Dirk Schulze-Makuch is new professor for astrobiology in a joint appointment of GFZ, Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fishing (IGB) and Technische Universität Berlin. At GFZ, he will work in section Geomicrobiology.
The field of research of Schulze-Makuch is astrobiology, with the focus of the new professorship being planetary habitability, i.e. the investigation of conditions for the preservation of life on planetary bodies like the Earth. Schulze-Makuch is the author of numerous books on the subject, including his latest publication "The Living Universe: Complex Life on Many Planets". His current research focus is the project Dry Limit of Life, which focuses on the study of extremophilic organisms in the Atacama Desert.
Dirk Schulze-Makuch studied geology at the Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, and received his doctorate in geosciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA. He then worked as a senior project hydrogeologist at Envirogen, Inc. and then took a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Texas, El Paso. During this time, he was also a Faculty Fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Schulze-Makuch then became a professor at Washington State University before moving to Berlin Technical University. In 2011 he was awarded the Humboldt Foundation's Friedrich-Wilhelm Bessel Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of Theoretical Biology. Dirk Schulze-Makuch is Chairman of the Board of the German Astrobiological Society. (ak)