Meet our Board of Advisors

Meet the SAGANet Board of Advisors

We are fortunate at to have an excellent team of advisors! These individuals represent the best in professional scientists, astrobiology educators, early childhood educators, evaluation and mentoring. We thank them for providing sound advice as we continue to grow and evolve as a novel platform for scientific engagement!

Zach Adam


Zach Adam is a Precambrian paleobiologist at Harvard University. He has uncovered some of the oldest remains of eukaryotes known from the fossil record from the 1.4 billion year old Belt Supergroup of Montana, as part of an effort to understand how some life forms eventually evolved into the variety of complex species that inhabit our planet today. He has organized and conducted paleobiology- and astrobiology-themed outreach activities using his research materials with students in Montana. 

Check out Zach's profile!

Marni Anbar

Marni Anbar is Co-Director of the Discovery Room, a unique play-to-learn experience for students to engage in the wonder of science and engineering during their lunch recess. The Discovery Room complements classroom instruction by providing an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a science and engineering-rich environment, with the ultimate goal being to stimulate a sustained interest in these disciplines. Marni earned a Masters in Math Education from the University of Rochester. 

Check out Marni's profile!

Julia DeMarines


Julia DeMarines is an astrobiologist and science communicator. She is involved in research regarding Titan the moon of Saturn, and several education and public outreach efforts including her latest endeavor as the education officer onboard the JOIDES Resolution scientific drilling vessel.

Other appointments: Research Scientist, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science; Space Science Department Associate, Denver Museum of Nature & Science; Planetary Science Graduate Student, Hampton University 

Check out Julia's profile!

Heshan "Grasshopper" Illangkoon 


Heshan "Grasshopper" Illangkoon is an astrobiologist and synthetic biologist with  interests including the origins of life and social entrepreneurship. 

Other appointments: Research Scientist, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science; Director Social Enterprise Development, Prometheon Pharma

In addition to his love of communicating science, Grasshopper is also a social entrepreneur and currently serves as the Director of Social Enterprise Development at Prometheon Pharma.

Check out Grasshopper's profile!

Betul Kacar


Betul Kacar is a NASA Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology Fellow at Harvard University. She combines experimental evolution with ancestral sequence reconstruction to investigate mechanisms for evolutionary innovation. She also leads and participates in projects targeting girls' involvement in STEM as well as bringing science to public through various community outreach activities in the United States as well as in her home country, Turkey. 

Check out Betul's profile!

Emma Miller

Dr. Emma L. Miller has a PhD in Applied Management and Decision Science with a concentration in Leadership and Organizational Change from Walden University.  As a researcher, she has focused on mentoring examining how it relates to student retention and attrition and its impact on the institution.  She has written in international journals and presented in international conferences. She recently co-authored a book called “Mentoring Diverse Populations” and is currently working on a new book titled “Mentoring the Latino Population in Higher Education” scheduled to be released fall of 2015. She serves as an associate editor for the Academy of Management, Common Ground Publisher, and Mentoring Institute as well as a reviewer for the 2014 ITC-Emerald Best International Dissertation Award.  Currently, Dr. Miller is a Senior Advisor, Administrator, and Mentoring Program Coordinator for the 501c3 non-profit organization Blue Marble Space

Check out Emma's profile!

Anne Rolfe (External Advisor)

Anne Rolfe is Australia’s most published author on mentoring, Ann Rolfe has thirty years experience in learning and development. For the last sixteen years, she has specialised in helping organisations and individuals enjoy the benefits of mentoring. Widely respected as a consultant and presenter, her training programs and resources are used internationally to develop and support mentoring. In 2011, a program she helped design and deliver within the NSW Department of Community and Family Services won the LearnX Asia Pacific Platinum Award for Best Coach/Mentoring Training Program.

Daniella Scalice

Since 2000, Daniella Scalice has been the Education, Outreach, and Communication Lead for the NASA Astrobiology Institute at NASA Ames Research Center. As such she manages NAIs extensive portfolio of educational projects, oversees curriculum and website development, provides content to media and educational outlets, and delivers workshops to educators and students all over the world. In 2005 she developed the NASA and the Navajo Nation project, an ongoing, NASA-funded initiative wherein cultural and scientific knowledge about our origins are brought together into new class- room materials for Navajo teachers and summer field camps for Navajo students.  In 2011, Daniella began managing the FameLab initiative for the NASA Astrobiol- ogy Program the first ever in the United States! Akin to American Idol... but for scientists... FameLab builds communication skills for early career scientists within the unique construct of an international competition. Daniella holds a BS in Molecular Biology from UC Santa Cruz, and pursued an MA in Film at Humboldt State University. Check out Daniella's profile!

Sanjoy Som


Director and Chief Executive OfficerBlue Marble Space

Sanjoy Som is an astrobiologist who conducts research in early earth evolution and bioenergetics. He is also the systems engineer for Fruit Fly Lab, a NASA Ames led mission to place a fruit fly research facility onboard the International Space Station. 

Other Appointments: Research Scientist, NASA Ames' Exobiology Branch; Research Scientist, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science; Board of Directors, Blue Marble Space

Check out Sanjoy's profile!

Sara Imari Walker


DirectorBlue Marble Space

Sara Imari Walker is an astrobiologist and theoretical physicist interested in the nature and origin of life: both here on Earth and potentially elsewhere in the universe. 

Other Appointments: Assistant Professor in the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science and the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University; Board of Directors, Blue Marble Space; Research Scientist, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science; Fellow, ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems

Check out Sara's profile!

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