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.
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.
Cox Visiting Professor, Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California (2015-6) | Honorary Fellow of the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Delmenhorst, Germany (2013) | Inaugural Fellow, Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry (2012) | Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology (2012) | Visiting Professorial Fellow, University of NSW (2011) | Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, University of Wollongong (2009) | Moore Scholar, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology (2008) | Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London (2008) | Fellow, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (2008) | Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize (2008) | Elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2006) | Halpern Lecturer and Inaugural Halpern Medallist University of Wollongong (2005) | Alfred E Treibs Medal of the Geochemical Society (2003) | Australian Organic Geochemistry Medal (2002) | Morrison Lecturer, Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry (2001) | Elected to Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science (1998) | PESA Australian Lecturer, Petroleum Explorationists Society of Australia (1998)| Australian Academy and Royal Society Guest Fellowship, Bristol University (1989) | Best paper Award by the Organic Geochemistry Division, Geochemical Society (1988) | Elected as Fellow, Royal Australian Chemical Institute (1987) | Wollongong College - University of NSW Comm. Postgraduate Scholarship (1969-1972) | Wollongong College - University of NSW Peter Beckmann Memorial Prize, Chemistry III & NSW Geological Survey Prize, Geology I (1968)