Personal details

Dr David Flannery
Lecturer, Earth and Planetary Sciences
Faculty of Science,
School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
Discipline *
Geology, Aerospace Engineering, Astronomical and Space Sciences
+61 7 3138 1615
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)

Doctor of Philosophy in Geology (University of New South Wales)

Professional memberships
and associations

Member, Geological Society of America

Member, Geological Society of Australia

Co-Investigator, Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry, NASA Mars 2020 Mission

Member, NASA Mars 2020 Mission Science Team

Long Term Planner, NASA Mars 2020 Mission


Geology, Sedimentology, Geobiology, Astrobiology, Precambrian, Archean, Proterozoic, Stromatolites, Mars, PIXL

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


David joined the School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences at QUT in 2019 to develop capabilities in the fields of deep-time geology and astrobiology.

David graduated from Macquarie University in 2009 with a major in paleobiology, before attending Peking University’s College of Urban and Environmental Science and MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences as a Visiting Research Scholar. He received a PhD from the University of New South Wales in 2014 for research into evidence for life and early terrestrial environments preserved in Archean (4-2.5 billion-year-old) rocks in Western Australia.

In 2014-2015, while a Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), he studied molecular evidence for ancient microbial metabolisms preserved in Earth’s oldest known fossils, and worked on the development of lithochemistry instruments that were later selected to fly on NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover Mission.

He then joined NASA as a full time research scientist based in the Planetary Science Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He has designed and fielded numerous platforms for geological investigations in extreme environments, including multi-million-dollar projects funded by NASA.

David has broad interests in the fields of astrobiology, geology and sustainable development, and welcomes collaborations in these areas.

This information has been contributed by Dr David Flannery.


ERB301: Chemical Earth

ERB101: Earth Systems

ERB102: Evolving Earth

SEB104: Grand Challenges in Science

This information has been contributed by Dr David Flannery.


David has successfully proposed and worked on a number of instrument development programs funded by NASA. Several of these technologies have applications in the mining sector. Some have flown on spacecraft.

He is a Long Term Planner for NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover Mission, and a Co-Investigator of the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry, which was selected to fly on the same mission.

This information has been contributed by Dr David Flannery.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


  • PhD Students:

    Principal Supervisor: Vanessa Zepeda (School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)

    Associate Supervisor: Marco Acevedo (School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)

    Associate Supervisor: Julian Andres Galvez Serna (School of Electrical Engineering & Robotics)

    Associate Supervisor: Daniel Boyd (School of Biology and Environmental Science)

Current supervisions