of the SUPA Astrobiology and Search for Life course (SUPAASL), a graduate course in astrobiology.
I teach and run a Massive Open On-Line Learning (MOOC) introductory course on Astrobiology (https://www.coursera.org/learn/astrobiology). The course has attracted 130,000 students since it began.
I also direct Life Beyond, an education program for prisons that uses space exploration and astrobiology to advance science education and space exploration through prisons.
Charles has featured in the following recent School news stories:
- Space station biomining experiment demonstrates rare earth element extraction in microgravity and Mars gravity DOI, Nature Communications, 11
- Planetary and space science
- Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
- A Systematic Study of the Limits of Life in Mixed Ion Solutions: Physicochemical Parameters Do Not Predict Habitability DOI, Frontiers in Microbiology, 11