Since her graduate work, Sasha has elucidated the rates and processes at play during accelerated weathering of mine tailings and their role in fixating atmospheric CO2. Her work with us at UBC and others at the University of Queensland on the topic of carbon mineralization in mine tailings has led to a re-examination of the manner in which mine wastes are managed. As a postdoctoral fellow, Sasha investigated the environmental behaviour of hygroscopic minerals relevant to the search for life on Mars to determine whether microbes can harness the H2O sorption behaviour of minerals to scavenge bioavailable water and nutrients in some of the harshest environments in the solar system. Most recently, in collaboration with Andy Tomkins (Monash) and Gordon Southam (UQ), she has discovered that chondritic meteorites, which are amongst the best-studied and most chemically and isotopically homogeneous rocks in the solar system, weather to produce an assemblage of hydrated minerals that exhibit similar hygroscopic properties. These examples serve to illustrate the novel and diverse research interests that Sasha has developed in the past decade. At the core of each of these studies is a recognition of the important role that minerals play in shaping earth processes and facilitating the development of life, and search thereof, on other planets.
In her short career to date, Dr. Sasha Wilson has established an international reputation for cross disciplinary studies and novel experimentation in environmental mineralogy and geochemistry, contributions deserving of the 2017 MAC Young Scientists Medal.
Greg Dipple and Mati Raudsepp