Space Biotechnology / Fungi Specialist
Adriana has an M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Marie Curie Sklodowska University in Lublin, a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Southern California, and an MBA from Quantic School of Business and Technology. She has pioneered research into fungal adaptive responses to the space environment, utilizing a multiomic approach. She led a fungal test campaign, sending experiments to the International Space Station (ISS). As a Planetary Protection Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, her responsibility lies in preventing microbial contamination from Earth to other celestial bodies and vice versa, especially those with conditions to potentially sustain life. At JPL, she is also involved in mission formulation. Recently, she joined the space startup, Star Harbor, as their Chief Scientist, developing and executing their R&D architecture to make running experiments in orbit or on parabolic flights more affordable for customers.
She took part as a Chief Scientist in the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI–SEAS) program, replicating Mars-like operations and activities. During the mission, she tested an automated platform designed for in situ DNA extraction aboard the ISS, assessing its flight readiness level. This experience led Dr. Blachowicz to become the Science Team lead for the World’s Biggest Analog (WBA) – a global collaboration of researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs aiming to address the challenges of space living and working. She also mentored at the Launching Space Biology workshop, fostering a generation of scientists, students, and early-career researchers in the interdisciplinary field of space biology. Dr. Blachowicz is dedicated to promoting scientific awareness and education, often participating in conferences and public speaking events. In her leisure time, she is learning Spanish and Italian.