Imperial College London

DrJonathanTan Shi Wei

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Research Associate







3.59CRoyal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus






I am a PhD student in the Imperial College Organic Geochemistry group.

My PhD is focused on the preservation of lipids in iron-rich environments on Mars. To accomplish this, I study a variety of terrestrial analogue sites that mimic the conditions of specific parts of the Martian surface environment, and attempt to determine how the minerals in these environments influence the preservation of organic matter. 

In particular, I am interested in the organic matter-mineral interactions in these environments, and how they work together to complete the story of preservation in these environments on Mars.


Tan, J., Lewis, J.M.T., Sephton, M.A., 2018. The Fate of Lipid Biosignatures in a Mars-Analogue Sulfur Stream. Sci. Rep. 8, 7586. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-25752-7

Court, R. W., & Tan, J. (2016). Insights into secondary reactions occurring during atmospheric ablation of micrometeoroids. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 51(6), 1163–1183.



Tan JSW, Sephton MA, 2021, Quantifying preservation potential: lipid degradation in a Mars-analog circumneutral iron deposit, Astrobiology, Vol:21, ISSN:1531-1074, Pages:1-17

Royle SH, Tan J, Watson JS, et al., 2021, Pyrolysis of carboxylic acids in the presence of iron oxides: implications for life detection on missions to Mars, Astrobiology, ISSN:1531-1074, Pages:1-19

Tan J, Royle S, Sephton M, 2021, Artificial maturation of iron- and sulfur-rich Mars analogues: Implications for the diagenetic stability of biopolymers and their detection with pyrolysis gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, Astrobiology, Vol:21, ISSN:1531-1074, Pages:199-218

Tan J, Sephton M, 2020, Organic records of early life on Mars: the role of iron, burial and kinetics on preservation, Astrobiology, Vol:20, ISSN:1531-1074, Pages:53-72

Royle SH, Tan J, Kounaves SP, et al., 2018, Survivability of 1-chloronapthalene during simulated early diagenesis – Implications for chlorinated hydrocarbon detection on Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Vol:123, ISSN:2169-9097, Pages:2790-2802

More Publications