Roger Summons has wide ranging interests in biogeochemistry and geobiology. His research group studies the co-evolution of Earth’s early life and environment, microbially dominated ecosystems, the structure and biosynthesis of membrane lipids, biological mass extinction events and the origins of fossil fuels. Specific areas of interest include lipid chemistry of geologically significant microbes, organic and isotopic indicators of climate change, biomarkers in sediments and petroleum, origins of life and early life on the Earth.
Summons is an investigator in the Simons Foundation Collaboration on the Origins of Life (SCOL).
He is also a member of the Sample Analysis on Mars (SAM) instrument team. SAM is a key part of the instrument payload aboard NASA’s Curiosity Rover and is being used to study organic matter within the rocks on Mars. He joined the MIT faculty in 2001.
Summons is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Royal Society of London, The American Academy of Microbiology and the American Geophysical Union. He is also a Member of the National Academy of Sciences.