Australian Centre for Astrobiology


The Australian Centre for Astrobiology was founded by Prof. Malcolm Walter in July 2001 at Macquarie University, and then moved to the University of New South Wales in 2008. It is the only centre of astrobiological research in Australia and is an Associate Member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, one of only two in the world. The ACA also has close links with the European Space Agency and other international space agencies and institutions around the world.

Astrobiology is a relatively new field of study, developing at the crossroads of astronomy, biology, geology, paleontology, physics and chemistry. The ACA is one of the few organisations in the world that is truly inter- and multi-disciplinary in a way that reflects the goals and aspirations of astrobiology as a scientific discipline. Its key goals include contributing to the understanding of what makes a habitable planet, studying the co-evolution of life and habitats on early Earth, and helping to guide the exploration for life outside of our world.

ACA members participate in collaborative research with scientists at institutions from across the globe, focussing on three main areas of investigation:

  • The evolution of early life and its relation to changing habitats over time;
  • The search for exoplanets and habitable worlds;
  • The community structure of stromatolites (microbial communities that form laminated rock structures) and diversity of cyanobacteria.

For more information, see the ACA website



ESSRC academic staff

Prof. Martin Von Kranendonk

Dr. Carol Oliver

A/Prof. David Cohen


HDR Students

Erica Barlow

Brett Biddington

Tara Djokic

Kerrie Dougherty

Yi-Ling Hwong

Isabelle Kingsley

Richard Blake

Hugh Bannister

Mark Healey

Sahand Tadbiri

Brendan Nomchong

Georgia Soares