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Rocco Mancinelli

Senior Research Scientist

Affiliation: Bay Area Environmental Research Institute (BAERI) co-operative agreement


Phone: 650-604-6165

Professional Biography

Dr. Mancinelli has extensive experience in the conception, development, execution and documentation of fundamental research on various scientific problems in all aspects of astrobiology and microbiology that furthers the understanding of relationships among organisms and their environment across all time scales in a planetary context.  His experience is interdisciplinary ranging from managing research teams that design and develop instruments for use on space missions, to building a bioreactor system for understanding the genetic and biochemical mechanisms of denitrification as a function of environmental change, to flying microbes in space. An underlying goal of his research is to understand the environmental limits for the origin and evolution of life in a planetary context. Dr. Mancinelli also led and participated in international research teams involved in space flight with NASA (GeneSat, O/OREOS) and the European Space Agency (BioPans 2, 3, 4; EXPOSE missions PROTECT and ROSE). He is currently a Co-I on the primary payload of DLR’s Eu:CROPIS mission where it is his responsibility to determine if the nitrogen cycle within the system varies as a function of gravity.  He is also a Co-I on the NASA/ESA/DLR BIOFILMS experiment whose purpose is to better understand the physics and biology of biofilm formation in microgravity.


University of Colorado, Boulder Ph.D. 1982

Select Publications

Out of 110

Hallsworth, J, R. L. Mancinelli, et al.  2018. NaCl-saturated brines are thermodynamically moderate, rather than extreme, microbial habitats. FEMS Microbiological Reviews. on-line   fuy026, In press.

Hahn, C, M. Hans, C. Hein, R. L. Mancinelli, R. Mücklich, R. Wirth, P. Rettberg, C. E. Hellweg, R. Moeller. 2017. Pure and Oxidized Copper Materials as Potential Antimicrobial Surfaces for Spaceflight Activities. Astrobiology. 12:1183-1191.

Mancinelli, R. L., 2015. The effect of the space environment on the survival of Halorubrum chaoviator and Synechococcus (Nägeli): data from the Space Experiment OSMO on EXPOSE-R. Int. J. Astrobiol. 14:123-128.

Horneck, G., Cadet, J., Douki, T., Mancinelli, R. L, Nicholson, W., Panitz, C., Rabbow, E., Rettberg, P., Spry, J., Stackebrandt,, E., Vaishampayan, P., Venkatswaran, K.  2012.  Resistance of Bacterial Endospores to Outer Space for, Planetary Protection Purposes – Experiment PROTECT of the EXPOSE-E Mission. Astrobiology, 12:445-456.

Marshall, J. R., and R. L. Mancinelli.  2011. The Effect of Spacecraft Descent Engine Plumes on Organic. Horneck, G., Klaus, D., & Mancinelli, R. L. 2010. Space Microbiology. Microbiol. Molec. Biol. Rev. 74:121-156.

Mancinelli, R.L., Landheim, R., Sanchez-Porro, C., Dornmayr-Pfaffenhuemer, M., Gruber, C., Legat, A., Ventosa, A., Radax, C., Ihara, K., White, M. R., & Stan-Lotter, H. 2009. Halorubrum chaoviator sp. nov.,  a haloarchaeon isolated from sea salt in Baja California, Mexico, Western Australia and Naxos, Greece.  Intl J. System. Evol. Microbiol. 59: 1908-1913.

Mancinelli, R. L., Warren-Rhodes, K., Banin, A., & Landheim, R. 2008. The enigma of the nitrate deposits in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Int. J. Astrobiol. 7:69.

Mancinelli, R.L., Fahlen, T.F., Landheim, R. & Klovstad, M.R.  2004. Brines and evaporites analogs for martian life. Adv. Space Res. 33:1244-1246.

Mancinelli, R. L. & Banin, A.  2003 Where is the nitrogen on Mars?  Int. J. Astrobio. 2: 27-225.

Rothschild, L.J., and Mancinelli, R.L. 2001. Life in extreme environments.  Nature (London) 409: 1092-1101.

Kanavarioti, A., and Mancinelli, R.L. 1990. Could organic matter have been preserved on Mars for 3.5 billion years? Icarus 84:196-202.

Mancinelli, R. L., and C. P. McKay. 1988. Evolution of Nitrogen Cycling.      Origins of Life 18: 311-325.

Wharton, R.A., Jr., McKay, C.P., Mancinelli, R.L. & Simmons, G.M. Jr. 1987. Perennial N2 supersaturation in an Antarctic lake. Nature 325: 343-345.