Berivan Esen

University of Leicester


Organic matter in the most extreme environments: arid zone soils, rock varnishes and multi-technique analyses of Mars analogues


Dr Andrew Carr, Dr Arnoud Boom and Dr Ian Hutchinson

PhD Summary

I am developing analytical techniques that are relevant to the search for the building blocks of life on Mars (organic compounds).

What inspires you?

I’m interested in outer space, the distribution of life beyond the Earth and the expansion of our species to other celestial bodies. Thinking about the natural world on these scales acts as a ‘zoom out’ function in my mind; to think beyond the daily grind and the traumas of our global community. I get to focus on the long-term positive changes we are going through as a species, even if the day to day challenges seem insurmountable.

Previous Activity

Last year I worked in the education sector in London, in a mixed state comprehensive school. Before that I did an internship at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View California; on a project tied to the Mars Science Laboratory rover. Prior to that I did an MSc in Earth Sciences and a BSc in Chemistry.

Why did you choose Docotoral Research?

I like complicated technical problems and solving them in incremental steps. I also enjoy the intellectual freedom and opportunities academia provides. I especially appreciate being in control of my own schedule.

Why did you choose a CENTA Studentship?

The mixed cohort; I think it’s always interesting and professionally exciting to be in a multidisciplinary community, across several universities. I was also interested in the extra training opportunities I could pursue through my CENTA funding such as outreach communication, innovation projects and research collaborations.

What are your future plans

I would like to work in the space sector, at a national or private space agency. I would also like to remain involved in the education sector and science communication (editorial/art/museums) – not ruling anything out at this point.