Faculty Profile: Lynn Rothschild, BS, Yale University, MA Indiana University, Ph.D., Brown University

Lynn Rothschild
Lynn Rothschild, BS, Yale University, MA Indiana University, Ph.D., Brown University
Adjunct Professor
Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, & Biochemistry
Work: (650)-604-6525
Rothschild's research focuses on how life, particularly microbes, evolved in the context of the physical environment, here and possibly elsewhere. She studies photosynthesis and DNA damage and repair in the lab and in field sites including Yellowstone, Australia, Kenya, the SF Bay, Baja and Andes. Lab members study UV resistance, synthetic biology, snow algae and aerobiology. She has flown experiments in balloons with Stanford, and rockets. Synthetic biology in support of NASA is a new focus.


Rothschild is an astrobiologist/ synthetic biologist at NASA Ames specializing in molecular approaches to evolution, particularly in microbes. She is the faculty adviser to the Brown-Stanford iGEM team. The 2011 team won blue ribbons at the NY Maker Faire, placed in the top 4 and won Best Presentation at the Americas regionals, and made "sweet 16" and won best new application at the Worlds at MIT. The 2012 team won Best New Part at the regionals, and placed in the sweet 16 out of 190 teams worldwide! And the 2013 team advanced from the North American Regionals to present a record-breaking four projects at the World Jamboree November 2013.

Grants and Awards

2012 CEO Award, Gen9 G-Prize
2010 Distinguished Planetary Science Lecture, University of Western Ontario (Canada)
2009 Tim Mutch Memorial Lecturer, Brown University
2005 Elected Corresponding Member, International Academy of Astronautics (Life Sciences)
2004 Elected Fellow, California Academy of Sciences
2004 Elected Fellow, The Explorer's Club
2004 NASA Outstanding Achievement Award
2002 Keynote Speaker, Vatican, and Windsor Castle
2002-3 President, Society of Protozoologists
2001 Auger Fellow, Hotchkiss School
2000 NASA Group Achievement Award, Astrobiology Team
1999 Elected Fellow, Linnean Society of London
1990, 1998 Jack N. Nielson Award, NASA Ames Research Center
1987-90 National Academy of Sciences NRC Research Associate
1987 National Research Council Fellowship, Canada (declined to accept NAS NRC)
1979 University Fellowship, Indiana University


Fellow of the Linnean Society
Corresponding Member, International Academy of Astronautics (Life Sciences)
Fellow, California Academy of Sciences
Fellow, The Explorer's Club
member, Phycological Society of America

Teaching Experience

Ph.D. thesis advisor, Brown University
Faculty advisor, Brown-Stanford iGEM team (2011, 2012)
"Astrobiology and Space Exploration" (Stanford University)
Directed reading in Advanced Topics in Evolution; Aerobiology (Stanford University)