Mr Jianxun Shen

Mr Jianxun Shen
PhD Student


I gained my Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Biotechnology and Bachelor of Laws in Anthropology from Sun Yat-sen University, China, with one-year international study program at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. Later on, I received my Master’s Degree of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of New Haven, USA. I am currently an Earth Science PhD student at the University of St Andrews and studying exciting astrobiological and stable isotope biogeochemical projects.

The reason why I chose astrobiology or biogeochemistry as PhD research concentration is that this study area is a very new and challenging interdisciplinary subject that combines multiple disciplines, including mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, geology, and computer science, to explore how life originates, evolves, distributes, and develops in the universe. I am really keen on transdisciplinary challenges since I prefer to learn new knowledge from different realms of sciences and to integrate them in one project as much as possible.

My doctorate research program is sort of a succession of my research in preparing the master’s astrobiology-focused thesis, which is a computational modelling investigation of prebiotic polypeptides to address whether homochirality is the natural biosignature of life. In my doctoral program, I will explore soil samples from a Mars-analogue environment on Earth, the Atacama Desert located at northern Chile. I will culture Pseudomonas aureofaciens and P. chlororaphis strains and utilizes stable isotope techniques to study signatures of nitrogen and oxygen stable isotopes in microbial communities at arid-hyperarid transition in the Atacama Desert. This study can help earth scientists and astrobiologists to understand the microbiome-directed nitrogen cycle in a hyperarid surrounding. I also uses metagenomic and bioinformatic approaches to analyze the sequencing information of nucleotides and the structure and phylogeny of microorganisms in the Atacama Desert. The results of this exploration will produce insights into the potential biological evolution of life on Mars, as well as expose environmental mechanisms that are driving the transition from biotic to abiotic soils

source: symbiosis


Recent publications

1  (of 1 published available) for js365. (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details.

2018 (4)
Journal of Anxiety Disorders
vol.55 pp.63-69
Public attitudes and literacy about posttraumatic stress disorder in U.S. adults
Jack Tsai, Jianxun Shen, Steven M. Southwick, Spencer Greenberg, Aislinn Pluta, Robert H. Pietrzak 
Keywords: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Health Literacy, Prevention, Trauma, Public Policy

Contact Details:

Mr Jianxun Shen
Irvine Building
University of St Andrews
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

tel: 14351
room: Lapworth



School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

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