FEEDBACK

The SEEC Team

The Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration (SEEC) is a multi-disciplinary, cross-Divisional effort that includes scientists with a broad diversity of skills and experience.

Below we list the complete team membership, as well as a number of research areas in which specific members are currently working. To view participants from each science area, click on a title below.

Research Areas


Alphabetical list

Vladimir Airapetian

Vladimir Airapetian

Dr. Vladimir Airapetian is a Senior Astrophysicist at Heliophysics Science Division (HSD) / NASA¹s Goddard Space Flight Center and Research Professor at American University, DC. He is a PI of NASA NExSS project "Mission to Young Earth 2.0" and a PI of NASA Exobiology project on initiation of life on early Earth and Mars. He is also leading an interdisciplinary team of heliophysicists, astrophysicists, planetary scientists, chemists and biochemists from NASA Goddard, NASA Langley, Harvard University, UC Berkeley, University of Vienna, UCAR, and Tokyo Tech to understand how extreme events from the active stars affect physics and chemistry of exoplanetary habitability.

Vladimir Airapetian obtained a Bachelor of Science with major in Physics from the Yerevan State University and his PhD in theoretical astrophysics from Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory in Armenia. He has over 20 years of experience in theoretical astrophysics, heliophysics and astrobiology. Dr. Airapetian specializes in the MHD modeling of solar and stellar winds, extreme coronal mass ejection events from the current and early sun and their effects on Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere. His latest activity includes the application of state-of-the-art multidimensional heliophysics models to simulate environments of active stars and the young sun to understand their impacts to the atmospheres of early Earth and Mars. These studies laid the foundation for the concept Of initiation of biological molecules on early Earth and resolution of the Faint Young Sun's paradox published in Nature Geoscience.


Carrie Anderson

Carrie Anderson

Carrie Anderson’s research focuses on the remote sensing of planetary atmospheres, primarily in the areas of thermal structure, particulate, and chemical composition, using space- and ground-based data. This includes radiative transfer analyses of the outer planets, including the effects of aerosols and condensates; and far IR and other data analysis techniques and studies. Her research also includes laboratory measurements of thin ice films obtained from transmission spectroscopy techniques.


Giada Arney

Giada Arney

Dr. Giada Arney’s research involves modeling and measuring properties of planets with an emphasis on worlds enshrouded by global cloud and haze layers because aerosols appear to be a common planetary phenomenon. She have a dual focus on both solar system bodies and on exoplanets. She have retrieved properties of Venus’ sub-cloud atmosphere through observations of its nightside spectral windows, producing the first simultaneous and temporally resolved maps of cloud opacity, acid concentration, water vapor (H2O), hydrogen chloride (HCl), carbon dioxide (CO), carbonyl sulfide (OCS), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). She has also comprehensively simulated hazy Archean Earth with a coupled photochemical-climate model to study its atmospheric composition, climate, and habitability. She showed that organic haze on an Earthlike planet produces strong spectral signatures that may be detectable with future telescopes. She is deputy lead of LUVOIR Science Support Analysis Team.


Patricia Boyd

Patricia Boyd

Padi is the Hubble Space Telescope Deputy Project Scientist for Operations and the Associate Chief of the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory. She has been at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center since 1993, when she was a USRA visiting scientist with the High Speed Photometer and Polarimeter Team aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, studying the optical and ultraviolet polarization seen in X-ray binaries, pulsars and active galaxies. In 1995 she joined the Monitoring X-ray Experiment (MOXE) team, an X-ray all-sky monitor that was in development and testing as part of the Russian-led Spectrum X-Gamma mission. In 1997 she joined the Rossi X-ray Timing Experiment (RXTE) Guest Observer Facility (GOF), performing science support for the mission when not pursuin her own research on the long-term X-ray variability of

She spent two years on a detail at NASA Headquarters in Washington as the program scientist for the Kepler mission, the US point of contact for the MOST US Guest Observer program and as a discipline scientist for X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy. She was also the Program Officer for the Origins of Solar Systems Exoplanets program.


no photo available

Barbara Carlson

Barbara Carlson is a Civil Servant at NASA GISS. Her research is focused on the retrieval of cloud and aerosol information from multi-spectral data. Most recently, she is interested in the retrieval of aerosol composition from the analysis of the spectral behavior of the aerosol single scattering albedo. She and her team have found that most of the data can be explained with an external mixture of absorbing and scattering aerosols. In addition, they have identified two unique single scattering albedo spectral signatures associated with internally mixed aerosol and are currently working on developing the methodology to retrieve the composition of these internally mixed aerosols.


Mark Chandler

Mark Chandler

Mark is a geoscientist at Columbia University in New York City and works with the global climate modeling research group at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. His research focuses on Earth paleoclimates, particularly periods of extreme warmth during the Phanerozoic Era (approximately the past 550 million years of Earth history). He employs 3D computer climate models to examine the physical mechanisms at work in these past warm periods and then applies the results to better understand scientific issues involving no-analog climates, such as future climate change and the habitability of exoplanets. Mark also directs Columbia’s Educational Global Climate Modeling Project (EdGCM), an education and outreach program that produces curriculum and computer tools that help make NASA’s global climate models more accessible to educators, students and other researchers.


no photo available

Thomas Clune

Dr. Thomas Clune is a senior computational scientist at NASA GSFC and leads the Software infrastructure team within the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. Dr. Clune has ongoing software collaborations for the development of numerous models across several disciplines. These include GISS ModelE2, NU-WRF, GEOS-5, DYNAMO, and MoSST.

Dr. Clune is a strong advocate for software testing within the scientific community and the originator and lead developer of pFUnit, an open source unit testing framework for parallel Fortran Software. The recently released version 3.0 of pFUnit was completely redesigned to exploit the object-oriented features introduced in the Fortran 2003 standard. This highly extensible framework has successfully been used in testing and development of several software packages within NASA, and is also being used at several prestigious institutions including ECMWF and NCAR.

Dr. Clune currently serves as the Principal Investigator for the NASA Open-access Geo-ridding Infrastructure (NOGGIn), that enables researchers to regrid data from disparate sources for further analysis.


no photo available

Glyn Collinson

Glyn is a university scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight center, working in the fields of instrument science and planetary science. His current research interest is in understanding what makes Earth-like planets habitable. To further this goal, he works with data from ESA’s Venus Express and NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) missions, understanding atmospheric escape and evolution, and the impact of external solar drivers. As an instrument scientist, he has worked on numerous flight projects including MMS, Mars/Venus Express, Cassini, and Solar Orbiter.


Knicole Colón

Knicole Colón

Dr. Colón is a research astrophysicist in the Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Lab (667) at Goddard. Her research involves the discovery, confirmation, and atmospheric characterization of transiting exoplanets using optical and near-infrared spectro-photometry. Knicole has extensive experience working with the Kepler, K2, and KELT transit surveys and is PI of an ongoing NASA-NSF EXPLORE program for near-infrared transit follow-up of K2 exoplanets using the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The goals of the WIYN program are to characterize K2 exoplanets in preparation for future follow-up efforts with facilities like JWST and to demonstrate the feasibility of using WIYN for observations of TESS exoplanets in the future. Knicole is also interested in characterizing the atmospheres of exotic exoplanets like super-inflated sub-Saturn-mass planets with facilities like HST and JWST in order to better understand their origins. Knicole is currently also a support scientist in the Kepler/K2 Guest Observer Office and a member of the HST Project Science Office at Goddard.


William Danchi

William Danchi

William Danchi is a Civil Servant at NASA GSFC. He is a Senior Astrophysicist in the Astrophysics Division (Code 660) and the Acting Chief of the The Exoplanet and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory (Code 667). He is currently working on three projects: (1) He is on he science team of the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Systems (HOSTS) project. This is a survey (operating 10 microns) of the warm debris disk material (exozodiacal dust) around nearby stars that are good targets for direct imaging of exoplanets in the habitable zone, with future systems such as LUVOIR or HabEx. This survey will find the median level of the exozodiacal dust for the target stars as well as the luminosity function at 10 times lower levels than previously measured. (2) He is leading a Science Task Group (STG) focused on the effects of stellar activity and evolution on the habitability of exoplanets based on the changes in atmospheric chemistry and escape caused by Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). He and the team have made progress on early Earth and Mars, and they will apply what we have learned to exoplanets around cooler stars such as M and K dwarfs that can be studied via transit spectroscopy with JWST. (3) He is leading a recently funded project to search for young planets forming in transitional disks of young stars, using a combination of ground-based coronagraphy and interferometry, the latter to obtain high enough angular resolution to reach the terrestrial planet-forming zones.


Tony Del Genio

Tony Del Genio

I am in the GSFC Earth Science Division (611), studying how clouds and convective storms influence climate change on Earth using a 3-D general circulation model (GCM). I am involved in the planetary adaptation of our GCM (called ROCKE-3D) to simulate ancient Solar System climates and to understand factors that determine the habitability of exoplanets. My colleagues and I have recently used ROCKE-3D to understand the conditions under which ancient Venus may have been able to maintain moderate surface temperatures for an extended period. We are also studying the physical processes by which the spectra of cooler stars determine the stratospheric water vapor concentrations of synchronously rotating planets, and how the detectability of water vapor in transit observations of such planets varies with stellar temperature. A particular interest is the development of water cycle-based habitability metrics to help identify the properties that could make an otherwise Earth-like planet "superhabitable."


Shawn Domagal-Goldman

Shawn Domagal-Goldman

Dr. Domagal-Goldman in a Research Space Scientist in the Planetary Environments Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. He is an astrobiologist with an expert in comparative planetology. As a member of multiple interdisciplinary teams, he simulates the atmospheres of other worlds, including those of ancient Earth, modern Mars, ancient Mars, and exoplanets. He utilizes the outputs from those simulations to interpret data from some of Earth’s most ancient rocks, from the Mars Curiosity rover, and to simulate the capabilities of future space-based telescopes that would look for life on exoplanets. Shawn is also an instinctive collaborator, and is a member of many research and mission teams, including the Curiosity science team, the Exo-S Science and Technology Definition Team, the HabEx Science and Technology Definition Team, is the Deputy Study Scientist for the Large UV-Optical-Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR), is on the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory, and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies team in the Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science.


Thomas Fauchez

Thomas Fauchez

Dr Fauchez is a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow in the Earth Science division. He works on clouds and radiative transfer modeling, particularly on cloud inhomogeneity effects. He co-developed a 3-D cloud generator and a 3-D Monte Carlo radiative transfer code for visible and infrared channels, included polarization. He also works on spectropolarimetry to detect biosignatures, water and clouds and is interested to rocky exoplanet climate modeling from 1D and 3D models. Thomas Fauchez is associate editor for (exo)planetary sciences in the AIMS Geosciences journal.


Katherine Garcia-Sage

Katherine Garcia-Sage

Dr. Garcia-Sage studies the space plasma environment, focusing on plasma processes that drive ionospheric escape along magnetic field lines from planets inside and outside the solar system. Her work at Earth has demonstrated effects of escaping plasma in the Earth's magnetosphere, and she carries out data analysis and modeling of the heating and escape of heavy ions from planets including Earth, Jupiter, and exoplanets.


Stephanie Getty

Stephanie Getty

Dr. Stephanie Getty is a planetary research scientist and the Associate Lab Chief in the Planetary Environments Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Her research interests are in the area of science instrument development for in situ planetary missions, particularly in the pursuit of understanding the origin, evolution, and processing of organic chemistry in our Solar System. She is currently serving as principal investigator of the PICASSO-funded development of MACROS, an interface between liquid extraction techniques and laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry. She is also PI of the ASTID-funded development of OASIS, a breadboard liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer, as well as the PIDD-funded development of a two-step tandem laser mass spectrometer for the in situ investigation of refractory organics on planetary surfaces. She is a member of the ExoMars Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer science team and a Mars Science Laboratory collaborator. She was named GSFC Innovator of the Year in 2012. Dr. Getty is a current member of the American Chemical Society and the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. She is also a member of the session organizing committee of the IEEE Aerospace Conference and of the steering committee of the Mid-Atlantic Micro/Nanotechnology Alliance. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Florida in 2001 and a B.S. in physics in 1998. She joined NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, in 2004.


Alex Glocer

Alex Glocer

Dr. Alex Glocer is a scientist in the Heliophysics Science Division at Goddard Space Flight Center studying the space environment of Earth, planetary, and exoplanetary systems using numerical models. This includes coupled modeling of the magnetosphere and ionosphere with a particular interest in the atmospheric escape of charged particles known as ionospheric outflow. He developes the Polar Wind Outflow Model (PWOM) for this purpose and has used the model to study atmospheric loss as well as the impact of ionospheric plasma on the magnetosphere.


Tyler Groff

Tyler Groff

Dr. Tyler Groff is currently the lead engineer for the integral field spectrograph in the WFIRST coronagraph instrument. His interest is in exoplanet science and developing instrumentation to directly image and characterize these systems. His work focuses on focal plane wavefront sensing and control, coronagraph instrument design, and integral field spectroscopy for ground and space telescopes. Prior to working at GSFC, Dr. Groff was the laboratory manager of the Princeton High Contrast Imaging Laboratory where he lead the design, construction, and commissioning of the CHARIS integral field spectrograph for the Subaru telescope.


Scott Guzewich

Scott Guzewich

Scott Guzewich studies the interaction of atmospheric dynamics, aerosols, and clouds in the atmospheres of terrestrial planets. He uses both spacecraft observations and general circulation modeling to study this interaction.


Wade Henning

Wade Henning

Dr. Wade Henning is a scientist in the Planetary Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Laboratory (NASA Code 698) and the Univ. of Maryland Dept. of Astronomy, studying the internal thermal evolution of terrestrial-sized exoplanets. Dr. Henning’s research focuses on the physics of tidal heating in situations where the magnitude of tidal dissipation is sufficient to induce large-scale melting of major layers. Within our own Solar System, examples of this phenomenon include the subsurface water ocean of Europa, and a possible subsurface magma ocean on Io.

Counterintuitively, the production of a tidal magma ocean on an Earth-sized exoplanet, through feedback upon orbital damping rates, can actually help to save Earths from orbital scattering, so that they might survive into later more temperate eras. For ice-silicate hybrid worlds analogous to Europa or Enceladus, quantifying melting is one key to understanding the hidden contribution of subsurface water to the habitable volume of the galaxy, especially in environments devoid of solar heating such as our own outer Solar System, or even the realm of Nomad planets between stars. Dr. Henning also studies extrasolar planet volcanism, how volcanic styles vary between diverse planetary compositions, and pathways to observe extrasolar volcanism with upcoming telescope facilities.


Tilak Hewagama

Tilak Hewagama

Dr. Tilak Hewagama is a University of Maryland researcher working in the Planetary Systems Laboratory (693). Research areas include composition, dynamics, and thermal structure of solar system planets, including Earth, solar physics, molecular spectroscopy, and exoplanets. He is also involved in developing UV/Visible/IR spectroscopy and radiometry instruments for remote sensing, and SmallSat/CubeSat missions for solar system exploration.


Brian Hicks

Brian Hicks

Dr. Brian Hicks is an instrument scientists leading and supporting multiple coronagraphic R&D projects. He has contributed to and led efforts to design, build, test and fly a high-resolution broadband visible coronagraphic instrument exoplanet direct imaging mission and a wide field multiband ultraviolet extragalactic imaging mission, as well as the development of a dual band infrared lidar for quantitative and comparative ground vegetation and canopy biomass measurements. His work focuses on interferometric nulling, including pupil and focal plane wavefront sensing and control, coronagraph instrument design to enable exoplanet detection study via, e.g., integral field spectroscopy using future large segmented aperture space telescopes, as well as other coronagraphic techniques, calculating the sensitivity of various direct imaging platforms and simulating the signals expected from the planetary systems they will access. Dr. Hicks works to innovate new high-contrast imaging technologies from the component to the system level, leveraging over a decade of experience in experimental work spanning monolithic optics, photon-counting detectors, fibers, spatial filters, phase and polarization optics.


Terry Hurford

Terry Hurford

Dr. Terry Hurford is a planetary research scientist in the Planetary Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. His research focuses on the tidal dynamics of satellites and exoplanets. Many of the worlds in our solar system and beyond experience tidal heating as gravity from their primaries repeatedly flex them. Tidal flexure also drives surface stresses and can form fractures on their surfaces.


Ralph Kahn

Ralph Kahn

Ralph Kahn is a Civil Servant and Senior Research Scientist at NASA GSFC, as well as an Aerosol Scientist for the NASA Earth Observing System's Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer(MISR) instrument (http://www-misr.jpl.nasa.gov). Kahn's work focuses on using MISR's unique observations, combined with other data and numerical models, to learn about wildfire smoke, desert dust, volcanic effluent, and air pollution particles, and to apply the results to regional and global climate-change questions. Recent work includes an analysis of the aerosol amount and type information required to determine ocean surface properties from space-based remote sensing [Kahn et al., JAOT 2016], a study of the aerosol type information content of the MISR retrievals [Kahn and Gaitley, 2015], and detailed investigations of wildfire smoke plumes [Val Martin et al., JGR 2012; Petrenko et al. JGR 2012], volcanic plumes [Kahn and Limbacher ACP 2012], and air quality [Patadia et al., JGR 2012; Van Donkelaar et al., Env. Sci. Tech. 2016]. His early work includes studies of the atmosphere and climate of Mars. Kahn is also editor and founder of PUMAS (Practical Uses of Math And Science), the on-line journal of science and math examples for pre-college education (http://pumas.nasa.gov).


George Khazanov

George Khazanov

Dr. George Khazanov is the member of the Geospace Physics Laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center. Prior to joining NASA,in 2001, Khazanov was a Full Tenured Professor of Physics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The Geospace Physics Laboratory conducts experimental and theoretical research to support the scientific activities of the NASA/GSFC. The principal objective of Dr. Khazanov is to develop an understanding of the physical processes that control the geospace plasma environment and its interaction with both natural and man-made bodies in space. Dr. Khazanov was the Dean of the College of Physics, and the Theoretical Physics Department Chair at Altai State University, Russia; Chief of the Ionospheric Plasma Physics Laboratory at Irkutsk State University, Russia. He supervised and directed more than 30 M.S. and 15 Ph.D. graduates. Dr. Khazanov is the author or coauthor of 6 books and more than 300 peer reviewed publications. His the most recent book titled “Kinetic Theory of Inner Magnetospheric Plasma”, has been published by Springer in 2011.


Nancy Kiang

Nancy Kiang

Nancy is a terrestrial ecosystem scientist/biometeorologist at NASA GISS (611) who studies how photosynthesis can create remotely detectable biosignatures. As part of SEEC, she is using the GISS ROCKE3D GCM to investigate how the climate variation over rocky exoplanets affects the distribution of soil moisture on land, hence the habitable area to support detectable biomass density and distribution of surface life. She is the lead developer of a dynamic global vegetation model coupled to the GISS GCM, for exploring Earth’s carbon cycle and utilization of remotely sensed data to constrain vegetation-climate interactions. In addition, she conducts research on far-red/near-infrared oxygenic photosynthetic organisms as model organisms for this life process adapted to other kinds of stars, investigating their natural and theoretical long wavelength limits.


Erika Kohler

Erika Kohler

Dr. Erika Kohler is a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow in the Solar System Exploration Division (Code 690) where she investigates the chemical and spectral properties of exoplanetary atmospheres, with a focus on metal cloud formation. Her previous research involved investigating mineral stability under Venusian conditions, exploring the possibility of metal condensates at low altitudes and Earth climate studies. Her primary expertise is material science, and simulating hot atmospheres in the lab. Erika has recently served on committees focusing on Space Weather and Venus exploration.


Ravi Kopparapu

Ravi Kopparapu

Ravi Kopparapu is an Assistant Research Scientist through a partnership with University of Maryland and NASA GSFC. He is currently working on (1) defining physically motivated boundaries around stars where different kinds of exoplanets can exist, and calculating occurrence rates from Kepler data based on these limits, which in turn can be used to estimate exoplanet yields for direct imaging missions, (2) Using GCMs to calculate habitable zones around M & K-dwarf stars, which are the primary target stars for upcoming missions such as TESS and JWST. Visit his website here: http://www3.geosc.psu.edu/~ruk15/index.shtml


Veselin Kostov

Veselin Kostov

Veselin is a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow in the Astrophysics Division. His research focus is on the detection and characterization of planets with two suns, with the goal of understanding how these planets form, evolve, and survive the evolution of their host binaries. Veselin has led the discovery of a third of the known transiting circumbinary planets and also works on direct-detection of extrasolar planets.


Marc Kuchner

Marc Kuchner

Astrophysicist Marc Kuchner is known for work on images and imaging of disks and exoplanets. Together with Wesley Traub, he invented the band-limited coronagraph, a design to be used on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). He is also known for his novel supercomputer models of planet-disk interactions and for developing the ideas of ocean planets, Carbon planets, and


Tim Livengood

Tim Livengood

Tim Livengood measures the composition, temperature, and wind velocity in planetary atmospheres, using ground- and space-based techniques. Most recently, he has been using the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to investigate where water may be hidden on the Moon, and high resolution infrared spectroscopy to measure isotope ratios in carbon dioxide on Venus and Mars to investigate atmospheric evolution. He was a co-investigator of NASA’s EPOXI mission, for which he was the education and public outreach team leader on the EPOCh component (Extrasolar Planets Observation and Characterization). Tim was King of the Earth for EPOXI, developing and leading the effort to observe Earth and Mars as exoplanet analogs. There are tons of EPOXI exoplanet-analog data waiting to be worked on.


Eric Lopez

Eric Lopez

Dr. Eric Lopez’s research focuses on modelling the structure and evolution of exoplanets and on connecting those models to observations both for well-studied individual exoplanets and with planet population statistics. Together with Elisa Quintana, he is leading the Exoplanet Evolution and Demographics sub-group within the EEG. In particular, Eric focuses on modelling compositions and evolution of hot low-mass transiting planets found by Kepler and K2, especially through atmospheric escape due to ionizing radiation. His work has shown that the current population of hot Neptunes and super-Earths has likely been heavily sculpted by atmospheric photo-evaporation and that this has important implications for estimates of eta-Earth. Eric’s current work focuses both on making predictions for the mass-radius-period exoplanet distribution that will be uncovered by TESS and on using archival Kepler and K2 data to constrain the formation of these new planet populations. In addition, he is heavily involved in efforts to identify targets for follow-up with RVs and HST to test the predictions of planet formation and evolution models.


Avi Mandell

Avi Mandell

Dr. Avi Mandell is a scientist in the Planetary Systems Laboratory (693); his research focuses on the characterization of extrasolar planets and the formation and evolution of planetary systems, with the specific goal of understanding factors that determine whether a planetary system can form habitable planets and what the characteristics of these planets will be. He is the deputy group lead for the Exoplanet Environments Group at GSFC, he serves as the Principal Investigator for the prototype integral field spectrograph for the WFIRST exoplanet coronograph, and he leads the Science Support and Analysis Team for the LUVOIR Science and Technology Definition Team.


Michael McElwain

Michael McElwain

Michael McElwain is an exoplanet scientist and instrumentalist in Code 667 at NASA Goddard. His current research focuses on the discovery and characterization of exoplanets and circumstellar disks with both direct imaging and radial velocity techniques. Michael is the JWST Observatory Project Scientist, where he works alongside engineers to ensure the as-built Observatory meets requirements. Recently, Michael led an integrated modeling and coronagraph evaluation to determine the effects of thermal distortion on high contrast imaging performance. Michael is also the NEID radial velocity spectrograph Goddard institutional PI and the instrument scientist for the WFIRST Coronagraph IFS.

In 2011, Michael McElwain and Michael Way hatched the idea to create a Goddard-GISS partnership that would extend existing global circulation models to exoplanets. After years of development, this idea has grown into the permanent interdisciplinary SEEC group.


Conor Nixon

Conor Nixon

Conor Nixon is a Civil Servant and planetary scientist in the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA GSFC. He works to understand the composition and climates of planetary atmospheres. Much of his research has been focused on remote sensing of atmospheres of the outer planets and satellites - including Jupiter, Saturn and Titan - using infrared spectroscopy from missions such as Galileo and Cassini. Nixon comments s".Through infrared spectroscopy, we can see the unique 'fingerprints' - infrared light emissions - of different molecules in the atmosphere. This allows us to map where these molecules are found in the atmosphere, to make inferences about what chemistry and weather is occurring, and see how they are responding to changes in the atmosphere including the seasonal cycle. We can also use the same technique to get information about the origin of the atmosphere, ultimately informing us about formation of our solar system - and perhaps also about the processes occurring in exoplanet systems."


Luke Oman

Luke Oman

Luke Oman is a Civil Servant and Research Physical Scientist at NASA GSFC. His work as part of the ECG focuses on using 3-D Chemistry Climate Models of Earth’s Atmosphere to understanding how variations in a planet’s eccentricity impacts its habitability through potential climate and ozone distribution changes. In addition, he applies his work on understanding changes in the Earth system under extremely large aerosol loadings to exoplanetary atmospheres.


Aki Roberge

Aki Roberge

Dr. Roberge researches the gas content of young planetary systems that are in the terrestrial planet forming phase, trying to understand the composition of the planetary building blocks. A video she narrated explaining the discovery of carbon monoxide gas clumps in an important young planetary system can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi_Pv2S8GgY&feature=youtu.be. She is also the Study Scientist for the Large UV/Optical/Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR) Decadal Mission Study. LUVOIR is a concept for a future space telescope with the primary goal of detailed investigation of a wide range of exoplanets, including those that might be habitable - or even inhabited. LUVOIR would also enable great leaps forward in a broad range of astrophysics and planetary science, from the epoch of reionization, through galaxy formation and evolution, to star and planet formation, and Solar System remote sensing.


Paul Romani

Paul Romani

Dr. Paul Romani is a scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center in the Planetary Systems Laboratory. His interests include atmospheric photochemical modeling, the chemical origin and evolution of planetary atmospheres, photochemical production of hazes, and cloud physics.


Prabal Saxena

Prabal Saxena

Dr. Saxena has been working on a number of projects in planetary science and exoplanets. One of his central projects in planetary science is an examination of the nature and likelihood of an atmosphere on the moon immediately after its formation, and how that atmosphere may have affected the moon's evolution. He is also working on multiple projects related to the nature of the bulk shape and tenuous atmospheres of close-in solid exoplanets. These projects are focused on the observability of these features and what they can tell us about the nature of these worlds' atmospheres, surfaces and interiors.


Joshua Schlieder

Joshua Schlieder

Dr. Schlieder is a support scientist in the TESS Guest Investigator Program team at NASA Goddard. Josh's research focuses on low-mass stars near the Sun and the planets they host. These stars, the M dwarfs, comprise about 75% of the Galactic stellar content and provide unique opportunities for planet detection via the four primary planet detection methods: transit, radial velocity, microlensing, and direct imaging. Josh identifies M dwarf targets for planet searches, develops target lists, and pursues observations to identify, confirm, and characterize planets. He specializes in the spectroscopic characterization of exoplanet host stars to better understand their planets. His most recent work involves transiting planets from NASA's K2 mission and preparation for direct planet imaging with the James Webb Space Telescope. Josh plans to continue M dwarf planet research with K2 and the JWST and expand his work using data from TESS.


Jeremy Schnittman

Jeremy Schnittman

Jeremy joined the Astrophysics Science Division as a civil servant in 2010, coming all the way from Baltimore, MD, where he spent three years as a Chandra postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University. His research interests include theoretical and computational modeling of black hole accretion flows, X-ray polarimetry, black hole binaries, gravitational wave sources, gravitational microlensing, planetary dynamics, resonance dynamics, and exoplanet atmospheres. He has been described as a "general-purpose astrophysics theorist," which he regards as quite a compliment. Jeremy works closely with members of the X-ray Astrophysics and Gravitational Astrophysics Labs on the GEMS and LISA/SGO missions, and his office is conveniently located between them.


Linda Sohl

Linda Sohl

Linda is a geologist and paleoclimatologist at Columbia University and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Her research focuses on using NASA’s global climate model to expand upon our knowledge of past habitable phases of Earth and Mars as inferred from the geologic record. She is especially interested in understanding the climate processes of extreme cold environments like “Snowball Earth,” identifying the impacts of those conditions on the evolution and distribution of more complex life, and figuring out what all that might mean for the existence of life on worlds on the outer edge of their star’s habitable zone.


Melissa Trainer

Melissa Trainer

Dr. Trainer studies the composition of planetary atmospheres and the production of organic organic molecules and aerosols via atmospheric synthesis. Her laboratory work has focused on the characterization of Titan and early Earth aerosol analogs to better understand their influence on prebiotic chemistry, climate, and habitability. Dr. Trainer also works with ongoing NASA missions and future mission concepts to support compositional measurements of the atmospheres and environments throughout our solar system. http://science.gsfc.nasa.gov/sed/bio/melissa.trainer


Kostas Tsigaridis

Kostas Tsigaridis

My research interests aim in understanding the role aerosols play in the Earth system, by studying the interactions and feedbacks between the atmosphere, the terrestrial biosphere, the ocean, and climate.

I am currently working on a variety of topics related to aerosol research and their sources, sinks, and interactions with climate at various levels of complexity. My studies range from detailed aerosol processes such as the formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOA), to centennial time scale climate variability related to natural variability and external forcings. While my main expertise is organic aerosols, I am also experienced in working with all other aerosol types as well as tropospheric gas-phase and heterogeneous chemistry. I have extensively used both box models that I developed, and 3-dimensional global models: the TM3 chemistry/transport model, the IPSL general circulation model LMDz-INCA, and the GISS modelE Earth System Model (ESM), for which I had contributed to the IPCC AR5 model development. Currently I am working with the next generation of the NASA GISS ESM, the GISS ModelE2, which is part of CMIP5.


Geronimo Villanueva

Geronimo Villanueva

Geronimo specializes in molecular spectroscopy and radiative transfer modeling in planetary atmospheres. He is the leader for Mars studies for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and scientist for the ExoMars 2016 mission. He also serves as Science and Management advisor to several observatories, including Keck, NASA-IRTF and ALMA. His foundational work on small bodies led the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to name asteroid '9724' after Dr. Villanueva, while the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in 2015 honored him with the Urey Prize (young planetary scientist of the year).


Hannah Wakerford

Hannah Wakeford

Hannah uses the Hubble Space Telescope to make spectroscopic observations of exoplanet atmospheres, through this work Hannah also produces models to interpret the impact of condensation and clouds in exoplanet atmospheres in preparation for future studies with JWST. Hannah.s work is also focused on developing and applying detailed analysis techniques to space-based observations to improve observational strategy and efficiency for future missions. www.stellarplanet.co.uk


Michael Way

Michael Way

Michael Way is an Information Technology Specialist and Astrophysicist at NASA GISS. Currently his main focus is on simulating planetary atmospheres of terrestrial worlds; in particular early Earth during the Archean, early wet Mars, and early Venus. These have been made possible by expanding the capabilities the 3-D General Circulation model at GISS, which has traditionally been used for Earth Climate studies. Michael is a collaborator in beginning to simulate the most Earth-like exoplanet systems found, and has been probing the inner edge of the habitable zone for slowly rotating Earth-like worlds.


no photo available

Neil Zimmerman

Dr. Zimmerman is a scientist in Goddard’s Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory (Code 667) specializing in exoplanet imaging. His research spans investigations of nearby stars and their planetary systems, and technologies for new instruments. He is a member of the project science team of NASA’s WFIRST mission, contributing to the Coronagraph Instrument and its integral field spectrograph. He also works on coronagraph design studies and data simulations for future mission concepts like the Large UV-Optical-Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR).


NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration