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Team Members: Lab Members


Research Faculty


Dr. Siddharth Pandey

Dr. Renitta Jobby

Head of ACoeA

Assistant Professor

Dr Siddharth Pandey is the Head of Amity Space Centre and the Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology at Amity University India. As a part of this, he is leading an initiative to establish India's first centre that will work towards studying the origins and distribution of life in the Universe. Prior to this, he has experience in building sample collection instruments for Mars and Venus surface missions while working at NASA Ames, USA. He received the NASA Spaceflight Awareness Team Award and NASA Ames Technology Transfer Award for two successful spaceflight experiments onboard the International Space Station and co-owns a registered NASA patent. Siddharth has led international expeditions to explore extreme environments in Ladakh and Lonar crater, Maharashtra as sites to test experiments and systems for Mars exploration. He is a Director with the Mars Society Australia and is actively involved in planning analogue field projects in India and Australia. He has been engaged in education and public outreach activities and is motivated to use Space as a tool to spread awareness, social consciousness and inclusiveness within our communities. He holds MS in Space Systems Engineering from TU Delft, Netherlands and BTech in Aerospace Engineering from Amity University, India.


Dr Renitta Jobby is presently working as Assistant Professor at Amity Institute of Biotechnology,  Amity University Maharashtra. She is also a member of the Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology at Amity University. She has around 16 years of experience including teaching, research and Industry. She has done her PhD in Biotechnology from D. Y. Patil University, Navi Mumbai in 2015. She completed her M.Sc in Microbiology in 2005 from the Institute of Science, Mumbai and her B.Sc in Microbiology in 2003 from G.N. Khalsa College, Mumbai.

Her research interests include Microbiology, Probiotics, Gut Microbiology, Space Biology. She has also got around several National and International publications which include research articles, review articles, book chapters, and other articles. She has also published several 16s rDNA sequences in NCBI GeneBank for bacterial isolates from indigenous samples. She is also a reviewer for many Scopus journals.

She is the lead investigator of the Amity Microbial Repository of Extremophiles from Ladakh 2021 (AMREL21) which will be culturing, identifying and preserving the extremophiles from sample sites of Ladakh. She is a Co-investigator for the Autonomous Life Growth Experiment-1 or ALGE-1 & Amity Space Biology Experiment-1 which would be India's 1st Biological experiment to launch for the ISRO PS4 Program. 
She has also undertaken and completed several other Industrial projects for Natural Remedies, Pvt. Limited Bangalore, Futuris Healthcare Mumbai, Municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai,  Gumpro drilling Fluids Pvt Ltd.

She has been very active in inculcating research drive in students and has encouraged them to carry out projects leading to international publications. She is keenly interested in academic writing and has also been involved in training students for the same.

Dr. Pavithra Sekhar

Assistant Professor

Dr Pavithra Sekhar is a Planetary Geoscientist and is an Assistant Professor at the Center of Excellence in Astrobiology at Amity University, Mumbai. She did her Bachelor's and Master's in physics in Chennai, focusing on Astronomy and Astrophysics. She completed her PhD, majoring in planetary geophysics, at the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech, USA. Her main research involved 3D convection modeling and visualization of the mantle of Mars and Ceres to help understand the mantle plume structure for different rheologies; including the melt production and volcanism on the Martian surface. During her postdoctoral work, she modeled brine formation and serpentinization due to impact driven hydrothermal systems on Mars by using Earth analogs, i.e., The Chesapeake Bay impact crater. She modeled the same for the Rainbow Hydrothermal System located at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Her research interests at Amity include understanding the Puga Valley hydrothermal field, Lonar Crater and the serpentinization study at Ladakh.

As a teaching faculty in India and USA, she has experience in teaching different facets of science such as: Physics, Earth Sciences, Geology, Environmental Sciences and Planetary Science and is a part of designing the upcoming master's course in Astrobiology at Amity. She is a seasoned STEM outreach promoter and participated in numerous outreach programs, which include conducting impact crater and volcanic experiments and judging robotic competitions.

She has been awarded numerous scholarships and a medal for overall academic excellence. She participated as a guest investigator scientist for NASA's DAWN mission and was awarded the 13th Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG) Early Career Travel Recipient, NASA for her work on the dwarf planet, Ceres. She has published and presented her research at numerous conferences; like AGU, LPSC, GLADE (Geodynamics of the Lithosphere and Deep Earth) and Fall Fluid Mechanics Symposium. She has provided mentorship for students at international conferences. In addition, she serves as a reviewer for multiple planetary science programs and is a member of AGU, Women in Planetary Science, American Astronomical Society (AAS) Women and National Association of Geoscience Teachers.

Adjunct Faculty


Dr. Jonathan Clarke

Dr. Jen Blank

Adjunct Professor

Adjunct Professor

Jon is a general practitioner in geology.  He started out life as a palaeontologist, doing honours in Silurian palaeoecology at the University of Tasmania.  He then became an exploration geologist in South Australia, looking for Permian coal and Cambrian oil and sodium carbonate salts.  That was followed by a Ph.D. at Flinders University in Adelaide on the deposition and diagenesis of Cambrian limestones, including fossil sponge-microbe reefs.  After six months in marine surveys of the Great Australian Bight for the federal government, he joined a resource company and spent the next decade in exploration.  This included looking for gold and nickel near Kamblada Western Australia, copper, gold, and zinc exploration in Queensland and South Australia, copper and gold exploration in the Philippines, Chile and South Australia, and gold in Victoria.  He then taught geology at the Australian National University for several years before joining the federal government at Geoscience Australia working in salinity management in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and NSW, groundwater exploration in NSW, and precompetitive mineral exploration in Victoria, as well as taking part in a review of rare earth, lithium, and potash potential in Australian salt lakes. Jon has been interested in Mars since he was about ten years old, before people even walked on the Moon.  Since finding out about Mars Society Australia in 2001, he has taken part in six expeditions to inland Australia, one to New Zealand, one to India, and three Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) rotations. His Martian interests include Martian geology and geomorphology and their terrestrial analogues, astrobiology, exploration technologies (especially habitats, vehicles, and suits), mission architectures, and human factors.  He currently serves as president of MSA, is on the Mars Society International Steering Committee, and is director of science at MDRS.

Dr. Blank/Jen is an astrobiologist with a horse. She’s affiliated with the ChemCam instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Science Team, teasing out the mineral and inferred fluid history of the martian terrain explored by Curiosity. Jen studied geochemistry in graduate school, building devices to characterize the behavior of magmatic gases in lavas the size of a fingernail. She’s also used large guns to simulate impacts of comets hitting the Earth, demonstrating that small organic compounds can be delivered to terrestrial planets and even form larger polymers in the process. Close to home, she works with microbiologists at a field site with alkaline spring waters and unusual biomineralized pavement, a proto-dolomite cement that could be an analog for biomarkers on other planets.

Dr. Annalea Beattie


Adjunct Professor and Artist

Annalea is an artist and educator who lives and works in Melbourne. Through an art practice based in space science, her research considers how art might activate isolated communities living in extreme environments, contributing to social cohesion, performance, and quality of life. Annalea is National Secretary and an Executive Director of the Mars Society Australia, a past member of Crew 118 at the Mars Desert Research Station and a participant in Spaceward Bound New Zealand 2015 and a recent crew member of Spaceward Bound Ladakh. She has contributed to three Springer volumes that explore the challenges for humans living in frontier societies off-Earth.

Researchers and Students

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Saksham Bhadani

Rinkey Shahu

Abigail Fernandes

Junior Research Fellow

Ph.D Scholar

Ph.D Scholar

Saksham is a mechatronics engineer, specializing in mobile robotics. He is currently working on the development of hardware for space biology payloads.

Rinkey is a biotechnologist, working on in-vitro cultivation of natural sweetener. She is developing plant callus and microbial cultures for space biology payloads. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing outdoor games.

Abigail's research interest include food microbiology and nutraceuticals. She is involved in the development of plant calli as well as microbial cultures for the two payloads. Apart from that, she is a bird-watcher and amateur wildlife photographer. 

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Nidhi Goswami

Anurup Mohanty

Sahaj Bharindwal

Post Graduate // M.Sc Biotechnology

Undergraduate // BTech Biotech

Graduate // B.Sc Biotech

Nidhi has graduated from the M.Sc biotechnology program at Amity University Mumbai. She is interested in studying life in extreme environments and their survival in extraterrestrial settings.

Anurup is a student of biotechnology at SRM Institute of Science and Technology. He is interested in studying microbes living in extreme environments and their applications in astrobiology. 

Sahaj has completed his B.Sc from Amity University Mumbai. He is experienced in microbiology laboratory and using his skills to explore astrobiology.

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Nilay Awasthi

Graduate // BTech ECE

Jovel Varghese Jose

Graduate // BTech Biotech

Graduate // M.Sc Biotech

Payal Agarwal

Payal is a postgraduate student at Amity University Mumbai. She's keen to investigate the effect of various off-Earth environments on different human cell lines.

Jovel is a BTech (Biotechnology) student and Astrobiology team member at Amity University Mumbai. He is helping develop biocontrol approaches for growing plants on the International Space Station and for Future Human Habitats. 

Drilling in a terrain with varying slope is a critical situation to handle in the real time, in Space Exploration. Nilay is working on developing instrumentation with feedback control system for optimising drilling performance on Lunar Surface.

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Jibran Ahmed

Graduate // BTech Aerospace

Shreya Fadanavis

Junior Research Fellow

Akshay E

Junior Research Fellow

Jibran has been developing designs for Mars Analogue Research Stations with focus on power system and geometric configurations.

Shreya is a postgraduate in Biotechnology and is currently working on developing biological experiments for space biology payloads. She is keen to understand how bacterial and plant life adapt in space.

I am an MSc Physics graduate, primarily interested in radio and pulsar astronomy, currently working in a team to set up a dedicated SETI backend at uGMRT and carry out few of the very first searches for intelligent life from India.


Junior Research Fellow

Raghav Girgaonkar

Junior Research Fellow

Arun M

Avinash Kumar

Junior Research Fellow

Arun completed his ME in Signal Processing from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. His research interests include Statistical Signal Processing and Learning, and Radio astronomy. Currently, he is a part of the Amity-UC Berkeley project aiming to set up the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT) at Pune for SETI research.

I have completed my Bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics and Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. My research interests are in radio and pulsar astronomy. Currently, I am a part of the Amity-UC Berkeley project aiming to set up the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT) at Pune for SETI research.

Avinash is interested in radio astronomy, particularly in the evolution of galaxies. Currently, he is working as a Junior Research Fellow in the Amity - SETI project to help develop a Radio Synthesis Imaging pipeline. He has completed his masters in physics (specialization in electronics) from the University of Allahabad.


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Debashree Das

Tanvi Pataskar

Shireen Mathur

Post Graduate

Post Graduate

Post Graduate

Debashree worked at ACoeA as a Junior Research Fellow on projects related to space biology.

Tanvi joined the M. Sc. Biotechnology program at Amity University Mumbai and became a part of ACOEA family. Her particular interest in this field concerns with Origin of life in hot spring environment & the study of microbial survival in the extraterrestrial environment. 

Shireen is a BTech (Aerospace Engineering) student and Astrobiology team member at Amity University Mumbai. She has recently been selected for the prestigious Blue Marble Space Young Scientist Program to undertake her summer internship with Dr Dimitra Atri (Research Scientist New York University, Abu Dhabi) on "Radiation and its effects on astronaut health in long-term space missions."


Akshay is part of the ASBE-1 team and is currently helping complete the flight model for second handover (launch delayed due to COVID-19).

Akshay Ghaywat

Kartik Agrawal

Ashish Jacob Sam




Kartik is part of the ASBE-1 team and is currently helping complete the flight model for second handover (launch delayed due to COVID-19).

Ashish is part of the ASBE-1 team and is currently helping complete the flight model for second handover (launch delayed due to COVID-19).


Neha Maanju

Undergraduate // BTech Mech Engg

Vedanth Sharma

Undergraduate // BTech Aerospace

Sipra Sonali Pradhan

Undergraduate // BTech Mech Engg

Heat flow measurements on the lunar surface give significant insight into the evolution of the Earth-moon system. Neha is working on ways to integrate the heat probe and the drill so that numerous measurements can be taken, availing the mobility of the rover.

Vedanth is working on the thermal modeling of a lunar drill, preventing issues such as the burning of the drill bit at high-temperature, modification of sampled content, and loss of scientific validity due to the heat generated by the dry drilling process in a high-vacuum environment.

Sipra is modelling the vapour pressure and the  rate of sublimation of ice in the lunar regolith under atmospheric pressure at the lunar poles. This would give us an insight into coring of the lunar sample without letting the ice get sublimated.


Dr. Pamela Jha


Dr. Pamela worked as an Assistant Professor at ACoEA and led the plant biosciences aspect of astrobiology research at the centre.

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