1997: Ph.D. in Biology, University of Houston
1975: B.S. in General Science, University of Central Arkansas
Phylogeny Reconstruction, Prokaryotic Biochemical Systems and Ecosystem Evolution, Origin of Life, RNA's and Astrobiology.
Janet Siefert is an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Statistics at Rice University, and has been with Rice since 1998. She is an origin of life researcher who received her training from Dr. George E. Fox, co-discoverer of the third domain of life. Siefert's work deals with understanding life's origins through microbial ecology and genomic and metabolic evolution. She has worked for 20 years in Cuatro Ciénegas, Mexico, a desert oasis protected by the Mexican government and known to exhibit endemism equal to the Galapagos. She is the first woman to serve as chairman of the Gordon Research Conference on the Origin of Life and the first female president (2008-2011) of ISSOL: International Astrobiology Society. She is a member of University of Washington's Virtual Planet Laboratory and was recognized as an Astrobiology Pioneer. Her work has been featured on Discovery, National Geographic, and the History Channel. Additionally, she heads up an international team of investigators funded by the National Science Foundation looking at the legacy of human occupation in archaeological sites as reflected in the microbial community.