Ivan G. Paulino Lima

Organization: 
NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow
Business Phone: 
Work: (650) 604-1914
Fax: (650) 604-6779
Business Address: 
NASA Ames Research Center
Mail Stop 239-20, Bldg N239 Rm 373
P.O. Box 1
Moffett Field, CA 94035-0001
United States
Notes: 

My current research project at NASA Ames Research Center is related to the evolution of radiation resistance, which is a widespread phenotype with representative organisms from all domains of life. Physiological factors have been recently demonstrated to play a role on radiation resistance. In particular, a strong positive correlation has been identified between intracellular accumulation of manganese (Mn) and high resistance to radiation in several biological models. However, the question of the evolution of radiation resistance has never been studied using an approach of environmental microbiology. My research involves collecting soil samples on places with high Mn, exposed to high levels of radiation and/or to desiccation conditions (lack of water). Water is the basic requirement for all forms of life on Earth, and radiation is the practical limiting factor for long-term space travel. Accumulation of intracellular Mn helps to improve radiation resistance in several biological models. So understanding how life thrives with very limited amount of water may help us to figure out how to survive on Mars. Understanding how life deals with radiation may help us to get there and beyond.