Hey there! I’m Bird (AKA Sian Ford). I’m a PhD candidate at McMaster University. My thesis focuses on the origin of life on Earth, particularly the origin of membranes. I also do some work looking at how prebiotic systems and protocells can undergo selective pressure to evolve before the point at which we would consider them as living. I think a lot about the boundary between living and non-living.
I also do some work with so-called extraterrestrial analogue field sites. Here I look at what kind of organisms can live in these extreme environments and how they survive. Then I can apply this information to other planets in our solar system (and beyond!) to determine what kind of life is worth looking for on planets such as Mars and moons such as Titan. I’m hoping I can provide up-to-date information in terms of the scientific literature which is monstrously difficult to access due to paywalls if you don’t have an institute affiliation. If you want copies of papers let me know and I’m sure I can get them.
Outside of academia I like video games, tabletop rpgs (check out Mothership if you haven’t!), and bird watching/photography. You can check me (and my photography) out on my website www.sianeford.com or on twitter @sianeford.
Thanks for reading and I’m super excited to get started!