Dr. Kasthuri J Venkateswaran
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, USA
About Dr. Kasthuri J Venkateswaran
Dr. Kasthuri Venkateswaran (Venkat) is a Senior Research Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, specializing in biotechnology and planetary protection. With over 42 years of experience, he has conducted extensive research in marine, food, and environmental microbiology. Currently, he leads the ISS "Microbial Observatory" projects, studying microorganisms associated with U.S. nodes and the Kibo Japanese Experiment Modules. Dr. Venkateswaran's research focuses on molecular microbial analysis and understanding the ecological aspects of microbes in extreme environments, including deep sea, spacecraft missions, clean rooms, and the space environment in Earth orbit. He directs multiple research and development tasks for the JPL-Mars Program Office, overseeing spacecraft cleaning, sterilization, and validation. Additionally, he contributes his expertise to NASA awards and non-NASA programs, such as monitoring microbial pathogens in closed habitats and collaborating with commercial and medical industries. Dr. Venkateswaran's bioinformatics databases aid in biosensor development and the study of spacecraft surfaces and enclosed habitats to control problematic microbial species and establish planetary protection policies for current and future missions.