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  2. Dr Nisha K Ramkissoon

Dr Nisha K Ramkissoon

Profile summary

  • Research Staff
  • Post Doctoral Research Associate
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Environment, Earth & Ecosystem Sciences
  • nisha.ramkissoon

Professional biography

I am a planetary scientist working in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology.  I am currently employed on a Leverhulme-funded project that aims to examine the boundary of habitability on Mars and the icy moons, Europa and Enceladus, and identify any bio-signatures that may occur as a result of microbial life.    

I have specific expertise in the effects of hypervelocity impacts on Mars via two processes: serpentinisation and devolatilisation.  These two (potentially) impact-induced processes have the potential to effect the composition of the martian atmosphere, by either the production of methane (via serpentinisation) and the release of volatiles.   My PhD (University of Kent) examined the possibility of indirectly detecting these processes using Raman spectroscopy.

Research interests

My research interests focus, specifically, on the changes that can occur to minerals as a result of biological life.  These changes can act as bio-signatures that can be used to identify life, past or present, on planets such as Mars.

I also investigate mineralogical changes that occur in high pressure and temperature environments arising from meteorite impacts on planetary bodies, which results in alteration to the crust of rocky bodies (such as Mars), potential alteration to atmosphere composition (thus effecting the climates of these bodies) and  the  potential for these impact craters to support life. 

As part of my research I have gained experience in a number of analytical techniques, such as Raman spectroscopy, SEM-EDS analysis, electron microprobe, thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning colorimetry.  I have also conducted computer modelling to examine the physical conditions experienced in hypervelocity impacts and thermochemical changes that occur as a result of water-rock interactions.    


The Study of Microbial Survival in Extraterrestrial Environments Using Low Earth Orbit and Ground-Based Experiments (2018-10)
Olsson-Francis, Karen; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Price, Alex B.; Slade, David J.; Macey, Michael C. and Pearson, Victoria K.
In: Gurtler, Volker and Trevors, Jack T. eds. Microbiology of Atypical Environments. Methods in Microbiology (pp. 27-65)
ISBN : 978-0-12-814604-0 | Publisher : Elsevier
Viable metabolisms in a simulated martian chemical environment (2019-04-08)
Macey, Michael; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2019 (8-11 Apr 2019, ICC Belfast, UK)
Simulating the Martian Chemical Enivronment (2018)
Ramkissoon, N. K.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Pearson, V. K. and Olsson-Francis, K.
In : 49th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (19-23 Mar 2018, The Woodlands, Houston, Texas, USA)
The Physio-Chemical Properties for the Interior of Enceladus (2018)
Hamp, R. E.; Ramkissoon, N. K.; Olsson-Francis, K.; Schwenzer, S. P. and Pearson, V. K.
In : 49th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (19-23 Mar 2018, The Woodlands, Houston, Texas, USA)
Microbial growth in simulated martian environments (2018)
Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Macey, Michael C.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : European Planetary Science Congress 2018 (16-21 Sep 2018, Berlin, Germany)

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