Biography and Research Interests

Photo of Zita Martins by ©Miguel Fonta for Up Magazine

Word file containing a summary of my biography (download) (last version October 2020).

  • Associate Professor, Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal), 2018-present
  • Researcher, Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal), 2017
  • Royal Society University Research Fellow, Imperial College London (UK), 2009-2017
  • Invited Professor, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis (France), 2012
  • Post-Doc Associate Researcher, Imperial College London (UK), 2007-2009
  • Visiting Scientist, NASA Goddard (USA), 2005-2006
  • PhD, Astrobiology, Leiden University (The Netherlands), 2003-2007
  • Graduate Researcher, Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal), 2002
  • 5-years Undergraduate Degree (Licenciatura), Chemistry, Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal), 1997-2002

Zita Martins was appointed Officer of the Order of Saint James of the Sword (Oficial da Ordem Militar de Sant'Iago da Espada, OSE) by the President of Portugal for exceptional and outstanding merits in science. This is the Portuguese equivalent of an OBE.

The Order Militar de Sant'Iago da Espada is one of the oldest Military orders in Portugal (was founded in 1172).

Official photos of Zita Martins being awarded the collar of the Order of Saint James of the Sword by the President of Portugal [1, 2]. Photos credit - Página Oficial da Presidência da República Portuguesa.

The Commemorative ceremony for the bestowal of the decorations on the media:

Tvi24 (min 00:50), Expresso, Publico, Sol, Jn.

Research Interests

  • Astrobiology
  • Cosmochemistry
  • Prebiotic chemistry
  • Organic matter in meteorites, comets and asteroids
  • Detection of signatures of extraterrestrial life in space missions.

Participation in space missions

2019-present     Team Member of the Comet Interceptor space mission (ESA)

2018-present     Team Member of the Portuguese Consortium of the ARIEL space mission (ESA)

2018-present     Team Member of the "Organic macromolecules" sub-team of the Japanese space mission Hayabusa2 (JAXA)

2015-present     Co-I of the EXOcube space mission. Selected by ESA for the definition phase.

2016-2017         Co-Leader of the Akon Europa Moon penetrator space mission concept.

2016-2017         Member of the core team of the Joint Europa Mission (JEM) space mission concept.

2012-2014         Co-chair of the Astrobiology Working Group of the MarcoPolo-R space mission.

                          The asteroid sample return mission was shortlisted for ESA's Cosmic Vision program (M3).

2010-present     Co-I of the OREOcube space mission. In the implementation phase for installation on the ISS.

2007-2009         Post-Doc responsible for developing detection methods of organic compounds for the Urey instrument,

                          which was then short-listed to fly on the ExoMars mission.

Full list of publications available at:

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