Dr. Venkateswaran’s 44+ years of research encompasses marine, food, and environmental microbiology. He leads ISS Microbial Observatory projects to measure microorganisms associated with U.S. nodes, as well as Kibo Japanese Experiment Modules. He has applied his research in molecular microbial analysis to better understand the ecological aspects of microbes, while conducting field studies in several extreme environments, such as the deep sea (2,500m), spacecraft missions (Mars Odyssey, Genesis, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Express), assembly facility clean rooms (various NASA and European Space Agency [ESA] facilities), and the space environment in Earth orbit (ISS, ESA Columbus facility).

  •       Directs several research and development tasks for the Mars Program Office, which enables the cleaning, sterilization, and validation of spacecraft components
  •       Provides microbial observations of ISS modules and spacecraft assembly facilities
  •       Directs several NASA Space Biology, TRISH, HRP, and ROSES programs awards
  •       Provides technologies related to microbial monitoring for commercial airline cabin air and for medical industrial applications (tissue and organ transplants processing)


  •       Ph.D., Agriculture, Food Microbiology & Hygiene, Hiroshima University, Japan, 1990
  •       Ph.D., Marine Microbiology, Annamalai University, India, 1982
  •       M.S., Marine Biology, Annamalai University, India, 1977

Professional Experience:

Current Positions:

1999–present Senior Research Scientist, Biotechnology Planetary Protection Group, JPL

Previous Positions:

1997–1998     Senior Scientist, Center for Great Lakes, Milwaukee, WI

1993–1996     Chief Scientist, Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Tokyo, Japan


NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for Res & Tech (2017), recipient of first One NASA Peer Award (2005), NASA Space Act Award (2003), recipient of 25 Novel Technology Report Awards (since 2000)