New Synbion Website
A new website for the Synbion Network is here. Synbion is a network of synthetic biologists interested in engineering novel metabolic pathways and making nanoscale biological devices.

Synthetic biology MRes
Details here.

Dr Claire Cousins


PhD student (2006 – present) joint with the Department of Earth Sciences, UCL
BSc. Hons. Geology, from Cardiff University

Current Research Interests

My research interests lie broadly within the field of astrobiology – a highly multidisciplinary area of science that explores the origin and distribution of life within the Universe. Focusing on Mars in particular, I am a strong believer in utilising analogous environments on Earth to help understand what, where, and how life could inhabit Mars. Employing methodologies from both microbiology and geology, I have investigated Martian analogue environments in Iceland and Antarctica regarding their microbial diversity (described above) and biosignatures. Additionally, I am involved in the development of the Panoramic Camera instrument on board the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover – a mission which aims to find evidence for life on the red planet – and I was lucky enough to take part in field-testing this instrument during the Arctic Mars Analogue Svalbard Expedition (AMASE). I thoroughly enjoy such strongly interdisciplinary research, and especially investigation into polar environments, and hope to remain in research following the completion of my PhD. For more details, please see my website.


Cousins CR, Smellie JL, Jones AP, Crawford IA. (2009): A comparative study of endolithic microborings in basaltic lavas from a transitional subglacial - marine environment. International Journal of Astrobiology 8 (1): 37 - 49.

Storrie-Lombardi MC, Muller J-P, Fisk MR, Cousins CR, Sattler B, Griffiths AD, Coates AJ. (2010): Laser Induced Fluorescence Emission (L.I.F.E.): Searching for Mars Organics with a UV-Enhanced PanCam. Astrobiology 9 (10): 953 – 964.

Cousins CR, Ward JM, Crawford IA, Towner MC, Jones AP. (2009): Life in subglacial lavas as an analogue for life on Mars. Goldschmidt Conference Abstracts 2009. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73 (13) Supplement 1: pp. A248.