Meet the Fellows

Whether exploring NASA's missions in planetary science or developing a better understanding of human exploration and space operations, Fellows in the NASA Postdoctoral Program are contributing to national priorities in scientific exploration and fundamental research. 

List of current NPP Fellows   List of former NPP Fellows

Where can an NPP Fellowship take you? Read about current Fellows and NPP alumni or hear how how their fellowship experiences are propelling their careers with NASA and beyond.

  • Zoe Pierrat, Ph.D.

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    Zoe Pierrat, Ph.D., a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says that while there are great models for some aspects of climate and climate change, plants adapt to the changes in their environment making understanding their impact more uncertain.

  • Abhishek Desai, Ph.D.

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    Like just about any kid, Abhishek Desai grew up in India with dreams of becoming an astronaut. While that dream didn't come true, Desai is a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow studying space from Earth. His project at NASA focuses multimessenger and multiwavelength astronomy to explain processes happening inside an Active Galactic Nuclei.

  • Shipra Sinha, Ph.D.

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    Shipra Sinha, Ph.D., is a a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow living in India and conducting research with the Goddard Space Flight Center. Shipra's research focuses on auroras, which occur at both the North and South Poles.

  • James Rogers, Ph.D.

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    James Rogers, Ph.D., is an astrobiologist in the NASA Postdoctoral Program. He studies exoplanets (extra-solar bodies like planets, asteroids, etc.). Rogers says scientists have detected thousands of exoplanets orbiting stars throughout the galaxy. Studying exoplanets and planet formation can help us piece together how our solar system fits into the galaxy and the universe.

  • Kelly Luis, Ph.D.

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    Kelly Luis, Ph.D., is a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Water and Ecosystems Group. A native of Hawaii, Luis studies what the color of water can tell us about the health of aquatic ecosystems.

  • Nicky Fox, Ph.D.

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    Dr. Nicola "Nicky" Fox, is the associate administrator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, which essentially means she is the head of science for NASA. Her directorate is responsible for more than 150 missions that are currently in space or in development.

  • Amanda Lopez, Ph.D.

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    Amanda Lopez is a a first-year postdoc in the NASA Postdoctoral Program, currently at JPL, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Host Michael Holtz had the opportunity to talk to Lopez about her research, her personal stories, and what comes next in her career.

  • Taylor Hutchison, Ph.D.

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    Taylor Hutchison, a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow working on the James Webb Space Telescope, says her research focus is on distant galaxies—some of the first galaxies ever found in the early universe—which give us a view toward understanding the history of the universe.

  • Reinier Janssen, Ph.D.

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    Reinier Janssen is a staff scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Host Michael Holtz had the opportunity to talk to Janssen toward the end of his NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship, where he worked on novel instrumentation based on superconducting detectors.

  • Laura Fackrell, Ph.D.

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    Laura Fackrell is a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow who is looking ahead to the potential for humans living on the moon. Her research focuses on the role of nitrogen in lunar habitats, particularly how nitrogen is affected by plants and microbes in the soil or growth medium.

  • Daniel Watters, Ph.D.

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    Daniel Watters, a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, is a global storm chaser. Fortunately, he can chase storms from the comfort of being behind a computer screen. Watters studies global precipitation using satellites, specifically focused on comparing data between satellites and RADAR systems.

  • Conner Ballew, Ph.D.

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    At the time of this conversation, Conner Ballew was a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His research area is in Meta Optics, which develops new technologies to aid future agency missions. The end goal of his research is to miniaturize optical elements, which reduces size and power requirements for space applications.

  • Claudia Alvarez Carreno, Ph.D.

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    Claudia Alvarez Carreno is a third-year NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow who is a medical doctor by training and then discovered that she really enjoys basic science. Her research at NASA focuses on patterns of ribosomal proteins across all living organisms to help understand past events.

  • Aaron Yung, Ph.D.

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    Aaron Yung, Ph.D., is a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. He's a theorist working on what he calls the "mission of the century," the James Webb Space Telescope team.

  • Alejandro Borlaff, Ph.D.

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    Alejandro Borlaff, Ph.D., recently completed his NASA Postdoctoral Program experience at NASA Ames, and will continue working for NASA on a number of collaborative projects.

  • Erica Barlow, Ph.D.

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    Erica Barlow, Ph.D., is a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow based at Penn State University working at the Laboratory for Agnostic Biosignatures team.

  • Samson Johnson, Ph.D.

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    Samson Johnson, Ph.D., a new NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow who has been in his role for just a few months, is studying exoplanet demographics or how many and where exoplanets are located.

  • Tiffany Lewis, Ph.D.

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    Tiffany Lewis, Ph.D., in her second year as an NPP Fellow, is working at the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory on theoretical modeling of jets ion active galaxies, especially blazars.

  • Rebecca Prescott, Ph.D.

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    Even microorganisms depend on their community to grow, which can help them survive in harsh environments, such as in Hawaiian lava caves or on ancient Mars. That’s among the findings in a study conducted by Rebecca Prescott, Ph.D., a microbial ecologist who studies quorum sensing, which is a complex communication system between microbes that uses chemicals to allow microbial communities to coordinate their activities.

  • Gioia Massa, Ph.D.

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    When Gioia Massa, Ph.D., was 12 years old, she was introduced to space plant production research at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC). With the goal of becoming a project member, she pursued every opportunity to work at KSC, as an intern, project councilor, student investigator and postdoctoral fellow. Ultimately, her journey led to the role of NASA project scientist. 

  • Hyunju Connor, Ph.D.

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    As a graduate of a doctoral program in physics, Hyunju Connor, Ph.D., was interested in an opportunity to collaborate with scientists at a world-renowned research laboratory. Now, as a faculty member at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, she finds herself in daily close proximity to a well-known space physics institute.

  • Rika Anderson, Ph.D.

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    Carleton College faculty member Rika Anderson, Ph.D., researches microbial evolution in hydrothermal vents and the early evolution of microbial metabolisms. Anderson shares the skills and research network she developed as a fellow in the NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) with her students. 
  • David Burtt, Ph.D.

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    David Burtt, Ph.D., is in his second year as a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, studying martian geology using data from the Mars rover at the Goddard Space Flight Center.