Betül Kacar

 

Betül Kaçar works as astrobiologist at Harvard University and NASA Astrobiology Institute. She started her research in the US after receiving an award from American Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) for the project she applied with when she was 19 years old. She conducted her doctorate studies on the proteins that cause Parkinson and Alzheimer, then switched to evolutionary biology and astrobiology as a postdoctoral researcher and designed her own research topic, for which she received NASA Young Researcher Award as well as NASA Astrobiology Institute and NASA Exobiology researcher awards. In addition, she is among the founders of the only astrobiology educational platform in the world for the youth who has difficulty of access to education and information, NASA – SAGAN. In 2016, she received the invitation to be a faculty member at Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) founded by the Government of Japan, and she currently holds this position at Tokyo Institute of Technology simultaneously with her work in the US. Betül Kaçar’s research aims to understand the biological structure of the micro-sized creatures that left remains on the earth; she is comparing the biological life that she constructed at the laboratory based on preserved genetic material from ancient organisms to the data gathered from the solar system and other planets, and looking for traces of life in the universe.