Ligia Fonseca Coelho

Postdoctoral Associate


Lígia has a background in microbiology and a PhD in Bioengineering/Astrobiology from the MIT Portugal Program/Técnico.  She is interested in the study of biosignatures with a focus on biological pigments, extreme environments, and planetary field analogs. Lígia's interests extend to innovation and space biology. In 2019, Lígia was the co-author of the winning space biology payload project that flew on-board of the New Shepard (Blue Origin) to study the effect of microgravity in photosynthesis, and in 2022 she was the co-author of a second winning payload project to study the effect of the space environment in medical devices for women's health, that will fly later 2022 on-board of the rocket Baltasar (Técnico, Portugal). 

In 2022, Lígia was the only Portuguese awarded with a Fulbright Schuman for scholars.

Her research project at Cornell University will focus on the study and creation of databases of colorful biosignatures to serve as a tool for space missions searching for extra-terrestrial life.