Catharine Conley

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Catharine Anastasia Conley was NASA's Planetary Protection Officer from 2006 to mid 2014.


Conley received her bachelor's from MIT, a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Cornell University in 1994, and obtained a postdoctoral fellow position at The Scripps Research Institute studying proteins involved in muscle contraction.[1][2] Conley conducts some of her research using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.[3] [4]

NASA career[edit]

In 1999 Conley became a research scientist with the NASA Ames Research Center. Her research focuses on the evolution of motility, particularly animal muscle. One of her experiments was on board during the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. The experiment, the fourteenth Biological Research In Canisters (BRIC-14), survived re-entry and the nematode cultures were still alive. Some scientific data was recovered.[5]

In 2006, Conley was appointed as NASA's Planetary Protection Officer (see Planetary protection).[6][7] [8] [9] [10][11] In June 2014 NASA posted a vacancy for the position of Planetary Protection Officer.[12]