Sean Brown, a Biological Sciences PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, explores astrobiology, synthetic biology, and theoretical biochemistry. His research delves into the question of how an alien or alternative protein biochemistry might differ from what we know here on Earth. Sean investigates the origins and early evolution of life’s building blocks, examining the possibilities beyond the set of 20 genetically encoded L-⍺-amino acids found in all life on Earth. His work sheds light on the potential for life’s existence and adaptation in diverse environments, both within our planet and beyond. Sean aspires to work as an astrobiologist after completing his doctorate; but outside of academia, he finds joy in hiking with his dog and actively plays and coaching ice hockey.