Allyson Brady is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology. She holds a PhD in Earth Sciences from McMaster University and is actively involved in microbial ecology research that can be applied to studies in astrobiology and biotechnology. Her main areas of interest are in understanding how life can exist in harsh environments on Earth, tracing microbial nutrient cycling, and how we can use that information to help develop tools and techniques for bioremediation, such as microbial degradation of plastics, and to find evidence for past life on other planets such as Mars. Allyson has over 15 years of experience working in extreme environments to try and tackle these questions. She has participated in several NASA and Canadian Space Agency analogue missions focused on not only detecting signs of life but studying how best to combine science and operations (life support, communications) including training astronauts to be field scientists. Her work in microbial ecology has taken her to field sites in the Antarctic, hotsprings in Western Canada, volcanoes in Hawaii, and piloting single-person submersibles underwater in B.C. She hopes that by studying these environments we can learn how to use microbes to address current environmental problems and help guide human scientists and explorers on Mars or other planets.