Teresa Fornaro

Staff Research Scientist

INAF - Astrophysical Observatory of Arcetri


Address: INAF - Astrophysical Observatory of Arcetri, L.go E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy.

Office: 44

Phone: +390552752333

Email: teresa.fornaro@inaf.it

About me

I am a Staff Research Scientist at INAF-Astrophysical Observatory of Arcetri in Florence (Italy), and member of the Arcetri Astrobiology Lab.

My research pertains to Astrobiology, mainly focusing on: (i) origin of life studies regarding physico-chemical interactions between organic molecules and minerals that might have played a role in the transition from geochemistry to biochemistry in prebiotic environments on Earth or other bodies in the Solar System; (ii) laboratory studies in support of life detection exploration missions of the planet Mars, such as the ESA mission ExoMars 2020 , and the NASA missions Mars 2020 and Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).

Prior to joining INAF, I have been Postdoctoral Research Fellow and manager of the Mineral Organic Interaction Lab at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC.

In 2016 I earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry, cum laude and distinction, from the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa in Italy, specializing in computational spectroscopic studies of molecular systems relevant in Astrobiology.

Research interests:

Astrobiology; Mars chemistry; detection of molecular biomarkers in extraterrestrial environments; molecular photochemistry in space-like conditions; prebiotic chemistry; role of minerals in the origin of life.

Personal interests and hobbies:

Beyond science, I love express myself through photography, drawing and writing. I am author of a theatrical script "Il bacio dell'addio", and two novels “Gocce d’Inchiostro” and “Riflesso. Giovani allo specchio", which received awards in Italy. I also performed dance theater and played the piano for several years.