Mission Antarctica Team Bios

The B-466 team

B-466 Team members
Above, left to right: Iva Neveux, Joe Grzymski, Deneb Karentz, Austin Gajewski and Bethany Goodrich

University of San Francisco

Dr. Deneb Karentz
I am a marine biologist and especially interested in the ecology and physiology of phytoplankton – the microscopic photosynthetic organisms that are found in the ocean. You cannot see phytoplankton with the naked eye; but if you ever swallowed some of the ocean while you were swimming, well you have already swallowed thousands of phytoplankton cells without knowing it. As a professor at the University of San Francisco I work on several different research projects, and teach in both the Biology Department and the Environmental Science Department. This season at Palmer Station, two USF students are part of our field team – Bethany Goodrich (class of 2011) and Austin Gajewski (currently a junior). It is very exciting for me to have Bethany and Austin working with us in Antarctica. I had the opportunity to do a field research project on microalgae when I was an undergraduate at the University of Rhode Island, then went to Oregon State University to earn a Masters degree, and eventually returned to URI to work on a PhD. I moved to San Francisco to continue research at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, an odd place for a marine biologist, but a chance for me to learn molecular biology in a lab that studies cancer. Once you are down to the level of DNA, RNA and proteins, there are many similarities in cells; so UCSF provided a great deal of experience in cell and molecular biology techniques that I now use with phytoplankton. (So, yes - I have spent a lot of time in school and really liked it.) I have very much appreciated having the chance to acquire such a broad background in biology and other sciences, and to travel and work in Antarctica. I have been coming to the Antarctic almost every year since 1986. It is always a great adventure to be here for both the science and just living and working in such an extreme environment. All the different and varied things that I have learned along the way will be applied to the project we are working on this year at Palmer Station.

Desert Research Institute

Dr. Joseph Grzymski
I am a microbiologist who integrates laboratory and field research at the molecular and biophysical level with computational biology. You will be learning all about things like nucleic acids (DNA, RNA), proteins (my favorite is RuBisCO an enzyme in the Calvin cycle; RuBisCO is the main name of our project titled Responses Underlying Biological Influences of Seasonal Changes in Organisms. As well, the name of our boating team is RubP-a-tub…RubP being a shortened form of RuBisCO. RuBisCO or Rubp is Ribulose- 1,5-bisphosphate Carboxylase Oxygenase), electron transfer, fluorescence and genomics. This is my seventh field season in Antarctica. My passion for science and education stems from the incredible interactions I have had with colleagues since my first field research project while I was an undergraduate at Bowdoin College. I studied in Norway for 15 months after my undergraduate on a Fulbright Scholarship and then attended Rutgers Universityand the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences for my Ph.D. I then studied biophysics and physical chemistry at the Rockefeller University in New York City- one of the best cities on Earth. After that I moved to the Desert Research Institute to learn how to effectively use computers to advance our knowledge of biology and evolution.

I have been in beautiful Reno, Nevada for the past 7 years enjoying its near perfect weather, great fishing, great mountains and tennis- the sport that keeps me sane while I juggle funding a lab, doing science and now running a company. In 2009 I formed the company Evozym Biologics, Inc with another Antarctica researcher, Adam Marsh from the University of Delaware. This combination of activities keeps me pretty busy and provides some good stories. Stay tuned for more of them as Mission Antarctica progresses. In the meantime please feel free to contact us with questions, requests for information or any clarifications about the nature of our research.

Desert Research Institute

Iva Neveux
Originally from the Czech Republic, I came to the United States to deepen my knowledge of molecular biology. I have two masters degrees; one is in molecular biology and genetics from Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic and the other is in cell and molecular biology from University Nevada Reno. After taking a 3.5 year detour gaining some experience in biochemistry, cell biology, histology, microbiology and electrophysiology at Southern Illinois University and the University of Nevada, I am very excited to study Seasonal succession of Antarctic phytoplankton from winter to spring. Being a part of this project allows me to get involved with state-of-the-art molecular biology and other science fields, some great scientists, as well as explore a distant and pristine part of the world - the area around Antarctic peninsula. When I am not pipetting I practice and teach yoga, enjoy backcountry skiing, backpacking and traveling to foreign countries. When the weather forces me to stay indoors, I play piano & guitar and paint with watercolors.

University of San Francisco

Bethany Goodrich
Hello readers! My name is Bethany Goodrich and I am ecstatic that you are interested in following our research.

I grew up in a small town about forty minutes outside of Boston, Massachusetts and currently live in a dome-shaped home nestled deep within the forests of New Hampshire. Animals and art have been my passions since birth. I learned how to hold a pencil correctly by age one, collaborated with my family to put together an animal documentary by age eight, hatched ducklings at age eleven, and put together my first photography based website by middle school. I always knew I wanted to eventually work in a field where I could actively contribute to wildlife conservation but never would have guessed that I would be doing so here at Palmer Station, Antarctica by age 22. 

I am a proud first-generation college graduate who received my BS in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology and minors in Fine Arts and Neuroscience. I graduated from the University of San Francisco this past May and certainly enjoyed every bit of my four years studying and exploring the beautiful west coast. 

In past years I have worked with captive animals ranging from chimpanzees to cockroaches, rehabbed and cared for many sick and injured wild seals and sea lions, and have been an intern for the Felidae Conservation Fund  for over two years. I enjoy combining my creativity with my love for science and conservation by developing informative and useful media for public outreach. 

In my free time I enjoy backpacking, searching tirelessly for creatures, napping outside, photography, napping inside, peeping at the microscopic world, digital design and development, and all forms of art including everything from oils and acrylics to casting with cement and woodworking. I am particularly fond of and intrigued by newts, pumas, toxoplasma gondii, and elephant seals with a newfound respect for phytoplankton.

I am incredibly grateful to be located on one of the most beautiful and untouched continents on earth, learning biology and field research from talented scientists. Wildlife comes in many shapes and sizes. Don’t be fooled, phytoplankton may be small, but their significance to our natural world is profound!

Please, please, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or just to chat about creatures, art, or how to get involved in the field of conservation. 

Follow my blog and email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

University of San Francisco

Austin Gajewski
I grew up in Reno,  Nevada and lived there for 18 years. Currently I am a junior at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Biology. I love the outdoors and traveling all over the world. Recently, I spent 6 months in the Australian outback, so when I heard that there was an opportunity to sign up for a research expedition to Antarctica I applied immediately. I also have a strong passion for science, and figuring out why things work the way they do is very interesting to me. After I get back from Antarctica, I have another year and a half of college left and then I want to go to medical school and become a surgeon. Life at Palmer is excellent and one of the things I especially enjoy is the excellent food that Keith, our chef, prepares. I look forward to climbing the glacier in our “backyard” and reporting to you about all of these things and more.

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