Morgan Cable


Chemist / Postdoctoral Scholar

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Mail Stop T1723-118

4800 Oak Grove Dr.

Pasadena, CA 91109
818.393.6963 (lab)

818.354.2539 (office)

Lanthanide photophysics, planetary science, in situ sensor design, life detection, lab-on-a-chip technologies

Morgan L. Cable [PDF]

Morgan L. Cable [PDF]

Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS)

Surfing, flying, soccer, mountain unicycling, swimming, poetry

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to

brighten it everywhere."  (Isaac Asimov)

Webpage on NASA-JPL Site

NASA Postdoctoral Program

Gray Research Group (Caltech)

Aero Association of Caltech (AACIT)

Caltech Surf and Windsurf Club

All About Me

Morgan Cable is a postdoctoral scholar working at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) since the summer of 2010.  She graduated from Caltech with a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry in June of 2010, where she worked with the Ponce Group at JPL and the Gray Group at Caltech.  Her graduate research involved lanthanide-based receptor site design for the detection of endospores in extreme environments, both on Earth and potentially Mars.  As a NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellow, she is currently designing a lab-on-a-chip to separate and characterize the many organics on the surface of Titan.

Morgan hails from Titusville, Florida, a stone's throw away from Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center.  She is one of a set of triplets; her brother is in residency as an orthopedic surgeon, and her sister has an M.S. in chemistry and is pursuing her medical doctorate.  Morgan enjoys surfing, mountain unicycling (muni for short) soccer, and flying Cessna 172s in her free time.  She aspires to continue working through NASA to discover more about the universe and our place in it, and to pursue her dream of becoming a NASA Mission Specialist.


Ph.D. Inorganic Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, 2010

Thesis: Life in extreme environments:  Lanthanide-based detection of bacterial spores and other sensor design pursuits, May 2010 [PDF]

B.A. Chemistry (minors in Physics and Mathematics), Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, 2005

Thesis: Developing a Lanthanide Luminescence-Based Method for Detecting Bacterial Spores in Extreme Environments, May 2005


  1. 1.Terbium-macrocycle complexes as chemical sensors: Detection of an aspirin metabolite in urine using a salicylurate-specific receptor site.  Esplin, T.L.; Cable, M.L.; Gray, H.B.; Ponce, A. Inorganic Chemistry, 2010, 49 (10), 4643-4647. [PDF]

  1. 2.Detection of bacterial spores with lanthanide-macrocycle binary complexes.  Cable, M.L.; Kirby, J.P.; Levine, D.J.; Manary, M.J.; Gray, H.B.; Ponce, A.  Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009, 131 (27), 9562-9570. [PDF]

  1. 3.Principles for engineering molecular receptor sites.  Contakes, S.M.; Cable, M.L.; Kirby, J.P.; Ponce, A.  In Bottom-up Nanofabrication: Supramolecules, Self-Assemblies, and Organized Films, Eds. Ariga, K.; Nalwa, H.S., American Scientific Publishers, 2009.

  1. 4.Spectroscopic analysis of ligand binding to lanthanide-macrocycle platforms.  Kirby, J.P.; Cable, M.L.; Levine, D.J.; Gray, H.B.; Ponce, A.  Analytical Chemistry, 2008, 80 (15), 5750-5754. [PDF]

  1. 5.Bacterial spore detection by [Tb3+(macrocycle)(dipicolinate)] luminescence.  Cable, M.L.; Kirby, J.P.; Sorasaenee, K.; Gray, H.B.; Ponce, A.  Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2007, 129, 1474-1475. [PDF]

  1. 6.Towards an in-situ endospore detection instrument.  Shafaat, H.S.; Cable, M.L.; Ikeda, M.K.; Kirby, J.P.; Pelletier, C.C.; Ponce, A.  IEEE Aerospace Conference, 2005. [PDF]

  1. 7.Identifying the n = 2 reaction mechanism of FAD through voltammetric simulations.  Cable, M.L.; Smith, E.T.  Analytica Chimica Acta, 2005, 537 (1-2), 299-306. [PDF]

  1. 8.Synthesis and magnetic characterization of microstructures prepared from microbial templates of differeing morphology.  Mogul, R.; Getz Kelly, J.J.; Cable, M.L.; Hebard, A.F.  Materials Letters, 2005, 60 (1), 19-22. [PDF]

conference proceedings

  1. 1.Cable, M.L., Kirby, J.P., Gray, H.B., Ponce, A.  Lanthanide-macrocycle complexes and detection of bacterial spores:  Photophysics, interferents and applications.  Division of Inorganic Chemistry, 238th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Washington, DC, 2009.

  1. 2.Cable, M.L., Kirby, J.P., Levine, D.J., Manary, M.J., Gray, H.B., Ponce, A.  Bacterial spore detection:  Construction of a lanthanide-based molecular receptor site.  Division of Inorganic Chemistry, 236th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, 2008.

  1. 3.Cable, M.L., Kirby, J.P., Levine, D.J., Manary, M.J., Gray, H.B., Ponce, A.  Bacterial spore detection:  Ionic radii effects on the stability of [(lanthanide)(macrocycle)(dipicolinate)]- ternary complexes.  Division of Inorganic Chemistry, 234th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Boston, MA, 2007.

  1. 4.Cable, M.L., Kirby, J.P., Levine, D.J., Gray, H.B., Ponce, A.  Characterization of a lanthanide sensor molecule for bacterial spore detection.  Division of Inorganic Chemistry, 232nd American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Francisco, CA, 2006.

  1. 5.Cable, M.L., Kirby, J.P., Pelletier, C.C., Gray, H.B., Ponce, A.  Developing novel methods for detecting bacterial spores in extreme environments.  Division of Chemical Education, 229th American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Diego, CA, 2005.

  1. 6.Cable, M.L., Smith, E.T.  Arson analysis by static headspace enrichment and gas chromatography using simplex optimization.  Forensic Science Symposium, Florida Section of the American Chemical Society, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2004.

  1. 7.Cable, M.L., Holm, T.A., Fuller-Stanley, J.A.  NMR and Computational analysis of the conformational preferences of certain silyl dithianes.  Division of Chemical Education, 227th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Anaheim, CA, 2004.