Emily Matys in New Zealand Antartica

Emily's Story

Emily Matys traveled to New Zealand on a MISTI Global Seed Fund project to meet with three other scientists at the University of Canterbury who study life in cold environments


To reveal the complex secrets of microbial life, MIT EAPS PhD candidate and Summons lab member Emily Matys analyzed lipids — oils, waxes, and fats that living organisms produce in order to store energy and respond to environmental changes. Matys has ventured to Mexico, Germany, Chile, and New Zealand to learn innovative lab techniques with the support of MISTI grants. “I am the biggest supporter of MISTI,” Matys says. “The grants provide MIT affiliates with an incredible opportunity to interact and collaborate with diverse groups of researchers from around the world.”   Matys traveled to New Zealand to meet with three other scientists who study life in cold environments. They published a perspectives paper in the journal Geobiology in 2018 titled “The ‘Dirty Ice’ of the McMurdo Ice Shelf: Analogues for biological oases during the Cryogenian.” Matys was accepted for the National Science Foundation Antarctic Biology Training Program, an approximately month-long research experience based out of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. In January 2018, she completed the training program and added Antarctica to her list of travels.

--adapted from an article written by Fatima Husain

  • Emily in New Zealand antartica2
  • Roger Summons in Antartica
“I am extremely grateful for the MISTI-New Zealand seed funds that allowed my student, Emily Matys, and me to travel to Antarctica to sample from the ‘dirty ice’ of Bratina Island. The scientific connections made through MISTI can have totally unexpected and positive outcomes for all involved.”

MIT Professor Roger Summon, Department of Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences
Emily in New Zealand antartica3
Major & Class Year
Earth, Atmosphere & Planetary Science '19
Christchurch New Zealand and Antartica
MISTI Program
MISTI Global Seed Fund Research Trip
MISTI Global Seed Fund project with University of Canterbury, “Microbial Diversity of Antarctic Lake Microbial Mat”