"I believe it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary."

- Elon Musk

Julia is a Sophomore undergraduate at Georgia Tech currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Physics. Her main project deals with modeling the high g impact of our IMPOA design. With it's development, she hopes it will be used to investigate the potential for life on Jupiter's icy moon, Europa

Undergraduate Students

Dedra Eichstedt is a second-year Ph.D. student in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Biological Science at Colorado State University. Following this, she worked as an analytical chemist in toxicology for several years, first at Eurofins Medinet and later at Forensic Laboratories in Denver, Colorado. Her work in the Stockton Group involves using uCE-MS to create methods for the separation of amino acid and sugar enantiomers, with eventual applications in studying the chiral makeup of meteorites and other small bodies in the solar system in an effort towards understanding the origin of homochirality on Earth.

Michelle was a fourth year undergraduate Electrical Engineering student at Georgia Tech. Her work in the Stockton Group involved using soft lithography to design and create regular microdevice channels in PDMS. In addition, she developed an Arduino program and circuit to assist in the cycling and opening of 10+ year old microvalves. Michelle graduated from Georgia Tech in May of 2015 and continued on to pursue a career in industry.

Cindy is a second year undergraduate student at Georgia Tech in the process of completing a Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering. Her main research interest in the Stockton Group involves developing and analyzing microfluidic paper-based analytical devices (μPAD).

Sam Holtzen

Research Faculty

Dedra Eichstedt

George Tan

Max was a fifth year undergraduate student at Georgia Tech. His work in the Stockton group consisted of generating regular, semipermeable inorganic membranes on chip. Studying the physiological and chemical properties of these membranes could give rise to previously unknown understandings of the origins of life, as well as lead to many useful applications regarding chemical fuel cells. Max graduated Georgia Tech in May of 2015 and went on to pursue his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Indiana.

Michelle Van Enige

Amanda Stockton is an Assistant Professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech. Prior to this appointment, she worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Her Ph.D. work was with Richard Mathies at UC Berkeley after she earned a Master’s degree in Chemistry from Brown University and a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Stockton has extensive experience in the use of microcapillary electrophoresis, laser-induced fluorescence (µCE-LIF) to detect exceptionally low levels (sub-pptr) of organic molecules in astrobiologically relevant samples, including those from the Murchison meteorite, Atacama Desert, Saline Valley, Rio Tinto, etc… Her work also includes a significant field-work component, including the FELDSPAR project involving repeated expeditions to volcanic regions of Iceland as a Martian analog study.

Zachary Duca

Max Dorn

Julia Fraser

Mike Cato

Scot Sutton

Zach is a third-year graduate student of Biochemistry at Georgia Tech. He received his Bachelor's in Chemistry and Biology & Biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). His research has focused on the design, construction, and implementation of µCE-LIF systems. Validating a previously-constructed system at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, gave him the experience to build a model system at Georgia Institute of Technology. He has conducted field work in 2015 at the Rio Tinto in Spain and various sites in Iceland. He will lead the McMOA and IMPOA efforts towards successful development and field deployment of a miniaturized µCE-LIF system under this PSTAR-funded effort.

Scot is a fifth year undergraduate student at Georgia Tech in the process of completing a bachelors in Biochemistry. His research focuses on analyzing patterns of habitability, and he is currently aiding the field teams with sample processing in the Georgia Tech lab. In addition, Scot has been testing the capacity of the iChip, a micro-device designed for in-situ microbe cultivation, in the context of extreme environments. With refinement, he hopes that the iChip will prove a critical tool in assessing the microbial diversity of these environments, and allow for the discovery of novel species.

Gillian was a high school senior from the Wheeler Center for Advanced Studies. Her research in the Stockton group focused on analyzing the patterns of microbial communities in extreme environments by using DNA extraction combined with qPCR. In addition, she assisted in the initial testing of the iChip, a micro-device designed for in situ microbe cultivation, in the context of extreme environments. Gillian left the Stockton group in December of 2015 with plans to pursue her bachelor's degree at Georgia Tech.

Cindy Liauw

Principal Investigator

Giorgio G. Morbioli

Aaron Pital

Sam is a rising fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry at Georgia Tech. He is working with the Stockton Group on qPCR as well as sequencing of the DNA contained inside Icelandic volcanic soil samples. His work will seek to determine the phylogenetics of microbial communities in these Icelandic samples. Outside of his research, he enjoys playing piano, singing, and running sound tech at the student run theatre DramaTech.

Gillian Moss


Julia Muller

Thomas Cantrell

Following a 6 year stint in the US Navy, Aaron attended Kennesaw State for a Bachelor's in Science in Biochemistry. Currently, he is an incoming first-year graduate student in Analytical Chemistry at Georgia Tech. His investigations with Stockton Group involve generating and characterizing lab-grown semi-permeable inorganic membranes. Studying the physiological and chemical properties of these membranes could give rise to previously unknown understandings of the origins of life, as well as lead to many useful applications regarding chemical fuel cells.

George Tan is a third-year PhD student majoring in Analytical Chemistry at Georgia Tech. He holds two bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Biology from Jackson State University. With an extensive experience in microfluidics, he has worked on prototyping microfluidic circuit for automated fluid delivery and routing and possesses programming skills such as LabView, to monitor, configure, and control of microfluidic devices. He has participated in field sample collection and analysis in Rio Tinto and was the field qPCR lead in the 2015 US-UK-Nordic Icelandic Field Expedition. He is currently using amplicon sequencing and metagenomics to characterize the diversity of bacteria in tephra samples from Iceland.

Julia is a third-year undergraduate Chemistry student at Georgia Tech.  She is testing the durability of membranes at various temperatures and pH values to develop an assay for membrane analysis.  She is also working to test and develop the iChip, a micro-device designed for in-situ microbe cultivation aimed at studying extreme environments.  In the future, she will be analyzing samples yielded from the iChip devices.

Graduate Students

Giorgio is a second-year Ph.D. student in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He obtained his BSc (2013) and his MSc (2015) in Chemistry in the Institute of Chemistry of São Carlos at University of São Paulo, Brazil. His main research interests involve instrumentation design and development, microchip capillary electrophoresis and paper-based microfluidic devices.

Amanda Stockton, Ph.D.

Thomas Cantrell is an early career research scientist at Georgia Tech working under Dr. Amanda Stockton and the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His goal, as a scientist, is to bring together the disciplines of applied chemistry and biology with micro-devise engineering and microfluidics to answer questions concerning the extremes of life on Earth and where life might have arisen within our solar system and beyond. He particularly enjoys the field research that his science necessitates, and hope to explore many of the world’s natural wonders while exploring life’s big questions.

Mike is research engineering faculty within the Schools of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Aerospace Engineering. He generally supports the design and development of electro-mechanical and computing systems for spacecraft, instruments, and robotics systems. In the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mike supports the Stockton Lab with the development of scientific instruments, custom tools, process controls, and general engineering support. Mike is currently working on the development of a miniature 10kV High Voltage Sequencer for use on interplanetary space missions (including a proposed 50kG impact probe), analytical chemistry instruments, in cubesats, and as a stand-alone unit for field experiments.