Professor Kathleen Campbell is an astrobiologist, paleoecologist and geologist. She trained in the USA and joined the University of Auckland in 1997 after a post-doc in Exobiology at NASA Ames Research Center. She is the inaugural Director of Te Ao Marama - Centre for Fundamental Inquiry, a multi-disciplinary group exploring the origin and evolution of the Universe and its life. Her research focuses on life in 'extreme environments' of early Earth, and possibly on Mars. She was recently awarded a RSNZ Marsden Fund grant to conduct scientific drilling to obtain pristine samples of the oldest life on land in ~3.5-billion-year-old hot springs of the Pilbara region, Western Australia. She is on the scientific team advocating a return to Columbia Hills, Gusev crater, for a future robotic Mars mission, to study, collect and cache samples of weirdly shaped silica features discovered by Spirit rover that may possibly preserve fossil microbes on the Red Planet.