Pascale Ehrenfreund

Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs
403 Elliott School of International Affairs
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Molecular Biology, Space Science, Management

Dr. Ehrenfreund is currently Research Professor at the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. During the last decade Dr. Ehrenfreund was Professor at Nijmegen, Leiden and Amsterdam Universities in the Netherlands. She led the Astrobiology Laboratory at Leiden Institute of Chemistry since 2001 where she still remains Visiting Professor. She has made important scientific contributions to interstellar chemistry (galactic and extragalactic), organic molecules in interstellar space, planetary surfaces, comets and meteorites as well as life detection on Mars and the origin of life. Since 1995 she actively contributed as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator to many different NASA and ESA space missions, including satellites (Infrared Space Observatory ISO), planetary missions (Cassini-Huygens, Rosetta, SMART-1, Exomars), experiments in Low Earth Orbit (Biopan) and on the International Space Station (EXPOSE, Miller). She developed a full program for space laboratory simulations in the framework of leading the Mars Express Recognized Laboratory MEx-RCL for Geochemistry & Exobiology. As University Professor (affiliated with several universities in Europe) she was involved in education and public outreach and authored and co-authored more than 230 scientific and popular publications covering a wide variety of topics. She has organized numerous international conferences, edited eleven books and chaired research teams in Europe and in the United States.

Dr. Ehrenfreund is the Vice President of the European Astrobiology Network Association EANA and a lead investigator of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (Node Wisconsin). She is the Project scientist of NASA's O/OREOs satellite, the first missions of the NASA Astrobiology Small Payload program. Since a decade she has been deeply involved in promoting Astrobiology worldwide.

Dr. Ehrenfreund has served on several committees dealing with space strategy issues. She has been strongly involved in the definition of the European space exploration activities being chair of the Life Science Panel of the European Space Science Committee (ESSC) and serving on advisory bodies of the European Space Agency as member of the Life and Physical Science Advisory Committee LPSAC and the Life Science Working Group LSWG. Dr. Ehrenfreund served as European representative to the U.S. Space Studies Board Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life and in the steering committee of the 2010 NRC Decadal survey on Planetary Science. Dr. Ehrenfreund is a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics since 2010.

In Space Policy, her interest is dedicated to international space collaboration and the development of concepts and action plans for a future sustainable global space exploration platform. Dr. Ehrenfreund chairs the Panel on Exploration (PEX) of the Committee On Space Research (COSPAR) that supports the development of a global space exploration program with science-driven stepping stones while working to safeguard the scientific assets of solar system bodies. She also investigates Policy aspects of Astrobiology by analyzing synergies of space exploration and Earth science and possible directions by which the Earth and its biosphere (including humans) will co-evolve in the future.

Dr. Ehrenfreund holds a masters degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Vienna (Austria), a doctorate in Astrophysics from the University Paris VII/University Vienna (Austria), a habilitation in Astrochemistry from the University of Vienna and a masters degree in Management & Leadership from Webster University in Leiden (The Netherlands).


Ph.D., University of Paris VII/University of Vienna