Young lab, old phenotypes. Email Betul for available positions.

Principle Investigator: Betul Kacar

Assistant Professor
Molecular and Cellular Biology & Astronomy
NASA Early Career Fellow
Email: betul AT arizona DOT edu
Curriculum Vitae

Research Specialist: Ross Monasky (M.Sc Biochemistry, UofA, 2018)

Carl Sagan Cosmos

Postdoctoral Fellow: Amanda Garcia (Ph. D. Geobiology, UCLA, 2018)

Carl Sagan Cosmos

Graduate Student: Pearl Lam (ABBS)


Pearl Lam is interested in studying the evolution of the Rubisco enzyme, one of Earth’s ancient proteins heavily implicated in the rise of oxygen in our planet’s early atmosphere. By integrating phylogenetics, genome engineering, and laboratory evolution, she travels back in time and engineers ancient proteins into modern cyanobacteria to resurrect an ancient photosynthetic system and study its unique metabolic properties in vivo. To learn more about her research, contact her by email –

Undergraduate Students:

Sofia Jacobson (Arizona MCB)

Jacobson%2c Sofia- Head Shot.JPG

Sofia Jacobson is a freshman at the University of Arizona. She will be completing her bachelor of science pursuing the field of Molecular and Cellular Biology. She seeks a higher level of education to obtain the knowledge and skills to become a researcher involved with astrobiological discoveries; relating to genome engineering with ancient-modern hybrid organisms, to unravel the origins of evolution and processes involved with initiating life.

Benji Knapp (Arizona MCB)


Benji Knapp is a sophomore studying Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Spanish. He hopes to continue on to Medical School upon completion of his undergraduate and the University of Arizona. He is interested in genetics and the development of hereditary diseases as he hopes to be a Medical Geneticist in his future profession.

Honorary Members: 

  • Hope Dang
  • Zach Adam

Gone but not forgotten. Former Members — Next positions

  • Hanon McShea (Undergrad, Senior Thesis) — Graduate Student, Stanford University
  • Ryan Ward (Undegrad, Senior Thesis) – Fulbright Scholar, Ecole Normale Supérieure
  • Alex Plesa (Undergrad) — Graduate Student, Harvard Medical School
  • Ulku Uzun (MEME Masters Fellow) — Graduate Student, Oxford University
  • Anna Donovan (Undergrad, Senior Thesis) — Supervisor, Silk Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Gokce Senger (Undergrad, Senior Thesis) — Graduate Student, METU
  • Brett Enos (Lab Tech) — Graduate Student, Tulane University
  • Lily Tran (Undergrad) — Research Specialist, Georgia State University
  • Jennifer Zhang (Undergrad) — Research Specialist, Emory University

Join us!

We accept students through Molecular and Cell Biology, ABBS, EEB and Astronomy Programs. Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows interested in astrobiology, origins of life and experimental evolution, please contact Betul.[Email]