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Leila Battison – Curriculum Vitae 

D.O.B.: 23-07-1986;  Nationality: British; email:

My research interests lie primarily in the enigmatic micropalaeontology of the Precambrian period of Earth’s history.  However, having received formal training in all aspects of palaeontology, including the philosophical implications of early life studies and of evolutionary theory, I cannot fail to be fascinated by these topics as well.  Fundamentally, I am attracted to large scale unsolved problems within the field of science, and explore these as my knowledge base and training allows.  I am always looking to expand my horizons, and the relatively young science of Astrobiology, combined with questions on the origins of early life in Earth, hold particular appeal for me.  Within the scope of my DPhil I was able to explore such questions as the timing and process of the evolution of eukaryotes, the transition from unicellular to multicellular forms, and the changing nature of the fossil record through Earth’s history. In my future academic career, I intend to investigate the mineral and organic signs that life leaves in rocks on Earth, and expand this information to studies on other planets.

Communication of Science to a wider public audience is critical, and a central motivation to my life as a scientist.  In my day-to-day life as a researcher, I strive to make my own work accessible to the layperson (both interested and uninterested), and in my spare time, I hope to make a difference in making the work of other academics similarly understandable.  Good practice in science communication is key, as well as searching for new ways to engage the public with the fascinating and important work being done by academics worldwide.


2012                Bebout Lab, NASA Ames Research Centre, CA PBI program investigating ways of detecting life on other planets.

2008 – 2012   Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford DPhil in Palaeobiology.

Title: Remarkable Preservation of Cells in Phosphate and the Early Evolution of the Biosphere

2004 – 2008        Hertford College, University of Oxford MESci in Earth Sciences, first class.

2002 – 2004         King Edward VI Sixth Form College, Stourbridge Six A-Levels at grade A.

1997 – 2002          Summerhill School, Kingswinford Thirteen GCSEs all at grade A-A*


Summer 2009   Fieldwork in Ontario, Canada D.Phil research

Summer 2008   Trip to Indian Himalaya Demonstrator for A-level field trip

Summer 2008   Fieldwork in Newfoundland D.Phil research

Summer 2007 and Summer 2008 and Summer 2010  Fieldwork in NW Scotland Masters and D.Phil research

Summer 2006   Independent mapping project in SW Sardinia Part of Undergraduate Course

Summer 2005    Expedition to Madagascar Research Assistant

Summer 2003    Expedition to Greenland Research Assistant

2000 – 2004      Duke of Edinburgh Award To Gold Award Level


2011 – Present Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford Course Coordinator for Masters Astrobiology Series

2010 – Present Oxford Summer Academy Evolution and Earth Sciences Tutor

2008 – Present  Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford Tutoring in Palaeobiology and Sedimentology

2008 – Present  Department of Earth Sciences, Univeristy of Oxford Practical Demonstration in Palaeobiology, Sedimentology and Mapping

2007 – 2009   Oxford Science Studies Biology and Geography tutor


August 2011 What Goes Up with PassiveAggressiveProductions at C Venues, Edinburgh Fringe Festival Lighting design

August 2010    Now is the Winter with Alarum Theatre at the Vault (Venue 29), Edinburgh Fringe FestivalStage Manager, Lighting and Sound Technician, Publicity

Summer 2010   Isobel’s War and The Mary Rose with Alarum Theatre at Tooleys Boatyard Theatre, Banbury Stage Manager and Lighting Technician

Spring 2010      Antigone at Oxford Playhouse with Oxford Theatre Guild Technical Stage Manager, Props and Programme Co-ordinator

Autumn 2009   Alice’s Adventures Underground at Old Fire Sation, Oxford, with Oxford Theatre Guild Stage Manager


2011 – Present Broadway Baby Section editor at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, year-round London editor

2011 – Present Stallard Scientific Editing English Language Editor

2010 – 2011 Oxford Summer Academy Editor and Creative Director of fortnightly magazine

2009 – 2011 Bang! Science Magazine Editor in Chief and Creative Director


Where did Sex come from? Au Science Magazine, Issue 3, March 2012

News articles for BBC Science Online – September-October 2011

Interview with Material World, BBC Radio 4 – March 2011

Astrobiology article ‘Intelligent Life: Apply Elsewhere” Bang Science Magazine, Issue 5, Summer 2010


Battison, L., McMahon, S. and Brasier, M. D. (in revision) Sedimentary phosphate in the 2 Ga Gunflint Formation, Ontario.  Geobiology. 

Battison, L. and Brasier, M. D. (2012) Remarkably preserved prokaryote and eukaryote microfossils within lake phosphates of the Torridon Group, NW Scotland. Precambrian Research, 196-197, 204-217.

Callow, R. H. T., Battison, L. and Brasier, M. D. (2011) Diverse microbially induced sedimentary structures from 1 Ga lakes of the Diabaig Formation, Torridon Group, northwest Scotland. Sedimentary Geology, 239 117-128.

Strother, P. K., Battison, L., Brasier, M. D. and Wellman, C. H. (2011) Earths earliest non-marine eukaryotes. Nature, 473, 505-509.

Battison, L. (2011) Niche habitats for extra-terrestrial life: the potential for astrobiology on the moons of Saturn and Jupiter. Journal of Cosmology, 13, 3790-3799.

* * * *

Battison, L. How the early Earth can guide our search for life elsewhere Oral Presentation at AbGradCon, Pasadena, CA, August 2012

Battison L. Taphospace: Using taphonomy to decode early diversity and preservation. Poster presentation at LIO Origin of Life Meeting, Lyon, June 2012

Battison L. Oceans in Icy Bodies – Our best chance at finding extraterrestrial life? Oral presentation at Oceans in Icy Planetary Bodies meeting, October 2011

Battison L. and Brasier, M. D. Ecological Adaptation of Algal Communities in Billion-year-old Lake Basins. Oral Presentation a IPC3, London, June 2010

Battison, L. and Brasier, M. D. Ecological Adaptation of Algal Communities in Billion-year-old Lake Basins. Oral presentation at Progressive Palaeontology, Bristol, May 2010

Battison, L. – Before the Birds and the Bees: The Origin of Sex in the Fossil Record. Poster presentation at Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting, Birmingham (2009)

Battison, L. and Brasier, M. D. – Exceptional Preservation of Early Terrestrial Communities in Lacustrine Phosphate One Billion Years Ago in Smith, M. R., O’Brien L. J., Caron, J-B. International Conference on the Cambrian Explosion (Walcott 2009) Abstract Volume.  Toronto, Ontario, Canada: The Burgess Shale Consortium. (31st July 2009)

Battison, L., Brasier, M. D., and Ancliffe, J. B. – The Earliest Fossil Evidence for Life on Land and the Freshwater Origin of Algae? Oral presentation at Progressive Palaeontology, Birmingham (2009)

Battison, L., Brasier, M. D., and Antcliffe, J. B. – The Earliest Fossil Evidence for Life on Land and the Freshwater Origin of Algae? Oral presentation at EGU General Assembly, Vienna (2009)

Brasier, M. D., Battison, L., Callow, R.H., Antcliffe, J. B. – Towards a solution for Darwin’s Dilemma: remarkable preservation in one-billion-year-old lake ecosystems in NW Scotland. Poster presentation at Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting, Glasgow (2008)