Victoria S. Meadows - (Chair)
VICTORIA S. MEADOWS is a professor of astronomy at the University of Washington in the Department of Astronomy. There, she is also director of the Astrobiology Program and principal investigator for the NASA Virtual Planetary Laboratory. Her research interests include theoretical modeling of terrestrial planetary environments to understand their habitability, the generation and detectability of exoplanetary biosignatures and their false positives, and solar system planetary observations. The overarching goal of her research is to determine how to recognize whether a distant extrasolar planet can or does support life. Previously, Meadows was a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an associate research scientist at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology. She is a recipient of several NASA Group Achievement Awards, has been on the SETI Institute Science Advisory Board, and was a Frontiers of Science Kavli Fellow. She earned her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Sydney. Meadows served on the National Academies Committee on Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe, and the Committee on Exoplanet Science Strategy, as well as the Searching for Life Across Space and Time: A Workshop committee.
DAVID A. BRAIN is an associate chair for undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado (CU). He is also associate professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. At CU, Brain is a co-deputy principal investigator of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft mission at Mars, and project scientist and advisor for the United Arab Emirates Hope spacecraft mission to Mars. His research interests include atmospheric escape and long term evolution of planetary atmospheres; planetary magnetospheres and plasma interactions; and the influence of planetary magnetic fields on climate evolution and habitability. Previously, Brain was a research physicist at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California Berkeley. He is a recipient of the NASA Early Career Fellowship in planetary sciences. He earned his Ph.D. in astrophysical and planetary sciences from the University of Colorado. He has not previously served on an Academies’ Committee.
Ian J. Crossfield
IAN J. M. CROSSFIELD is assistant professor of astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Department of Physics. At MIT, Crossfield has led the discovery and characterization of new exoplanets discovered by NASA's TESS and Kepler/K2 missions. In this effort he leads a number of large observational programs with the Hubble Space Telescope (transmission spectroscopy), Spitzer Space Telescope (transit and secondary eclipse photometry), 10m Keck Observatory (precise radial velocities), and 8.2m Gemini Observatory (diffraction-limited adaptive optics and speckle imaging). His research interests focus on the characterization of exoplanet atmospheres to test models of planet formation and of atmospheric chemistry, thermal structure, and general circulation. Previously, Dr. Crossfield was a NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Santa Cruz in the Department of Astronomy and at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Lab, and a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. He also was a systems engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for three years, after which he earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has previously served on an Academies’ committee.
COURTNEY D. DRESSING is an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Astronomy. Dressing is an observational astronomer focused on detecting and characterizing planetary systems. She conducts both statistical investigations of the ensemble of known planetary systems and in-depth studies of individual systems. Her research group uses telescopes on the ground and in space to search for planets, determine their orbital parameters, measure their masses, and constrain their bulk compositions. She is curious about planet formation and evolution, the frequency of planetary systems in the Galaxy, and the prospects for detecting life on planets outside of our Solar System. Previously, Dressing was a NASA Sagan Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. She was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship in 2019 for becoming “a world leader in the search for other worlds.” Dressing earned a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from Harvard University. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Jonathan J. Fortney
JONATHAN J. FORTNEY is the director of the Other World Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is also professor of astronomy and astrophysics. Prior to joining UC Santa Cruz, Fortney was a Spitzer Fellow with NASA Ames Research Center and a principal investigator at the SETI Institute. He also held a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Research Council at NASA Ames Research Center. Fortney’s research interests include the interiors and atmospheres of planets in and out of the solar system, atmospheres and spectra of rocky and gas giant exoplanets, super Earth and giant planet thermal evolution, planetary interiors, exoplanet characterization through transit photometry and direct imaging, and the formation of giant planets. He has received numerous fellowships and awards including the Urey Prize in the Division of Planetary Sciences with the American Astronomical Society, the 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the NASA Early Career Fellowship in Planetary Sciences, and as a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow. Fortney received his Ph.D. in planetary science from the University of Arizona. He has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.