Dr. Danna Qasim

Research Scientist at Southwest Research Institute

Center for Laboratory Astrophysics and Space Science Experiments

Space Science Division

San Antonio, Texas, USA


E-mail: danna.qasim@swri.org
Office number:
(1) 210-522-4669
6220 Culebra Rd, San Antonio, TX 78238, USA

Brief bio
I utilize experiments and astronomical observations/missions to study the (ice) chemistry that occurs from interstellar clouds to our moons and planets within the Center for Laboratory Astrophysics and Space Science Experiments. More information on my latest research can be found in my Google Scholar and ResearchGate profiles.

Active research interests

Solar System ices/gases/minerals/salts/liquids
Interstellar ices/gases/minerals/salts
The role of mineral surfaces in catalyzing reactions
Connecting interstellar chemistry to meteorite chemistry


11/2022 - Present
Research Scientist
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX

8/2020 - 10/2022

Postdoctoral Researcher
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (employed by Howard University), Greenbelt, MD

7/2013 - 8/2014

Junior Analytical Chemist
Kimberly-Clark Corporation (employed by Sunrise Systems), Roswell, GA

6/2012 - 5/2013

Graduate teaching and research assistant
Emory University, Atlanta, GA


PhD Astronomy, 07/2016 - 07/2020: Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands. Advisors: Prof. dr. Harold Linnartz and Prof. dr. Ewine van Dishoeck; Co-advisor: Dr. Gleb Fedoseev. Thesis: Dark ice chemistry in interstellar clouds

MSc Chemical Sciences, 08/2014 - 05/2016: Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA. Advisor: Prof. dr. Heather Abbott-Lyon. Thesis: Understanding the surface induced phosphorylation of prebiotic molecules by schreibersite

BSc Chemistry (minor astronomy), 08/2008 - 05/2012: Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

Selected awards

NASA GSFC Sciences and Exploration Directorate 2022 DEIA award
NASA GSFC Solar System Exploration Division 2022 Peer Award
NASA GSFC Solar System Exploration Division 2022 Special Thanks And Recognition (STAR) award
International Astronomical Union 2020 PhD Prize in Facilities, Technologies and Data Science
ACS Astrochemistry 2021 Outstanding Dissertation Award
Co-I JWST Cycle 1 GO program: It's COMplicated: Disentangling the formation pathways of complex organic molecules from molecular clouds to comets (PI: Prof. dr. Melissa McClure)
Co-I JWST Cycle 1 GO program: A chemical census of volatile ices in protostellar envelopes (PI: Dr. Klaus Pontoppidan)
Co-I GBT Large Survey: The GBT L1544 Unbiased Complex Organics SurvEy (GLUCOSE)
Co-I Hubble Cycle 30 GO program: Observing the Ice Giants with Hubble WFC3 to Enhance Cycle 1 James Webb Space Telescope Data (PI: Dr. Naomi Rowe-Gurney)
NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 2020 (declined)

Selected or recent outreach

NASA CONNECTORS, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD (2020 – 2022)

Lead organizer and co-founder with Dr. Stefanie Milam of NASA CONNECTORS (CONNECting high school students TO ResearcherS). This mentorship program connects NASA researchers to underrepresented high school students to establish professional connections between research professionals and minority students. The long-term aim is to increase the number of minority groups in STEAM.

This mentorship program led to 3 NASA GSFC awards: 2022 DEIA, Peer and STAR awards

Panelist representing NASA science at Awesome Con, Washington, DC (06/2022)
Engaged with the public in the panel,
“To the Solar System, and Beyond!: Oceans and Ices”.



  1. McClure, M., Rocha, W.R.M., Pontoppidan, K., Crouzet, N., Chu, L., Dartois, E., Lamberts, T., Noble, J., Pendleton, Y., Perotti, G., Qasim, D., et al. Submitted.

  2. Qasim, D., McLain, H., Aponte, J., Glavin, D., Dworkin, J., and Materese, C. Submitted. "Meteorite Parent Body Aqueous Alteration Simulations of Interstellar Residue Analogs." ACS Earth and Space Chemistry

  3. Qasim, D., Hudson, R. and Materese, C., 2021. Measured Radiation-Induced D/H Exchange Rate Constants in Aliphatics Embedded in Water Ice. The Astrophysical Journal, 929(1-7).

  4. Lamberts, T., Fedoseev, G., van Hemert, M., Qasim, D., Chuang, K.J., de Carvalho Santos, J. and Linnartz, H., 2021. Methane formation in cold regions from carbon atoms and molecular hydrogen. The Astrophysical Journal, 928(1-13).

  5. He, J., Fedoseev, G., Chuang, K.J., Qasim, D., Ioppolo, S., McGuire, B., Cuppen, H. and Linnartz, H., 2021. Methoxymethanol Formation Starting from CO-Hydrogenation. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 659(1-8).

  6. Fedoseev, G., Qasim, D., Chuang, K.J., Ioppolo, S., Lamberts, T., van Dishoeck, E.F. and Linnartz, H., 2022. Hydrogenation of accreting C-atoms and CO molecules – simulating ketene and acetaldehyde formation under dark and translucent cloud conditions. The Astrophysical Journal, 924(1-8).

  7. Molpeceres, G., Kästner, J., Fedoseev, G., Qasim, D., Schömig, R., Linnartz, H. and Lamberts, T., 2021. Carbon atom reactivity with amorphous solid water: H2O catalyzed formation of H2CO. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 12(10854-10860).

  8. Gerakines, P., Qasim, D., Frail, S. and Hudson, R., 2021. Radiolytic Destruction of Uracil in Interstellar and Solar System Ices. Astrobiology, 22(1-9).

  9. Ioppolo, S., Fedoseev, G., Chuang, K.J., Cuppen, H.M., Clements, A.R., Jin, M., Garrod, R.T., Qasim, D., Kofman, V., van Dishoeck, E.F. and Linnartz, H., 2020. A non-energetic mechanism for glycine formation in the interstellar medium. Nature Astronomy, 5(197-205).

  10. Qasim, D., Witlox, M.J.A., Fedoseev, G., Chuang, K.J., Banu, T., Krasnokutski, S.A., Ioppolo, S., Kästner, J., van Dishoeck, E.F. and Linnartz, H., 2020. A cryogenic ice setup to simulate carbon atom reactions in interstellar ices. Review of Scientific Instruments, 91(054501).

  11. Qasim, D., Fedoseev, G., Chuang, K.J., He, J., Ioppolo, S., van Dishoeck, E.F. and Linnartz, H., 2020. An experimental study of the surface formation of methane in interstellar molecular clouds. Nature Astronomy, 4(781-785).

  12. Chuang, K.J., Fedoseev, G., Qasim, D., Ioppolo, S., Jäger, C., Henning, T., Palumbo, M.E., van Dishoeck, E.F. and Linnartz, H., 2020. Formation of complex molecules in translucent clouds: Acetaldehyde, vinyl alcohol, ketene, and ethanol via "nonenergetic" processing of C2H2 ice. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 635(A199).

  13. Qasim, D., Fedoseev, G., Chuang, K.J., Taquet, V., Lamberts, T., He, J., Ioppolo, S., van Dishoeck, E.F. and Linnartz, H., 2019c. Formation of interstellar propanal and 1-propanol ice: a pathway involving solid-state CO hydrogenation. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 627(A1).

  14. Qasim, D., Lamberts, T., He, J., Chuang, K.J., Fedoseev, G., Ioppolo, S., Boogert, A.C.A. and Linnartz, H., 2019b. Extension of the HCOOH and CO2 solid-state reaction network during the CO freeze-out stage: inclusion of H2CO. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 626(A118).

  15. Qasim, D., Fedoseev, G., Lamberts, T., Chuang, K.J., He, J., Ioppolo, S., Kästner, J. and Linnartz, H., 2019a. Alcohols on the rocks: solid-state formation in a H3CC≡CH + OH cocktail under dark cloud conditions. ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, 3(986-999).

  16. Chuang, K.J., Fedoseev, G., Qasim, D., Ioppolo, S., van Dishoeck, E.F. and Linnartz, H., 2018b. H2 chemistry in interstellar ices: the case of CO ice hydrogenation in UV irradiated CO: H2 ice mixtures. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 617(A87).

  17. Qasim, D., Chuang, K.J., Fedoseev, G., Ioppolo, S., Boogert, A.C.A. and Linnartz, H., 2018. Formation of interstellar methanol ice prior to the heavy CO freeze-out stage. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 612(A83).

  18. Chuang, K.J., Fedoseev, G., Qasim, D., Ioppolo, S., van Dishoeck, E.F. and Linnartz, H., 2018a. Reactive Desorption of CO Hydrogenation Products under Cold Pre-stellar Core Conditions. The Astrophysical Journal, 853(102).

  19. Qasim, D., Vlasak, L., Pital, A., Beckman, T., Mutanda, N. and Abbott-Lyon, H., 2017. Adsorption of Water, Methanol, and Formic Acid on Fe2NiP, a Meteoritic Mineral Analogue. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 121(13645-13654).

  20. Fedoseev, G., Chuang, K.J., Ioppolo, S., Qasim, D., van Dishoeck, E.F. and Linnartz, H., 2017. Formation of Glycerol through Hydrogenation of CO Ice under Prestellar Core Conditions. The Astrophysical Journal, 842(52).

  21. Chuang, K.J., Fedoseev, G., Qasim, D., Ioppolo, S., van Dishoeck, E.F. and Linnartz, H., 2017. Production of complex organic molecules: H-atom addition versus UV irradiation. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 467(2552-2565).

  22. La Cruz, N.L., Qasim, D., Abbott-Lyon, H., Pirim, C., McKee, A.D., Orlando, T., Gull, M., Lindsay, D. and Pasek, M.A., 2016. The evolution of the surface of the mineral schreibersite in prebiotic chemistry. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 18(20160-20167).

Selected invited talks and presentations

Laboratory studies of interstellar methane ice in the era of JWST (08/2022)
International Astronomical Union General Assembly; Busan, Korea

Astrochemistry of Extraterrestrial Ices: The Academic Journey of a NASA Postdoctoral Scientist (2/2022)
Benedictine College Physics and Astronomy Colloquium (virtual meeting)

The Interstellar Connection: D/H ratios of Aliphatics from Interstellar Space to our Solar System (11/2021)
NASA Astrobiology Prebiotic Chemistry and Early Earth Environments (PCE3) Seminar Series

Exploring solid-state carbon atom chemistry: The formation of CH4 ice by C- and H-atom addition (6/2021)
ACS-Astrochemistry subdivision online seminar series

Experimental investigations and astronomical observations of interstellar ices (11/2020)
STScI Exoplanets, Star and Planet Formation Seminar Series (virtual meeting)

Dark ice chemistry in interstellar clouds (6/2020)
UCF AVS Astrochemistry Webinar Series

259th ACS Meeting: Astrochemical complexity in planetary systems (declined; 03/2022)

Combined laboratory and theoretical study on formation of alcohols in the H2O-rich ice phase of prestellar cores (08/2019)
258th ACS Meeting: Water in the Universe; San Diego, CA

Synthesis of solid-state COMs through accretion of simple species at low temperatures (7/2019)
Space Science & Astrobiology Division Seminar; NASA Ames Research Center

Eat at a local restaurant tonight. Get the cream sauce. Have a cold pint at 4 o’clock in a mostly empty bar. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Listen to someone you think may have nothing in common with you. Order the steak rare. Eat an oyster. Have a negroni. Have two. Be open to a world where you may not understand or agree with the person next to you, but have a drink with them anyways. Eat slowly. Tip your server. Check in on your friends. Check in on yourself. Enjoy the ride.

– Anthony Bourdain