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Jacqueline Goordial


  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars 2021-2023
  • Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration




Jacqueline Goordial examines how microbial life persists within extreme subsurface environments such as permafrost (permanently frozen ground) and oceanic crust/marine sediments. Because of the sheer amount of these subsurface environments on Earth, these microorganisms make up the most abundant lifeforms on our planet – yet they remain poorly understood. Subsurface microorganisms use diverse forms of energy and food for their survival, cycling large amounts of nutrients that are connected to surface global processes on Earth. To carry out her research, Goordial employs a combination of genomic sequencing with culturing, microbial metabolic activity and viability measurements both in the field and in the laboratory. Understanding subsurface life also assists in the search for extraterrestrial life in our solar system where the subsurface may be the most habitable of our likely targets


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 2019
  • NASA Astrobiology Postdoctoral Program fellowship (declined), Stanford University, 2019
  • Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) Postdoctoral Fellowship, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, 2016
  • McGill Space Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship, McGill University, 2015
  • Canadian Astrobiology Training Program (CATP) NSERC CREATE Graduate Fellowship, McGill University, 2011

Relevant Publications

  • Goordial, J., Altshuler, I., Hindson, K., Chan-Yam, K., Marcolefas, E., & Whyte, L. G. (2017). In situ field sequencing and life detection in remote (79 26′ N) Canadian high Arctic permafrost ice wedge microbial communities. Frontiers in microbiology, 8, 2594.
  • Goordial, J., Davila, A., Greer, C. W., Cannam, R., DiRuggiero, J., McKay, C. P., & Whyte, L. G. (2017). Comparative activity and functional ecology of permafrost soils and lithic niches in a hyper‐arid polar desert. Environmental microbiology, 19(2), 443-458.
  • Goordial, J., Davila, A., Lacelle, D., Pollard, W., Marinova, M. M., Greer, C. W., ... & Whyte, L. G. (2016). Nearing the cold-arid limits of microbial life in permafrost of an upper dry valley, Antarctica. The ISME journal, 10(7), 1613-1624.

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