Dr. Aaron Noell

Dr. Noell is a technologist working in the instruments division at JPL. Currently, he is developing instruments for the assessment of habitability and the search for extant life on other bodies in the solar system. His research interests also include the radiation chemistry of low temperature ices, and the impact of that chemistry on habitability/bio-markers in the ices. His instrument development has focused on microfluidic implementation of capillary electrophoresis, ion chromatography, and selective electrochemical detection (e.g., ion selective electrodes). Additionally, he has worked to develop sample handling and extraction techniques compatible with microfluidic instruments, such as subcritical water extraction. Previously, he was an NPP Postdoc at JPL working on instrumentation to detect bacterial spores for both biodefense and astrobiology purposes, and received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Caltech in 2010.


  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, CA (2010)
  • B.A. in Chemistry, New York University, NY (2002)

Research Interests: 

Astrobiology, Microfluidic instrumentation, Sample extraction and preparation, Cryogenic ice chemistry

Professional Experience: 
  • Technologist III, Planetary Surface Instruments Group, JPL (Apr 2018 – present)
  • Technologist II, Planetary Surface Instruments Group, JPL (Jan 2013 – Present)
  • Caltech Postdoctoral Program, JPL (Feb 2012 – Dec 2012)
  • NASA Postdoctoral Program, JPL (Dec 2009 – Jan 2012)

Selected Awards: 
  • JPL Voyager Award for New PIs (2016)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award: Icebreaker team (2015)
  • JPL Postdoc Poster Day, Best Poster for Planetary Science and Life Detection (2011)
  • NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow (2009 – 2011)

Selected Publications: 
  1. Jaramillo, E. A. and Noell, A. C., 2020. Development of miniature solid contact ion selective electrodes for in situ instrumentation. Electroanalysis, 10.1002/elan.201900761
  2. Fayolle, E. C., Noell, A. C., Johnson, P. V., Hodyss, R. and Ponce, A., 2020. Viability of Bacillus subtilis Spores Exposed to Ultraviolet Light at Ocean World Surface Temperatures. Astrobiology 20, 889-896. 10.1089/ast.2019.2214
  3. Ferreira Santos, M. S., Noell, A. C. and Mora, M. F., 2020. Methods for onboard monitoring of silver biocide during future human space exploration missions. Analytical Methods 12, 3205-3209. 10.1039/D0AY00518E
  4. Lam, B. R., Barge, L. M., Noell, A. C. and Nealson, K. H., 2020. Detecting Endogenous Microbial Metabolism and Differentiating Between Abiotic and Biotic Signals Observed by Bioelectrochemical Systems in Soils. Astrobiology 20, 39-52. 10.1089/ast.2018.1892
  5. Creamer, J. S., Mora, M. F., Noell, A. C. and Willis, P. A. (2019). Long-term thermal stability of fluorescent dye used for chiral amino acid analysis on future spaceflight missions. Electrophoresis, 40, 3117-3122.
  6. Ferreira Santos, M.S., Cordeiro, T.G., Noell, A.C., Garcia, C.D., Mora, M.F. (2018) Analysis of Inorganic Cations and Amino Acids in High Salinity Samples by Capillary Electrophoresis and Conductivity Detection: Implication for In-Situ Exploration of Ocean Worlds. Electrophoresis, 39(22), 2890-2897.
  7. Noell, A.C., Fisher, A.M., Fors-Francis, K., and Sherrit, S. (2018) Subcritical water extraction of amino acids from Mars analog soils. Electrophoresis, 39(22), 2854-2863.
  8. Stewart Sherrit, Aaron C. Noell, Anita Fisher, Mike C. Lee, Nobuyuki Takano, Xiaoqi Bao, Thomas C. Kutzer, Frank Grunthaner (2017) “A Microfluidic Sub-Critical Water Extraction Instrument”, Review of Scientific Instruments, 88(11): p. 114101.
  9. Noell, A. C., Ely, T., Bolser, D. K., Darrach, H., Hodyss, R., Johnson, P. V., Hein, J. D. and Ponce, A. (2015) Spectroscopy and Viability of Bacillus Subtilis Spores after Ultraviolet Irradiation: Implications for the Detection of Potential Bacterial Life on Europa, Astrobiology 15 (1) 20-31
  10. Shelor, C. P., Dasgupta, P. K., Aubrey, A., Davila, A. F., Lee, M. C., Mckay, C. P., Liu, Y. and Noell, A. C. (2014) What Can In Situ Ion Chromatography Offer for Mars Exploration, Astrobiology 14 (7) 577-588
Aaron Noell
4800 Oak Grove Dr
Pasadena, CA 91109
Phone: 818-354-0336
Fax Number: 818-354-3482