AstroTech Instructors & Staff
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AstroTech Co-Principal Investigator and Lead Instructor
Jessica Lu is an Associate Professor of Astronomy at University of California Berkeley. Her specialty areas include Adaptive optics (AO), Astrometry, Black holes, Stars, Galactic Centers, Optical/infrared instrumentation. Prof. Lu works on several instrumentation teams that aim to improve AO and astrometry from the ground and space, including the W.M. Keck AO system, the Thirty Meter Telescope IRIS instrument, the ‘imaka project, and the Roman Space Telescope astrometry group. She is the Project Scientist for the Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) instrument.
AstroTech Co-Principal Investigator and Instructor
Lisa Hunter is the Director of the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators (ISEE) at University of California Santa Cruz. She has been collaborating with the telescopes and the astronomy community for 20 years to offer programs aimed at the undergraduate to professional levels. Her work has focused on equity and inclusion, development of professional skills, and effective teaching and mentoring.
Candice Brown Pacheco, Ph.D.
AstroTech Program Manager, ISEE Assistant Director
Candice is the Assistant Director of ISEE. Candice began her work with ISEE as a consultant for the Center for Adaptive Optics(CfAO) education division. She was an early developer (2002) of the ISEE Professional Development Program (PDP) and continues to work with ISEE to sustain programs like the PDP. Candice works on the development and implementation of other ISEE programs like AstroTech and, more recently, an ISEE Leadership Institute.
AstroTech Instructor & Program Manager
Dr. Alicia Lanz is a physicist and systems engineer. Recently, Alicia built astronomical instrumentation for studying the evolution of galaxies and the process of reionization of the universe. Alicia received in her PhD in Physics from Caltech in 2018, where she built an infrared telescope aboard a sounding rocket (called “CIBER-2”) to improve our understanding of the process of reionization, when the first stars ionized the gas that filled the universe and allowed light to travel freely. At Carnegie Observatories, Alicia designed a fast near-infrared camera for Magellan Infrared Multi-object Spectrograph (MIRMOS) and completed the objective optics for the fifth Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V) Local Volume Mapper (LVM) instrument, which performs the SDSS-V integral-field spectroscopic survey of the Milky Way and Local Group of galaxies. Prior to graduate school, Alicia worked as a systems engineer in industry for five years and spent one year as a technical advisor in the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy, where she became interested in the physics of climate change.
Matthew is a UCB Postdoc working on the KAPA project: an upgrade to the Adaptive Optics system on the Keck I telescope. His work focuses on improving the instrumental calibration: calculating the astrometric distortion, installing the Precision Calibration Unit, and developing software to operate it. He has previously worked on radio surveys of molecular clouds, gravitational microlensing, and Antarctic astronomy.
Alan Garner is a Research Scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. His current research focuses on using multilayer mirrors and critical-angle transmission gratings in support of the REDSoX sounding rocket. He earned his PhD in 2018 at the University of Florida where he helped design, fabricate, test, and operate two near-IR instruments for the Gran Telescopio Canarias.
Abhimat Gautam is a Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Los Angeles. Abhimat’s research focuses on understanding the stellar population and dynamical environment of the Milky Way Galactic center, particularly with the aide of stellar binaries. He also works on improving precision stellar astrometry and photometry extracted from adaptive optics images of the Galactic center.
Renate Kupke is an instrument scientist with the University of California Observatories, UC Santa Cruz. Her research involves development of advanced instrumentation techniques for use in astronomical instruments, including adaptive optics with the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics at UCSC. She has also been involved in the optical design and commissioning of scientific instruments for the Lick 3-meter telescope, the Keck telescopes and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).
Sarah Logsdon is an Associate Scientist at NSF’s NOIRLab in Tucson, Arizona. She is also the Instrument Scientist for NEID, an extreme precision radial velocity spectrograph designed to detect and characterize exoplanets and exoplanet candidates. Prior to moving to Tucson, Sarah spent two years at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where she developed technologies, error budgets, and test plans for the NEID Port Adapter subsystem. The Port Adapter is responsible for sending star light from the telescope to the spectrograph. Sarah earned her PhD in Astronomy at UCLA where she served as the UCLA Instrument Scientist for FLITECAM, a near-infrared imager and grim spectrograph for SOFIA.
Dr. Raquel Martinez is an NSF-MPS Ascend Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Irvine with research interests in the discovery, characterization, and formation history of exoplanets. She is also a member of the science team for SCALES (Slicer Combined with an Array of Lenslets for Exoplanet Spectroscopy). Dr. Martinez obtained her Ph.D. from the Department of Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin in 2021. Her broader educational interests include making classrooms, research
projects, and academic environments equitable and inclusive for students.
Anne Metevier is an astronomer-educator at the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators (ISEE), and her role with AstroTech is to support both instructors and participants in the program. Anne also teaches astronomy and physics at Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College, and her astrophysics research has focused on galaxy evolution.
Jean-Baptiste Ruffio is a research scientist at UC San Diego. His research interests include the direct detection of exoplanets and the study of their atmospheres to better understand the formation of planetary systems. Jean-Baptiste’s original background is aerospace engineering from France. He graduated from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in Physics and he was then awarded a David & Ellen Lee Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to develop high-resolution spectroscopy techniques for exoplanets. His expertise includes data analysis, statistics, and instrumentation data software.
Dr. R. Deno Stelter is a postdoc at UCSC where he works as the instrument scientist for SCALES (Slicer Combined with an Array of Lenslets for Exoplanet Spectroscopy). SCALES, an AO high-contrast integral field spectrograph, is currently in its Final Design phase.
Dr. Stelter was trained in the arts of advanced image slicer design and cryo-opto-mechanical engineering while in graduate school, and is passionate about astronomical instrumentation, regardless of whether or not slicers are involved.
Shelley Wright is a Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics at University of California San Diego. Shelley’s research focuses on developing innovative astronomical instrumentation and observations using some of the world’s largest optical telescopes. Shelley specializes in building near-infrared cameras and spectrographs, and studying distant galaxies, supermassive black holes, and technosignatures. Shelley is Principal Investigator (PI) for Liger a next-generation W. M. Keck Observatory instrument, Project Scientist for the first-light instrument IRIS for the future Thirty Meter Telescope, and PI of optical SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) instrumentation programs like NIROSETI and PANOSETI.
AstroTech Program and Events Coordinator
Brandye Johnson is one of AstroTech’s Program and Events Coordinators. She is also the Department Coordinator for the Astronomy department at the University of California Berkeley.
ISEE Program & Events Coordinator
Nicole coordinates all events big and small that support the programmatic goals of ISEE, which includes AstroTech. She arranges all travel, meals, and facilities for AstroTech, and can answer questions at any point from application to arrival in Berkeley about logistics. Nicole is a good first point of contact for AstroTech, and will connect participants with the right person to address their needs.
Previous AstroTech Instructors
AstroTech Instructor 2022
Emily Martin is an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Santa Cruz. She combines instrumentation and observations to answer scientific questions about planets and brown dwarfs. Emily is the PI of the PEAS instrument for Lick Observatory and she served as the Instrument Scientist for the NIRSPEC Upgrade for the Keck II Telescope. Her instrumentation expertise is in optical and infrared instrumentation, including optics, mechanics, and detectors.
Individuals with questions about AstroTech should contact AstroTech program staff – email@example.com
AstroTech is funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation and by the National Science Foundation through the Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) project (AST #1836016).