Who's Who? Who's New?

Helen Hill for EAPS News
Thursday, February 1, 2018

A warm EAPS welcome to incoming postdocs Thomas William Evans, Hongjian Fang, Claire Nichols, and Jodie Ream.

Thomas William Evans joins the Summons Group as a postdoc having defended his doctoral dissertation "Tracing the effect of nutrient and carbon supply on the biosynthesis and composition of lipids from marine microbes” in November 2017.

Evans is an organic geochemist interested in microbial communities and more specifically the physiologic protection mechanisms of marine Archaea that allow them to thrive in, for example, energy limited marine environments.

Over the course of his PhD, Evans was involved in the set-up of a new radioisotope laboratory, subsequently going on to perform 14C incubation experiments with cultured isolates, water column and sediment samples to investigate carbon utilization, metabolic rates and lipid biosynthesis of planktonic and benthic Archaea. As part of his PhD research, he also developed a number of novel analytical methods to detect the 14C-incorporation on a lipid specific level.

Evans comes to EAPS from the organic geochemistry group at the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM), University of Bremen, Germany, where his PhD advisor was Prof. Kai-Uwe Hinrichs.


Hongjian Fang is a postdoc working with Robert van der Hilst. His interests lie in the area of regional and global scale seismic tomography. In particular his work is focused on developing more advanced methods, and incorporating more data types to better resolve Earth structure, in order to achieve a clearer understanding of geological processes taking place in Earth’s deep interior. Other interests include rupture dynamics of large earthquakes and tectonic tremor.

Fang joins EAPS from the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences USTC ( the University of Science and Technology of China,) in Hefei, where he studied for his PhD. He holds a Bachelor in Applied Geophysics (2012) from Jilin University, China.

Find him on ResearchGate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hongjian_Fang


Claire Nichols joins the Weiss Group as a Simons Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow.

Nichols' interests lie in seeking to understand the magnetic field signals recorded by meteorites, lunar samples and early Earth materials. As she explains, "Planets can generate magnetic fields by vigorous convection of their molten, metallic cores. The mechanisms driving this convection, and the timescales over which planets are able to sustain an active magnetic field vary significantly for planets and asteroids within our solar system. Understanding the generation of these magnetic fields is essential for constraining the properties of the core, such as its thermal and electrical conductivity. Magnetic field signals can also be used to constrain the thermal evolution of a planet, including the time of differentiation and the onset of core solidification. The development of a stable planetary atmosphere may also be controlled by the presence of a planetary magnetic field, with significant implications for habitability."

Nichols research combine a variety of experimental methods, including superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometry and synchrotron X-ray photoemission electron microscopy (X-PEEM) to extract information about the intensity and direction of ancient magnetic fields. She also characterises the fundamental properties of magnetic carriers using electron microscopy methods, such as including electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) in addition to micromagnetic simulations.

Nichols, received an 2017 AGU Fall Meeting OSPA for her presentation GP23B-0923: Magnetic and microstructural characterisation of FeNi: Insight into the formation and impact history of the IAB parent body. She holds a BA in Natural Sciences, and an MSci and PhD in EArh Sciences, all fromthe University of Cambridge University in the UK.


Jodie Ream is a Space Physicist specializing in magnetospheric physics and plasma waves. She joins the Weiss Lab this month as a research scientist under aegis of the Psyche Discovery Mission https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/psyche/

Ream completed her Doctorate in Space Physics (http://www.igpp.ucla.edu/public/rwalker/Jodie/JBR_Thesis_v4.pdf) at the University of California in 2015 where her research focused on analyzing magnetic pulsations, designated as Pi2 pulsations, observed on the ground concurrently with the onset of auroral substorms. In that work she used the results from simulations of the earth’s magnetosphere to determine the magnetospheric source for those pulsations.

After completing her degree, Ream taught physics and astronomy classes at Utah Valley University while continuing her magnetospheric research. In particular, she has been investigating the prospects of enhancing the capabilities of global magnetospheric magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations by incorporating a more realistic, physics-based, ionospheric boundary, in order to investigate the environment surrounding Earth from the ground up.

Find her on ResearchGate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jodie_Ream


Welcome too to Ms. Alma Pellecer who joins the EAPS staff to provide administrative assistance to faculty and investigators: Christopher Carr, Richard Lindzen, Brent Minchew, Jason Soderblom, and Maria Zuber (research only.) Ms. Pellecer has spent the past three years as an Administrative Assistant II at MIT's Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism in the Media Lab. She holds a Bachelor’s degree on Commercial Sciences from Guatemala City, Guatemala and a Master’s Degree on Management and Public Relations from Emerson College, Boston, MA. A lover of "life, learning, and the outdoors," away from the office, Pellecer says she enjoys travel, dancing, singing, exercising, and spending time with family, and friends.


Researchers who left in Jan 2018:

Langley DeWitt (CGCS)

Postdocs who left Jan 2018:

David Talmy (Follows Group)
Kristin Woycheese (Ono Group)
Erik Larson (Solomon Group)

Transitioning to Lecturer:

Alejandra Quintanilla-Terminel