Who's Who? Who's New?

Helen Hill for EAPS News
September 1, 2017

A warm EAPS welcome to all the new members who joined the department over the summer.

Incoming postdocs include Noelle Bryan, Jason Dittmann, Eric Deal, Nick Lutsko, and Sukrit Ranjan.

Noelle Bryan joins EAPS from the Department of Biological Sciences at Louisianna State University, Baton Rouge, where she recently defended her PhD exploring microbial distributions and survival characterisitics in the troposphere and stratosphere as part of MARSLIFE (Modes of Adaptation, Resistance, and Survival for Life Inhabiting a Freeze-dried-radiation-bathed Environment) a multi institutional project seeking to quantify atmospheric bioaerosols to an altitude of 36 km in order to determine the modes of resistance microbes have acquired to withstand desiccation, high ultraviolet radiation and low pressure. Bryan who is based at the Massachusetts General Hospital will be working with Maria Zuber and Christopher Carr.

Jason Dittmann, is an inaugural Heising Simons Foundations 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellow. His thesis work (with Prof David Charbonneau at Harvard) was a part of the MEarth project, a planet hunting facilitywith telescopes in Arizona and Chile designed to monitor nearby low-mass M dwarfs for transiting planets. In current research he focuses on small and cool stars, which are the most abundant type in the Milky Way Galaxy often viewed as the best targets when searching for habitable exoplanets. He uses measurements applying multiple viewpoints to measure the distances to 1600 nearby stars using parallax techniques to accurately determine the physical attributes of these stars and of the planets that may orbit them. Dittmann joins Sara Seager’s Group. 

Eric Deal joins EAPS from the Institut des Sciences de la Terre, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France where his doctoral research (working with Prof Jean Braun in Grenoble) focused on erosional processes in the Himalaya, and how they mediate interactions between climate and tectonics using numerical models for climate, erosion and tectonics. Deal joins Taylor Perron’s Group as a postdoctoral associate.

Nick Lutsko comes to EAPS having completed his PhD at Princeton University, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences program, supervised by Prof Isaac Held. He says the main goal of his research is to improve our understanding of the atmosphere by connecting results from idealized models to the behavior of comprehensive climate models and to the observed behavior of the atmosphere. He is also interested in climate science more generally, including the problem of climate sensitivity, climate model development and evaluation, ocean heat uptake and climate variations on all time-scales. Lutsko joins Timothy Cronin’s Group as a postdoctoral associate.

Sukrit Ranjan is a Simons Foundation Collaboration on the Origins of Life Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow interested in astrobiology, exoplanets, and the origin of life. His research focuses on connecting recent advances in our understanding of the origin of on Earth to the planetary environment. Goals include understanding whether the processes thought to have fueled the origin of life on Earth could have worked under realistic natural conditions on early Earth, and if so, whether they could have helped life start on other worlds as well. Ranjan completed his PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics at Harvard University, where he became the first student to earn a Certificate in Origin of Life studies. He completed his undergraduate work at MIT, where he majored in physics with a minor in astronomy and history. Ranjan joins the Seager Group as a postdoctoral fellow.

Also joining EAPS over the summer was Megan Jordan who replaced retiring Vicki McKenna as the department’s new Academic Program Administrator.

Postdocs who left June/July/August 2017:
 Joern Callies (ferrari Group)
Yosef Cohen (Rothman Group)
Mohammed Dehghan (Follows Group)i
Darren Engwirda (marshall Group)
Keisuke Inomura (Follows Group)
Zabihallah Moradian
Piero Poli (Prieto Group)
Einat Segev (Babbin Group)
David Wang (Summons Group)
Researchers who left June/July/August 2017
Abigail Caron (Senior Research Associate in the Summons and Fournier Group,)
Jin Huang (Research Scientist in the Prinn Group,)
Xiaoleiu Lui (Research Scientists in the Summons Group),
Irit Tal (Senior Research Associate in the McGee Group.)