Space Travel: Adaptive Research and Technologies from Biological and Chemical Engineering (STAR Tech)

November 12-14, 2018

This conference, STAR Tech (Space Travel: Adaptive Research and Technologies from biological and chemical engineering), is focused on bringing in non-traditional technologies from biological and chemical engineering including materials science and engineering that may apply to space travel technology and capability needs, in an effort to accelerate the development of commercial and non-commercial space exploration and increase the intersection between terrestrial and space applications. 

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This conference will also have a focus on sustaining life in harsh environments and the development of longevity for necessary materials, food, clean water, medicines, and much more. Professionals from industry, government and academia including students are highly encouraged to attend this conference. This is a great opportunity to present your work that may benefit the government and industry officials involved in space related technologies.

Conference Flyer

Poster size: 30"x40" any orientation (portrait, or landscape)

Session Topics:

  1. Material Technologies
  2. Chemical Technologies
  3. Biological Technologies

Keynote Speakers:

  • Eileen Stansbery, NASA

Invited Speakers:

Conference Co-Chairs:

Organizing Committee:

Featured Speakers

Adam Arkin

Adam Arkin is the Dean A. Richard Newton Memorial Professor in the Dept of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley and Senior Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He and his laboratory develop experimental and computational technologies for discovery, prediction, control and design of microbial and viral functions and behaviors in environmental contexts.

He is the director of the Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space ( He is also the chief scientist of...Read more

Mark Blenner

Mark Blenner received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Manhattan College, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University. There, he studied conformational changes in proteins and peptides, with applications in environmental sensing and in vitro toxicity testing. Mark was an NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School and the Immune Disease Institute, working with Dr. Timothy Springer engineering high affinity complexes involved in force sensing during blood clotting. He solved crystal structures of these engineered proteins to help explain how certain bonds...Read more

Jason Crusan

As director of the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), Jason Crusan serves as NASA’s senior executive, advisor and advocate on technology and innovation approaches leading to new flight and system capabilities for human exploration of space.Read more

Frances Houle

Frances Houle is Deputy Director for Science and Research Integration of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, and Senior Scientist in the Chemical Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her scientific interests are in the areas of mechanisms of surface, thin film and aerosol chemical transformations, particularly at the nanoscale, investigated using both experimental and computational techniques. She received the BA from the University of California at Irvine and the PhD from the California Institute of Technology, both in chemistry.  Prior to her...Read more

Matthew Kanan

Associate Professor of Chemistry Matthew Kanan develops new catalysts and chemical reactions for applications in renewable energy conversion and CO2 utilization. His group at Stanford University has recently developed a novel method to create plastic from carbon dioxide and inedible plant material rather than petroleum products, and pioneered the study of “defect-rich” heterogeneous electro-catalysts for converting carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to liquid fuel.
Matthew Kanan completed undergraduate study in chemistry at Rice University (B.A. 2000 Summa...Read more

Michael Koepke

Michael is a pioneer in genetic engineering and strain development of gas fermenting organisms to convert carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide to useful products. His research on Clostridium ljungdahlii demonstrated for the first time that gas fermenting acetogens can be genetically modified and provided a first genome and genetic blueprint of such an organism.

Since 2009, Michael is Director of Synthetic Biology at LanzaTech, a company that has developed a proprietary gas fermentation process that is revolutionizing the way the world thinks about waste carbon by

...Read more

Jodie Lutkenhaus

Jodie L. Lutkenhaus is the William and Ruth Neely Faculty Fellow and an Associate Professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University. Lutkenhaus received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2002 from The University of Texas at Austin and her Ph.D in Chemical Engineering in 2007 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following a postdoctoral position at University of Massachusetts Amherst, she joined the faculty at Yale in 2008. In 2010, she moved to Texas A&M University and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015. 

Amor Menezes

Amor Menezes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, an affiliate of the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, an affiliate of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and a member of the Institute for Cell & Tissue Science and Engineering at the University of Florida.Read more

Shannon Nangle

Shannon Nangle is a postdoctoral fellow in Pam Silver’s lab at Harvard. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in the Zheng lab and studied structure biology. Her work at Harvard focuses on genetic engineering of a lithoautotroph. She manipulates the metabolic pathways through genetic engineering to produce bioplastics, biofuels, feedstocks for heterotrophic microbes, and fertilizers; from CO2 and H2. Her prime directive is to use synthetic biology to address the challenges of ISRU to promote a permanent human presence beyond Earth.Read more

Brian Pfleger

Brian received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University in 2000, and earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering in 2005 from the University of California-Berkeley. Brian’s thesis research focused on developing methods of controlling gene expression in bacteria that could be applied to enhancing the biosynthesis of pharmaceuticals. 

After graduating, he accepted a NIH-postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he studied how six Bacillus anthracis enzymes assemble a natural product essential for iron acquisition and...Read more

Bradley Ringeisen

Dr. Brad Ringeisen joined DARPA as the Deputy Director of BTO in December 2016.Before coming to DARPA, Dr. Ringeisen was the Head of the Bioenergy and Biofabrication Section at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) where he oversaw diverse research programs including the development and application of laser-assisted printing approaches to biology, development of organs-on-a-chip, microbial energy harvesting and extracellular electron transfer, as well as microbial discovery and microbiome characterization. His personal research focused on using a variety of novel laser-based processing...Read more

James Saal

Dr. James Saal specializes in the design of new materials and computational materials simulation. At Citrine, James manages government-funded programs at the cutting edge of materials informatics with academic, laboratory, and industrial collaborators. Before joining Citrine in 2018, James was Manager of Technology at QuesTek Innovations, leading programs in computational materials design. He earned his Ph.D. in Material Science and Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, where he focused on computational materials thermodynamics. He is the author of over 40 peer-review...Read more