An Astrobiology Introductory Course

Rencontres exobiologiques pour doctorants

RED is a Training School about the “Basics in Astrobiology”. Astrobiology addresses questions related to the origins of life, its evolution, and distribution in the Universe. This school aims to offer an interdisciplinary training in astrobiology to students and young researchers having a master’s degree in astronomy, planetology, geology, chemistry, biology, or history and philosophy of science. If you are preparing a thesis or are an early career scientist with a subject related to astrobiology, this training school is for you! Each year, the “in-person” edition of the school is held in March in Le Teich (France). In June, a virtual school with the same program is also organized.

Virtual school program

Weekly schedule (June 10 - 14)

RED 24

March 17th - 23rd 2024

Teachers of the year

Donato Giovannelli

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Geomicrobiology, deep subsurface biosphere, microbial diversity, coevolution, trace elements, cofactors, geothermal environments

Donato Giovannelli is a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Naples Federico II. He is also a Visiting Research Professor at Rutgers University, USA, and an Affiliated Scientist at the Earth-Life Science Institute, Japan, and CNR-IRBIM, National Research Council of Italy and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (USA). He is interested in the planetary-scale contribution of microbial communities in the context of biogeochemical cycles and in the coevolution of the geosphere and biosphere. His group combines traditional microbiology techniques with molecular tools and computational approaches to investigate the microbiology of extreme environments. Recently awarded a ERC Starting Grant on the Coevolution of geosphere and biosphere and with active projects from major italian and international grant agencies, Donato has extensive fieldwork experience and he has participated in or organized 34 international research expeditions around the world (including the Arctic and Antarctic) and 17 oceanographic expeditions including dives with the Alvin research submersible. Donato is currently the director of a new english-language Master Degree program in the “Biology of Extreme Environments” with a curriculum in Astrobiology. He is also very active with outreach activities, podcasts and documentaries and he is a regular guest of the Italian National Public Radio.

University of Naples “Federico II” – Department of Biology Monte Sant’Angelo, Edificio 7 80126 Napoli – Italy


Amination of the virtual school

Astrobiology disciplines


Nucleosynthesis, Star formation and evolution


Interstellar medium, Prebiotic chemistry, Chirality


Evolution, Tree of life, Extremophiles


Meteorites, Early Earth Environment, Traces of life


Exploration, Space missions, Exoplanets

History and philosophy

What is life?
Evolution of ideas

A “complete” RED training is scheduled over 2 years, but each year is self-consistent. You can attend once, or two years in a row. All lectures are in English.

Meet students from all over the world to learn about astrobiology and its most recent developments. Work together on interdisciplinary projects and make new connections. Benefit from the expertise of specialists from all over the world

Get access to the latest scientific results on the origins of life on Earth, and the search for life elsewhere: thanks to the online courses and conferences.