Kathryn Bywaters
Kathryn Bywaters

Research Scientist

Disciplines: Environmental Science

Degree/Major: Ph.D., Environmental Science, University of Nevada Reno


Kathryn Bywaters’ work encompasses a wide range of interdisciplinary projects including development of life detection instrumentation for future space exploration, investigating the nutrient constraints microbes would have on Mars, and performing experiments in Mars analog environments.   

Kathryn has extensive fieldwork experience is some of the most extreme environments on Earth. She spent four months on Devon Island in the Canadian High Artic looking at the winter to spring transition in active layer above the permafrost. She recently completed fieldwork in the Yungay region of the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth, to work on increasing the technology readiness level of nanopore technology.

“I love being a part of the SETI Institute community because they understand the importance of and whole-heartedly support my research and leadership role in the field of astrobiology and life detection,” said Kathryn.

Kathryn completed her PhD at the University of Nevada at Reno in Environmental Science. She conducted her graduate work at the Desert Research Institute in the field of biofuels investigating lipid production in algae. Kathryn has also published a young adult fiction novel. Educational outreach is very important to Kathryn, in particular inspiring students in the STEM fields.