Montana State University
Montana State University > Astrobiology and Life in Extreme Environments Program

Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center

P.O. Box 173142
221 Chem/Biochem Bldg
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717

Tel: (406) 994-7039
Fax: (406) 994-1975

Thermal Biology Institute

605 Leon Johnson Hall
P.O. Box 173142
Bozeman, MT 59717-3142

Phone: (406) 994-7039
Fax: (406) 994-7470


Priscu Research Group

Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences

334 Leon Johnson Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717

Tel: (406) 994-3250
Fax: (406) 994-5863


The Astrobiology and Life in Extreme Environments Program at Montana State University is an overarching center comprised of three of MSU’s top research centers focused on extremophile research: Thermal Biology Institute, The Cold Regions Research Program, and the Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center. By bringing together the work of these three centers that encompass the spectrum of extremophile and origin of life research at MSU, we will be able to better serve the basic goals of each research center: unlocking the mysteries and potentials of extremophiles in the search for answers to the evolution of life on earth, the search for life on other planets and applications on Earth in climate change, biofuels, medicine, bioremediation, and sustainable energy.

  • The Thermal Biology Institute

    TBI has a long history of conducting and promoting research and education focused on the unique and interrelated physical
    and chemical processes of geothermal environments of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem including a record of outstanding
    scientific achievements by TBI faculty. TBI

  • Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center

    ABRC is an interdisciplinary research team funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute. ABRC supports NASA's mission
    to investigate habitability beyond Earth by studying conditions of early Earth and the chemical processes that
    changed Earth from an abiotic planet to an environment thriving with life. ABRC


    The Priscu Research group delves miles below the Antarctic Ice Sheet, Antarctic lakes and glacial environments studying
    microbial ecology in response to climate change and supporting NASA's search for habitability beyond Earth
    as part of the Icy Worlds team. Priscu



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MSU-U.S. team reaches massive Antarctic lake in historic expedition

Microbial Habitability of Icy Worlds

Life on Mars? Feature Story in Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Melting the World's
Biggest Ice Cube

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NASA's Astrobiology Magazine Breaking Through the Ice at Lake Vostok

Melting Glaciers Liberate Ancient Microbes The release of life-forms in cold storage for eons raises new concerns about the impacts of climate change

ABRC in the News

Dr. John Peters

Director John Peters is currently Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Director of the NASA funded Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center and the MSU Thermal Biology Institute. His research interests are in complex iron–sulfur enzymes, specifically hydrogenase and nitrogenase structure, function and biosynthesis. Read more

Dr. John Priscu

Associate Director John Priscu
is a leading expert on cold climate biology. He has spent many field seasons in Antarctica, focusing research on microbial biogeochemistry in aquatic systems emphasizing the roles of nitrogen and phosphorus in microbial growth. Life associated with Antarctic ice and its relationship to global change and astrobiology. Dr. Priscu is a professor of Ecology at MSU. Read more

Upcoming Events

5th International Conference on Polar and Alpine Microbiology, Big Sky, Montana, USA, September 8-13, 2013.

FameLab March 2013 Exploring Earth and the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference!