Catharine Anastasia Conley is NASA's Planetary Protection Officer.
Conley received her 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. Conley conducts some of her research using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. 
 NASA career
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.
- Catharine Conley
- Person Report: Catharine Conley
- International Caenorhabditis elegans Experiment: Physiological Study of Nematode Worms in Weightlessness (ICE-First) 2009-02-20
- International Ceonorhabditis elegans Experiment First flight : Science Goals and Objectives
- Columbia Survivors 2006-01-01
- In NASA’s Sterile Areas, Plenty of Robust Bacteria 2007-10-09
- Shades of Gravity: Interview with Catharine Conley 2007-11-05
- Planetary protection considerations for mars sample return March 2008
- Meet Cassie Conley
- Spaceward bound: Cassie Conley
- Catharine Conley Pipl Profile