Kennda Lian Lynch

Staff Scientist
Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI)
Universities Space Research Association
3600 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77058
Office: 281.486.2149

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PhD, Colorado School of Mines, 2015, Environmental Science & Engineering
Dissertation Title: A geobiological investigation of the hypersaline sediments of Pilot Valley, Utah: A potential terrestrial analogue to ancient lake basins on Mars
Advisors: Dr. Junko Munakata Marr & Dr. John Spear

M.S. University of Colorado at Boulder, 2008, Aerospace Engineering Sciences
Advisor: Dr. David Klaus

Dual B.S. University of Illinois, 1999, General Engineering and Biology
Engineering Concentration: Space Life Sciences & Advanced Life Support

Areas of Professional expertise and interest

  • Microbial ecology and bioenergetics of extreme environments
  • Geomicrobiology of hypersaline sediments
  • Environmental biotechnology & bio-resource engineering
  • Planetary habitability, Mars analog research, and astrobiology
  • Development of in situ instrumentation for robotic exploration
  • Teaching, mentoring and STEM curriculum development (both collegiate and K-12)
  • Science communication


Georgia Institute of Technology/University of Montana
Postdoctoral Researcher, Rosenzweig Group 2016-Present
Jacobs Sverdrup/ Lockheed Martin Space Operations, Houston, TX
Senior Research Engineer, JSC Astrobiology Group, ARES 2003-2006
Project Engineer, International Space Station Program  2001-2003
Abbott Laboratories, Engineering Professional Development Program, North Chicago, IL
Metrology Engineer, Corporate Engineering Division 2000-2001
The Boeing Company, International Space Station Program, Houston, TX
Cooperative Education Student, Hardware/Software Integration 1997-1999
Honeywell, Micro Switch Division, Freeport, IL
Intern through University of Illinois Imprint Program 1993


Graduate Researcher, Colorado School of Mines 2008-2015
Research Assistant, University of Colorado at Boulder 2006-2008
Team Leader: Undergraduate Microgravity Research Team University of Illinois 1998-1999
Space Life Science Training Program NASA Kennedy Space Center Summer 1995
Howard Hughes REU Student, Virginia Institute of Marine Science Summer 1994

Mentor, SAGANet Virtual Mentoring Program 2013-present
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Co-Mentor, GaTech Undergrad Lauren Kimbrough 2017-present
Co-Mentor, GaTech Summer REU student Tyia Pratt  Summer 2017
Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
Mentor, CSM undergrads Chris Matthews & Nohemi Almaraz 2013-2014
Teaching Fellow for Bechtel K-5 Educational Initiative 2011-2013
Laboratory Instructor for BELS 311 (Gen. Bio. Laboratory 1) 2010-2011
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Graduate Mentor for SMART Summer Program 2007-2008
Teaching Assistant for ASTR/GEOL 3300 (Extraterrestrial Life) Fall 2007
Co-Faculty Mentor for ASEN 4018/4028 Senior Project Design 2006-2007
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
Mentor, JSC Co-ops: Madhurita Sengupta & Laura Sarmiento  2005
Mentor, HS Student Jennifer Hsu, NASA SHARP Program Summer 2004
University of Illinois, College of Engineering, Urbana-Champaign, IL
Engineering 100 Program Director 1997-1999
Engineering 100 Learning Assistant 1996
Teaching Assistant for GE 221 (Intro. to Engineering Design) Fall 1998
Teaching Assistant for GE 199 (Intro. to General Engineering 1996-1997