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Dr. Chris Dateo, Deputy Division Chief, Space Science and Astrobiology Division (Code ST)

Chris Dateo

Deputy Division Chief of the Space Science & Astrobiology Division, Ames Research Center

Professional Background

Dr. Chris Dateo is the Deputy Division Chief for the Space Science and Astrobiology Division (ST).  Prior to this appointment in March 2023, he served as the Exobiology Branch Chief (STX) from 2016 to March of 2023.

Chris received his B.A. in Chemistry at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, and his Ph.D. in Computational and Theoretical Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.  After postdoctoral fellowships at Cambridge University, England and the University of California, Santa Barbara, Chris came to NASA Ames Research Center in 1991 as a contractor in the Computational Chemistry Branch within the Space Technology Division (now the Entry Systems and Technology Division).

As a research scientist in the Computational Chemistry Branch, Chris participated in a wide range of basic research and project-funded activities, including the study of de-NOx reactions for the NASA High Speed Research Program, researching novel high-energy density materials under a joint Air Force/NASA HEDM Program, modeling carbon nanotube growth , determining key reaction rates for chemical vapor deposition processes, developing models of possible prebiotic chemistry mechanisms of the early Earth’s atmosphere funded by NASA’s Exobiology Program, and others. His research has resulted in over 60 peer-reviewed publications. 

Before joining the Exobiology Branch, Chris served as technical manager in the Space Technology Division’s Computational Chemistry, Nanotechnology, Reacting Flow Environments, and Thermal Protection Materials and Systems Branches over a span of 16 years supporting a number of NASA projects including Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), Orion, and Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).

Chris has been serving as the Ames Center Lead for SMD’s Planetary Science Division’s Internal Science Funding Model (ISFM) directed work packages and as the participating Center Subtopic Manager for subtopic S13.06 In Situ Instruments/Technologies and Plume Sampling Systems for Ocean Worlds Life Detection for NASA’s SBIR Program that is focused on developing technologies associated with exploring Ocean Worlds in our solar system.

Chris is an avid tennis player and cyclist and he enjoys hiking.