© 2018 GESS

TEAM

Founders
Cristian Lascu
President

Cristian is the one who discovered Movile Cave and recognized the unique nature and enormous potential this special cave has for furthering our knowledge through scientific research in a little known type of extreme environment.

Dr. Radu Popa, PhD
Lead Researcher

Radu's brilliant mind understood the challenge of this new type of habitat and devised cutting-edge experiments that put Movile Cave on the global map and determined NASA to use the lessons learned in this unique environment as part of its Mars Exploration Program.

Dumitru Pegulescu
Lead Contractor

Dumitru, aka "Peggy", is our go-to guy for all building related issues. Apart from having built our Lab he is also an avid caver, explorer and accomplished photographer. His support for our researchers has been invaluable over the years.

Dr. Serban Sarbu, PhD
Lead Researcher

Serban was, and still is, the driving force behind the ground-breaking scientific research in Movile Cave. He was the first one to recognize the potential of this unique ecosystem in understanding chemosynthesis based environments.

Dr. Florian Baciu, PhD
Researcher

Florian's early tests proved without a doubt that Movile's ecosystem had been closed off from the surface by showing that, although the surface environment carried traces of radioactivity linked to the Chernobyl disaster, no such traces existed in either atmosphere, soil or water inside the cave.

Mihai Baciu
Contractor

Mihai is an engineer-turned-dive instructor whose passion for the underground world is matched by his expertise as a builder and problem-solver. Apart from being a first class explorer, he, together with Peggy, built our Lab from the ground up.

Researchers
Cristian Lascu
Geologist

Associate Researcher, "Emil Racovitza" Institute of Speleology (ERIS). Former (and first) Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Romania. Award-winning photographer. Discoverer of numerous caves and cave systems. Seasoned conservationist and ecologist. Expertise in Karst Formation, Speleothem Morphology, Cave Archaeology and Paleoecology.   Full Bio

Dr. Radu Popa, PhD
Biologist

Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, Department of Biological Sciences, Los Angeles. Participating Scientist in the NASA Mars Curiosity Mission. Expertise in Microbiology, Geobiology, Astrobiology, Exobiology, Xenobiology, Microbial Diversity and Ecology, Origin of Life.  Full Bio

Dr. Serban Sarbu, PhD
Biologist

Adjunct Faculty Member, California State University, Chico, Department of Biological Sciences. Expertise in Taxonomy, Microbial Molecular Biology, Environmental Microbiology, Molecular Microbiology, Microbial Ecology and Diversity, Bacteria, Groundwater, Biofilm Formation, Stable Isotopes, Hydrochemistry, Amphipods, Biocorrosion.   Full Bio

Dr. Alexandra Hillebrand Voiculescu, PhD
Biochemist

Senior Researcher at "Emil Racovitza" Institute of Speleology (ERIS), Bucharest, Department of Biospeleology and Karst Biology. Expertise in Environmental Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biodiversity and Conservation, Extreme Environments, rRNA Genes, Soil Microbiology, Metagenomics, Environmental Chemistry, Geochemistry.  Full Bio

Dr. Florian Baciu, PhD
Physicist

Response System Coordinator, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. Expertise in Radiation Protection, Radiation Dosimetry, Ionizing Radiation, Environmental Radioactivity. During 1990-1992 Florian was a member of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition conducting environmental radioactivity measurements in Wilkes Land, Casey, Antarctica.  Full Bio

Lab Administration
Vlad Voiculescu
Administrator

Vlad keeps our facilities at the lab in smooth working order and is also in charge of scheduling for lab-related activities. One of his main duties is to facilitate access into Movile Cave. Together with Alexandra he hosts a Summer Camp for chidren. Vlad is a seasoned caver and excellent scuba diver.

Dr. Alexandra Hillebrand Voiculescu, PhD
Director, Protected Areas

Apart from being our resident researcher, Alexandra is in charge of administration of the protected areas in our care, being our liaison with the government. Together with Vlad she hosts a summer camp for children interested in nature, caves and environmental protection. She is an accomplished caver and scuba diver.

Dive Pros
Mihai Baciu
Dive Instructor

Mihai is an instructor for a number of  globally recognized dive agencies: TDI/SDI/ERDI, NAUI and IANTD. He is the main Romanian explorer of Izverna Cave, the Romanian cave with the longest submerged passage (700 meters).

Andreea Cohn
Dive Instructor

Andreea is an SDI/TDI instructor. She is an award-winning underwater photographer as well as an underwater film-maker. She is also an accomplished technical cave diver and member of numerous international cave-diving expeditions.

Partners