Dale Andersen

Principal Investigator, Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute

Andersen has been a principal investigator at the SETI Institute’s Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe since 1992. During this time, his research has focused on microbial ecosystems in extreme environments including areas of the Arctic, Antarctic, Atacama Desert, Death Valley, and Siberia. Andersen’s research interests are in the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe, and he has been involved with NASA’s Exobiology and Astrobiology programs since the mid-1980s. He is interested in locating, characterizing, and understanding environments where physical and chemical conditions approach or exceed the tolerances for life.

Andersen has participated in field research in polar regions over the last 30 years, having participated in and led 12 expeditions to the Antarctic and 25 expeditions to the Arctic. Andersen helped pioneer scientific research diving in the perennially ice-covered lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys and the Bunger Hills, and has made more than 600 dives beneath polar ice, north and south. Andersen is a fellow member of The Explorers Club (FN87) and an Eagle Scout. Andersen received a B.S in biology and limnology at VA Tech, working extensively with Professor George M. Simmons, Jr., one of the pioneers of Antarctic limnology, and received his Ph.D. at McGill University, where as part of his thesis requirements, he conducted studies of perennial springs in regions of thick, continuous permafrost on Axel Heiberg Island about 600 miles from the north pole.


Vladimir Akimov

Bio coming soon

Alicia J. Anzaldo

Professor Alicia J. Anzaldo is an award winning educator and fifteen year veteran with the City Colleges of Chicago. She currently teaches for the Department of Biology at Wilbur Wright College. Her teaching responsibilities include Introductory Biology, Organismal Biology and Zoology. In the classroom, she encourages a profound respect for all life and promotes taking individual responsibility for the health of our planet.

Alicia’s training and degrees are in her first love; Animal Science. Her interests include the evolution and adaptation of life and the extinction of wildlife due to human activities. She has traveled the world studying various ecosystems, with a particular interest in the animal life. Most recently, she has traveled to the Galapagos Islands to walk in the footsteps of Charles Darwin.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Alicia serves as co-chairperson to the Department of Biology and is actively involved in numerous committees that serve her College and District. She has also made a personal commitment to serve with non-profit organizations such as Chicago Cares and EarthWatch.

Asim Bej

Asim Bej is currently a Professor of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His research interest is the study of microbial extremophiles in cold environments, particularly the various aspects of the mechanisms of cold adaptation and applications to the benefit of human health. He graduated with a doctoral degree from the University of Louisville in Biology / Microbial Molecular Genetics; continued his education as a post-doctoral fellow under the mentorship of Michael Perlin and Ronald M. Atlas; joined UAB as an Assistant Professor in 1991; and was promoted to Professor of Biology in 2003 (uab.edu/uabbio/bej.htm).

His lab has published over 71 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and numerous book chapters. Currently he is editing a book on microbial ecology, diversity and bioremediation potential in Polar environments with co-editors, Jackie Aislabie and Ronald M. Atlas. He is a member of the editorial board of several microbiology journals and has served as a guest editor for JMM. He holds several joint U.S., European, New Zealand and Australian patents in microbial diagnostics and containment. He has participated in a number of colloquia, review panels and advisory services for AAM, NOAA, COSEE, AIBS and NIEHS.

Bej teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in molecular genetics at UAB and has supervised 17 Master’s and PhD students; 4 post-doctoral fellows and over 56 undergraduates in his lab. He is an Honorary Member of the Golden Key International Honor Society; has participated in the NASA Faculty Fellowship Program with Richard Hoover and is a member of ASM. Bej’s scientific mission in this expedition is to work with the team to collect samples; perform field analysis of the microorganisms and their DNA. Bej’s wife Meena is a microbiologist and a faculty at Jefferson State Community College; their son Gautam is pre-med student at the University of Alabama.

Valery Galchenko

Bio coming soon

Ian Hawes

Ian Hawes was born and educated in England but now calls New Zealand home. After graduating Marine Biology, Ian began his association with Antarctica, working for ten years as a research scientist with the British Antarctic Survey. In that capacity he served three winter and eight summer seasons on the ice. Ian used his Antarctic research to complete a PhD before moving to New Zealand, where he joined the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (niwa.co.nz) until 2005. In NIWA he combined work on New Zealand ecosystems with research in Polar Regions. For 10 years he led the Antarctic Aquatic Ecosystems research program. In 2005, looking for new challenges, Ian and his long-time partner Anne-Marre set sail from NZ on their 45 ft yacht, Oraka, bound for Solomon Islands. There he worked with a development NGO (the WorldFish Center) on programs to improve the livelihoods of the Pacific’s poorest people through improved utilization of marine resources. Currently, Ian runs a small research company which allows him to oscillate between the Solomon Islands, where Anne-Maree and their varying number of more or less devoted dogs are currently are currently established, and the Antarctic where he continues to research and publish with the NZ, US and now Tawani programs. Ian brings thirty years of polar experience to the expedition, along with specialized skills in under-ice diving and the benthic ecology of ice-covered lakes.

Richard B. Hoover

Richard B. Hoover has conducted scientific research at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center since 1966. During his early work on Solar Physics and X-ray Optics, he developed the Multilayer X-ray Telescope that produced the first high-resolution images of the Sun ever obtained with normal incidence x-ray mirrors (Cover-Science, 30 Sept., 1988). He holds 11 U.S. Patents and was named the 1992 NASA Inventor of the Year for the Water Window Imaging X-Ray Microscope. During the past decade, he has lead the MSFC Astrobiology Group in the study of microbial extremophiles and biomarkers in ancient rocks and carbonaceous meteorites. He has authored / edited 35 books and more than 275 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings and encyclopedia on Solar Physics, Diffraction, Meteorites, X-ray optics, Microfossils, and Microbial Extremophiles. He co directed the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Astrobiology and his book Perspectives in Astrobiology was published in 2005. He has participated in numerous scientific expeditions to collect microbial extremophiles from the deserts and halo-alkaline lakes of California and Peru; the hot springs, geysers, and volcanoes of Hawaii and Crete, and was Science Team Lead on Polar Expeditions to collect psychrophilic and psychrotolerant microbes from glaciers, ice, and permafrost of North Siberia, Alaska and Antarctica:

1999 - International Expedition “Beringia” with David Gilichinsky and 11 Russian scientists to search for microbes in super-cooled liquid permafrost water of the Kolyma Lowlands of N. Siberia;

2000 - Antarctica 2000 Expedition (with P. Sipiera, Cdr. James A. Lovell and Owen Garriott) to search for meteorites and extremophiles in Patagonia and the Patriot Hills, Thiel Mountains, and South Pole, Antarctica;

2008 - Tawani Foundation International Schirmacher Oasis Antarctica Reconnaissance Expedition (with Valery Galery Galchenko, Dale Andersen, James Pritzker, and Art Mortvedt) to search for Microbial Extremophiles in the ice, permafrost and lakes of the Schirmacher Oasis and Lake Untersee, Antarctica.

Working in collaboration with Elena V. Pikuta at the NSSTC Astrobiology Lab, Hoover has authored two new genera & nine new species of bacteria discovered in samples returned from these Expeditions:

New Genera: Anaerovirgula (grows on both D- and L- sugars); and Proteocatella (from Patagonia)

New Species: Trichococcus patagoniensis (grows at -5 C); Carnobacterium pleistocenium (living Pleistocene microorganism); Spirochaeta americana (Hydrogen producer); Spirochaeta dissipatitropha (grows on sugars & proteolysis products); Tindallia californiensis; Desulfonatronum thiodismutans; Anaerovirgula multivorans; Proteocatella sphenisci; and Thermococcus thioreducens (Thermophilic Archaeon).

Hoover has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journals: Astrobiology; Optical Engineering and Journal of X-Ray Science and Technology. He was elected President of SPIE (2001): Fellow of SPIE (1992); Fellow Nation (Explorers Club, 2001); Board of Directors: SPIE (1991- 2002); American Association of Engineering Societies (1999 - 2001), Council of Scientific Society Presidents (2002). For his work on microfossils in carbonaceous meteorites he was made an Honorary Life member of the Planetary Studies Foundation in 2004.

Mikhail Levitan

Mikhail Levitan currently serves as the Head of Laboratory of Sedimentary Geochemistry in V.I. Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia [www.geokhi.ru]. He is PhD (1975) and Dr. Sci. (1990). Mikhail was trained as specialist in geological mapping, and 2008 - 45th year since his first geological expedition. Main fields of scientific activities are marine geology, sedimentology, geochemistry, paleoceanography. In general M. Levitan has more than 200 publications including several books.

30 years Mikhail spent in P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia [www.ocean.ru] participated in research cruises in all main oceanic basins including the Arctic and Southern Oceans. Last years his scientific interests are related to climate changes in high latitude areas including link of glaciation history with marine and ocean sedimentation.

Sindy Main

I have taught in Dakota, Lena, and Freeport public school system for over 25 years teaching Science, Physical Education and Health at the Junior High and High School levels. I am currently teaching Junior High School at Freeport Junior High, Freeport Illinois. I am the high school track coach specializing in jumps and hurdles. I mentor teachers in our district and have organized workshops for science teachers.

I am an Illinois Master Teacher and have my National Board Teaching Certificate in Early Adolescence Science. I have a Masters in Education with an emphasis in exercise Physiology from Northern Illinois University. I was selected to participate in an educator in space program sponsored by NASA and Honeywell in 2004. I plan to do my dissertation in the area of project based learning. I hope to use my experience on the ice to plan a project base activity to share with students in the Stephenson County and surrounding areas.

Christopher P. McKay

Dr. Christopher P. McKay, Planetary Scientist with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames.   Chris received his Ph.D. in AstroGeophysics from the University of Colorado in 1982 and has been a research scientist with the NASA Ames Research Center since that time. His current research focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human exploration.  Chris been involved in research in Mars-like environments on Earth, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys, Siberia, the Canadian Arctic, and the Atacama desert to study life in these Mars-like environments.  His was a co-I on the Titan Huygen’s probe in 2005, the Mars Phoenix lander mission in 2008, and the Mars Science Lander mission for 2009.  He is the deputy program scientist for Constellation - the NASA program for future human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Art Mortvedt

Boyhood farm life in central North Dakota provided ample opportunities for Art to explore the natural world- hunting, fishing, and trapping. After earning a B.S. degree in mathematics - and working summers as a U.S. National Park Ranger at various National Parks - Art moved to Alaska in January 1974. As a Fisheries Technician for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, a National Park Ranger, and camp manager for Anaconda Minerals Company, Art was able to explore and work in some of the most remote corners of Alaska and Yukon Territory. Then while teaching Eskimo students in the village of Shungnak, north of the Arctic Circle, Art learned subsistence / survival / dogmushing techniques from local native elders. Art now resides at 67N155W, in the western Brooks Range, with his wife Damaris; and operates the Peace of Selby Wilderness Lodge [www.alaskawilderness.net]. With six expeditions to the central Arctic Ocean - based out of northern Greenland - a solo Cessna flight through the Canadian High Arctic, expeditions to Spitzbergen and Siberia, and more than twenty expeditions to Antarctica, Art now consults on a variety of polar logistical issues. He is an Alaska Registered Guide, and bush pilot, with over 5,000 hours experience flying small aircrafts on floats, wheels, and skis. After landing a single engine Cessna 185 at the South Pole, Art is now planning a solo Cessna flight to the North Pole. Art has a keen interest in traditional subsistence cultures; and has photographed these lifestyles in various countries around the world. He is a member of the Antarctican Society, the American Polar Society, the Explorers Club, and the Royal Geographical Society.

Pavel Parkhaev

Paleontologist, Recent and Fossil Mollusca, Antarctica Birds. Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow Russia.

Colonel (IL) J.N. Pritzker IL ARNG (Retired)

J.N. Pritzker is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Tawani Enterprises, Inc. and President of Tawani Foundation and the Pritzker Military Library. He also serves as strategic consultant for Alliance Financial LLC and is involved in a number of other partnerships.

Tawani Enterprises Inc. is a private investment company which Pritzker organized in 1994 involved in limited real estate partnerships, portfolio management, a joint venture partnership with a securities, futures and bullion banking firm; and venture capitalization.

Tawani Foundation is a private foundation created by Pritzker in 1995. It supports preservation of military heritage, conservation and preservation of historical sites, health and wellness and landmark gifts and grants. There is an emphasis on promoting the ideal of the “Citizen Soldier”. The Foundation has also extensively supported awards and programs of ROTC and JROTC throughout the United States.

The Pritzker Military Library evolved from Pritzker’s personal and family holdings of books and artifacts. Dedicated on October 23, 2003 the mission of the library is to acquire and maintain a collection of materials and develop appropriate programs focusing on the concept of the Citizen Soldier as an essential element for the preservation of democracy.

Retired in March 2001 as Lieutenant Colonel, Pritzker’s military career began with enlistment in the United States Army as a Private in 1974 and subsequent assignment to 1st Squadron 17th Cavalry Regiment (Air) 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Following commissioning as a 2nd lieutenant of infantry in 1979 served on active duty with the 1st Battalion 503rd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division and Ft. Campbell, Kentucky and VII Corps at Kelly Barracks, Germany until release from active duty in 1985 and service in the Illinois Army National Guard between 1986 and 2001. Assignments in the National Guard included Commander C Company 1st Battalion 131st Infantry Regiment, Battalion S2 (Intelligence Officer) Assistant Brigade intelligence Officer and Chemical Officer 33rd Separate Infantry Brigade, Chicago, Illinois. Historian State Area Command STARC, Springfield, Illinois, Host Area Support Officer 33rd Area Support Group, Chicago, Illinois. Awards include: Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Service Medal, Outstanding Military Volunteer Service Medal, the Air Assault Badge and the U.S. Army Parachute Badge and parachute badges from Israel, Russia, Canada, Holland and Poland, and the Award of the State of Louisiana’s Legion of Merit. Upon retirement from the Illinois National Guard, Pritzker was promoted to the Honorary Rank of Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard in March 2001.

In addition to business activities and a military career, Pritzker is extensively involved in philanthropic work. he served for 10 years as a member of the Board of Trustees of Norwich University, where he received an honorary doctorate and now continues as an Emeritus Trustee. He is also a former trustee of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Currently, he serves on the boards of both the National Strategy Forum and the USO of Illinois. He has previously participated in two scientific expeditions to Antarctica and the South Pole in 2000 and 2002 with the Planetary Studies Foundation with serving as a director of the organization. Expedition participants included astronauts Dr. Owen Garriot, Captin James Lovell and Dr. Birgit Sattler the first Austrian female to visit the South Pole. Pritzker is the 2005 recipient of the City of Chicago’s John A. Logan Patriot Award. Pritzker also participated in a third trip to Antarctica as part of the Tawani Recon Mission of 2008 to Novolazarevskaya Station and Lake Untersee.

Pritzker is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago with a B.A. in History, the U.S. Army’s Infantry Officer Basic and Advance Courses, the Chemical Officer Advance Course, the Quartermaster Officer Advance Course, and Command and General Staff College. His children are daughter Tal Hava Pritzker, sons Andrew and William.

Birgit Sattler

Birgit Sattler is an Associate Professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, at the Institute of Ecology. She has done her PhD. in microbiology and limnology in Innsbruck and is specialized on the microbial ecology of cold environments such as ice and snow and the atmosphere. Her research focus is thus in the high mountains in the Alps as well as the high Arctic (Svalbard, Greenland) and Antarctica (McMurdo Dry Valleys with Montana State University, Antarctic Peninsula and South Pole).

In Innsbruck she is leading the working group “Ice & Life”. Furthermore she is station manager for the “High Mountain Limnological Research Station” (2.417m) and safety officer for radioactivity for the Faculty of Biology.

Brigit also serves as Vice President of the “Austrian Society for Polar Research” and is the Austrian Delegate for the Antarctic Treaty [www.uibk.ac.at/ecology].

With her research she has won awards, e.g. “Eduard Wallnoefer Research Prize” of the Tyrolean Industrial Society for “Ice & Life” (2003), Nominee for the “Austrian Scientist of the Year (2005), “Air & Space Award” by Wings World Quest (2008) or the “Sparkling Science School Award”.

Besides her research she works in an educational program initiated by the Austrian Ministry of Science and Education (”Sparkling Science”) where polar and alpine research is promoted for kids of various age with regard to awareness for climate change and extreme environments [www.sparklingscience.at].

Michael C. Storrie-Lombardi

Dr. Storrie-Lombardi is a physician, astrobiologist and Executive Director of the Kinohi Institute. The Institute is a California non-profit research facility developing optical and bioinformatic techniques to monitor microbial adaptation in extreme environments on Earth and search for evidence of past or present life on other planets.

Dr. Storrie-Lombardi has worked in a leprosy hospital in Congo, served in the U.S. Army as a medical and surgical advisor to a Vietnamese civilian hospital during the Viet Nam war, served as medical officer on a Polaris submarine and as a saturation diving medical officer at the U.S. Navy’s COMSUBDEVGRP I in San Diego. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

From 1991 to 1995 as Harrison Watson Scholar, Clare College, University of Cambridge and research associate, Cambridge Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, England, he developed stochastic nonlinear artificial neural network techniques for automated classification of galaxies, stars, and genomic sequences. From 1996 - 2003 he led the Astrobiology Imaging and Spectroscopy Laboratory at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology in developing a novel deep ultraviolet laser imaging and spectroscopy device to detect amino acids, nucleic acids, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons embedded in a rocks and soils common to extreme environments on Earth and Mars.

During the Tawani 2008 International Antarctic Expedition, Dr. Storrie-Lombardi will (1) serve as expedition physician and diving medial officer; (2) in a collaborative effort with colleagues at the J. Craig Venter Institute generate the first eukaryote, prokaryote, and bacteriophage metagenomes of Lake Untersee and identity the main components of the lake’s energy dynamics; (3) in collaboration with colleagues at University College London, Mullard Space Science Laboratories, and Oregon State University test an ultraviolet imaging system developed to explore beneath the surface of Mars for evidence of organic molecules of life. Testing will include obtaining ground-truth biomass estimates for both Lake Untersee and the Oasis to compare against orbital multispectral biosignatures obtained by Terra’s MISR and ASTER imaging systems.

Metagenome information collected over the next decade will monitor the ability of viruses to help microbial life adapt to global warming. The ultraviolet imaging device and orbital imaging will be employed over the next decade to search for evidence of hydrocarbon pollution and monitor bioremediation efforts in fragile Antarctic environment.



Reporting From Cape Town

Mark Roderer

Mark graduated from the University of Vermont in his ancestral home of Vermont USA with concentrations in natural sciences and communication studies. He spent several years in Alaska, then a decade in East Asia as an educator and private business entity. Mark has lived, studied, worked, and traveled in 40 countries and brings a wide variety of support skills to the mission.

Mark performs several support functions for the expedition. His initial assignment was to interview all the team members at the team meeting in Vienna (with the vital contribution from cameraman Marcin Wawrzyczek). Footage of those interviews will be used in many outreach efforts including this website. He also facilitates various educational outreach efforts, including website production and broadcasts from Antarctica (in conjunction with the able Pritzker Military Library production crew). With the help of many, these outreach efforts should pay dividends for years to come.

Mark was also an integral part of the hard working team who organized, classified, packed and shipped the four tons of expedition equipment and supplies. He drew on his long-past experience of shipping housing supplies throughout the remote villages of the North Slope of Alaska where he worked for three years for the most northern municipality in the United States, the borough of Barrow, Alaska.

Additionally he will act as the Cape Town Base liaison and will handle logistics, administration, and daily communication from the Antarctic team to the Cape Town, South Africa base.

His interests include travel, ocean sailing, skiing, paragliding, meditation and experiential cross-cultural integration.