Sao Paulo Advanced School of Astrobiology - SPASA 2011

Making Connections


Institution: Astronomy DepartmentUniversidade de Sao Paulo – Brazil

Date: December 11 – 20, 2011 / 9am to 7:30pm

Location: Auditório Abrahão de Moraes - Instituto de Física - USP (map)

Opening Ceremony: Dec 11, 5:30pm at Hotel Caesar Business Paulista (auditorium)

Home General info Program Online lectures Contact

General information

Astrobiology is a research field which deals with the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life on Earth and, eventually, elsewhere. Its importance and visibility is increasing in the last years with the exploration of our planet, the Solar System and beyond. These problems need a multi and interdisciplinary approach and a good interaction between researchers of different areas is fundamental. The Sao Paulo Advanced School of Astrobiology (SPASA) – Making Connections is meant to bring together renowned researchers, students and early career post-docs of different countries and backgrounds to exchange experience.


All selected participants will have travel, transportation and accommodation expenses covered by the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), with the exception of students receiving FAPESP scholarships or fellowships on the time of the school, or participants living on the city of Sao Paulo. All the participants should be prepared to cover additional expenses by themselves, such as visa fees and personal expenses (the Brazilian currency is Real). Participants should be aware that visas are necessary for a few countries, such as the US and others. Most South American and European countries are exempted. Please check with your travel agency, online, with a Brazilian consulate or embassy close to you or contact us for further assistance. Additional information with the details of the local organization will be given soon.

As we will be able to host a limited number of participants, we will provide live transmission of the lectures through internet. More detail will be available soon.

Live transmission of the lectures will be available online.


Scientific Program

The school will be organized in three core subjects covering the areas of Astronomy, Biology/Chemistry and Planetary Science/Geology, going from the origin of the Universe and elements, formation of planets, to the origin and evolution of life. One or more specialist(s) will give an overview of each area, covering its main topics, in the format of a short-course. Individual lectures will cover more specific subjects, showing research opportunities and recent results. The potential social impact of Astrobiology will be explored in sessions on outreach and education. The participants are encouraged to present their current or intended research on a poster session during the event.

The detailed program will be available online soon.


Confirmed Lecturers (up to the moment)

Antonio Lazcano (UNAM, Mexico)

David Gilichinsky (IPBPSS-RAS, Russia) (added)

Franz Pfeiffer (TUM, Germany) (canceled, academic)

Howell G.M. Edwards (Bradford, UK)

Jorge Enrique Bueno (IAC, Colombia) (canceled, health)

Lisa Kaltenegger (Harvard, USA)

Lynn Margulis (UMass, USA) (in memoriam)

Lynn Rothschild (NASA ARC, USA)

Marcelo Gleiser (Dartmouth, USA)

Martin Brasier (Oxford, UK) (added)

Nilton O. Rennó (UMich, USA)

Norm Sleep (Stanford, USA) 

Steven Benner (FfAME, USA)

Steven J. Dick (Smithsonian NASM, USA)

Victor Ariel Gallardo (UDEC, Chile) (canceled, health)

Alinka Lépine-Szily (USP, Brazil)

Alicia J. Kowaltowski (USP, Brazil)

Álvaro Penteado Crósta (Unicamp, Brazil)

Amancio C.S. Friaça (USP, Brazil)

Antonio José Roque (USP / CNPEM, Brazil) (added)

Arnaldo Naves de Brito (Unicamp, Brazil)

Claudia A.S. Lage (UFRJ, Brazil)

Dimas A.M. Zaia (UEL, Brasil)

Eduardo Janot Pacheco (USP, Brazil)

Gustavo Porto de Mello (UFRJ, Brazil)

Jorge E. Horvath (USP, Brazil)

Nélio M.V. Bizzo (USP, Brazil) (added)

Paulo Artaxo (USP, Brazil)

Paulo Bretones (UFSCar, Brazil) (added)

Thomas R. Fairchild (USP, Brazil)

Thyrso Villela Neto (AEB, Brazil) (added)

Tie Koide (USP, Brazil)

Vivian H. Pellizari (USP, Brazil)


Focus group

The participants will work on an activity of writing their own research proposals during the School, with the supervision of experienced researchers, presenting their work at the end of the event and voting on the best proposals. This will be an opportunity to train for research and grant proposal writing and peer-reviewing, a fundamental activity on the current scientific career.


Visits and field trip

Visits to laboratories and a field trip are planned during the School, and further details will be given shortly. All the expenses will be covered for these activities as well.



Undergraduate and graduate students, and early career post-docs of any country can apply. It is required an interest on the subject, either on scientific research or education/outreach, although it is not essential that the participants currently work with astrobiology. As the official language of the School and of its activities will be English, it is necessary that the applicant can easily communicate in this language.



Applications should be submitted to the email (or alternatively to until September 20, 2011. The documentation should be sent in English, and include:


1.  Application form (application finished);

2.  Letter of intent, with a justification of the importance of the School and the subject to the applicant's formation;

3. When applicable (if the candidate is enrolled in a research project at the time of application), it should be included a one-page summary of the candidate`s research project and an estimation of the date of conclusion of the undergraduate or graduate program;

4.  Two recommendation letters, with one preferably from the advisor/supervisor of the candidate. These can be sent directly to the email of the SPASA, please make sure to put the name of the candidate on the subject of the message;

5.  Updated student record (only necessary for undergraduate or graduate students on the application time). It can be a simple translation made by the applicant, followed by the original document;

6.  CV with relevant aspects of the applicant scientific actuation (including publications).


After a successful submission, you should receive a confirmation email from us. If you don`t receive anything in 24h, please, contact us as soon as possible to make sure there was no problem with the message.


Deadline of application: FINISHED


For further questions, please send email to (or alternatively to  If necessary, the application can be sent by mail to the following address:


Sao Paulo Advanced School of Astrobiology

Dr. Douglas Galante – Department of Astronomy – Universidade de Sao Paulo

Rua do Matao, 1226 Cidade Universitaria

Sao Paulo – SP CEP: 05508-090


Phone: +5511 30912815 / +5511 81192922

Fax: +5511 30912860


Scientific Organizing Committee

Jorge E. Horvath (USP, Brazil)

Amâncio C. S. Friaça (USP, Brazil)

Cláudia A. S. Lage (UFRJ, Brazil)

Eduardo Janot Pacheco (USP, Brazil)

Lynn Rothschild (NASA ARC, USA)

Vivian H. Pellizari (USP, Brazil)


Local Organizing Committee

Roberto D. D. Costa (USP, Brazil)

Ramachrisna Teixeira (USP, Brazil)

Laura Paulucci (UFABC, Brazil)

Douglas Galante (USP, Brazil)

Fabio Rodrigues (USP, Brazil)

Ivan G. Paulino-Lima (NASA ARC, USA)

Rubens T. D. Duarte (USP, Brazil)




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