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Previous Graduate Students

Our graduate students have done very well and are represented on the faculties and staffs of major research universities and laboratories doing cutting edge research in astronomy & astrophysics

This is an incomplete list that we are updating. If you have graduated from CASS and would like to be included, please contact Dana Johnson.




Azadi, Mojegan

Graduation Year: 2017
Thesis: Multi-Wavelength Analysis of Active Galactic Nuclei and Host Galaxies Properties
Advisor: Alison Coil
Current Position: Postdoc, Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Bardalez Gagliuffi, Daniella

Graduation Year: 2017
Thesis: Spectral Binaries Hold the Key to the True Ultracool Binary Fraction
Advisor: Adam Burgasser
Current Position: Postdoc, AMNH


Matsuda, Frederick

Graduation Year: 2017
Thesis: Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization Science and Optical Design of the Polarbear and Simons Array Experiments
Advisor: Brian Keating/Hans Paar


Patwardhan, Amol

Graduation Year: 2017
Thesis: Neutrinos - The Light, The Dark, and The Vacuum: Various Studies In Neutrino Astrophysics and Beyond-Standard-Model Scenarios In Cosmology
Advisor: George Fuller
Current Position: Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Tian, James

Graduation Year: 2017
Thesis: Neutrino Flavor and Spin Transformations in Astrophysical Environments
Advisor: George Fuller


Chen, Pengfei

Graduation Year: 2016
Thesis: The Effect of Inhomogeneous Helium ll Reionization on the Lylman Alpha Forest
Advisor: Michael Norman


Gustafson, Scott

Graduation Year: 2016
Thesis: Measurements of Primordial Deuterium and Lyman-Alpha Forest Evolution with High-Resolution Quasar Spectroscopy
Advisor: David Tytler


Hemphill, Paul

Graduation Year: 2016
Thesis: The X-ray Spectra of Accreting Pulsars: Studies of Three Sources

Using Empirical and Phenomenological Models

Advisor: Richard Rothschild


Barron, Darcy

Graduation Year: 2015
Thesis: Precision measurements of cosmic microwave background polarization to study cosmic inflation and large scale structure
Advisor: Brian Keating


Grohs, Evan

Graduation Year: 2015
Thesis: Self-Consistent Treatment of Neutrino Physics in Cosmology
Advisor: George Fuller
Current Position: Postdoc, University of Michigan


Hsu, Pei-Chun

Graduation Year: 2015
Thesis: Potential Vorticity Dynamics and Models of Zonal Flow Formation
Advisor: Pat Diamond


Johnson, Nathan

Graduation Year: 2015
Thesis: Lunar Laser-ranging with APOLLO: Nuts and Bolts and Science Results
Advisor: Thomas Murphy
Current Position: Bioinformatics Scientist, Illumina, San Diego


Neeleman, Marcel

Graduation Year: 2015
Thesis: The Physical Conditions of Atomic Gas at High Redshift
Advisor: Alison Coil


Boettger, David

Graduation Year: 2014
Thesis: CMB Polarization Measurements with the POLARBEAR Experiment
Advisor: Hans Paar & Brian Keating


Feng, Chang

Graduation Year: 2014
Thesis: Detecting gravitational lensing from the Cosmic Microwave Background
Advisor: Brian Keating


Chrystal, Colin

Graduation Year: 2014
Thesis: Experimental tests of the theory of poloidal rotation in the DIII-D tokamak
Advisor: Pat Diamond


Kaufman, Jonathan

Graduation Year: 2014
Thesis: Detection of degree-scale B-mode polarization and studying Cosmic Polarization Rotation with the BICEP1 and BICEP2 Telescopes
Advisor: Brian Keating


Mendez, Alexander

Graduation Year: 2014
Thesis: Multi-wavelength population studies of Active Galactic Nuclei and Galaxies using PRIMUS and AEGIS
Advisor: Alison Coil
Current Position: Postdoctoral Researcher, Johns Hopkins University


Misch, Wendell

Graduation Year: 2014
Thesis: Weak Interactions of Hot Nuclei in Stellar Collapse
Advisor: George Fuller


Vlasenko, Alexey

Graduation Year: 2014
Thesis: Quantum Kinetics of Neutrinos in Hot Dense Environments
Advisor: George Fuller


Armstrong, Eve

Graduation Year: 2013
Thesis: Probing the nature of cataclysmic variables via photometric studies on multiple timescales
Advisor: Richard Rothschild
Current Position: Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD


Cieplak, Agnieszka

Graduation Year: 2013
Thesis: Constraining Dark Matter and Dark Energy Models using Astrophysical Surveys
Advisor: Kim Griest
Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brookhaven National Laboratory


Day, Aaron

Graduation Year: 2013
Thesis: An analysis of astrophysics and fundamental physics from the Lyman-alpha forest
Advisor: David Tytler


Lee, Wing Kit

Graduation Year: 2013
Thesis: Spiral Shock and Feathering Instability in Spiral Arms
Advisor: Frank Shu
Current Position: Postdoctoral Scholar, ASIAA


Moyerman, Stephanie

Graduation Year: 2013
Thesis: Sensitive Detection of CMB B-Mode Polarization: Instrumentation and Systematics
Advisor: Brian Keating
Current Position: Intel Corp.


So, Geoffrey

Graduation Year: 2013
Thesis: Direct Numerical Simulation of Cosmological Reionization
Advisor: Michael Norman
Current Position: SDSC Postdoctoral Scholar


Zhao, Lei

Graduation Year: 2013
Thesis: Anomalous electron-ion energy coupling in electron drift wave turbulence
Advisor: Pat Diamond


Cherry, John (JJ)

Graduation Year: 2012
Thesis: Neutrino Flavor Transformation in Core-Collapse Supernovae
Advisor: George Fuller
Current Position: Postdoc, LANL/University of New Mexico


Kosuga, Yusuke

Graduation Year: 2012
Thesis: Macroscopic implications from phase space dynamics of tokamak turbulence: relaxation, transport, and flow generation
Advisor: Pat Diamond


Rivers, Elizabeth

Graduation Year: 2012
Thesis: Exploring the Geometry of Circumnuclear Material in Active Galactic Nuclei through X-ray Spectroscopy
Advisor: Richard Rothschild
Current Position: Postdoctoral Researcher, Caltech


Suchy, Slawomir

Graduation Year: 2012
Thesis: Cyclotron Line and Wind Studies of Galactic High Mass Xray Binaries
Advisor: Richard Rothschild
Current Position: Postdoc, Nuremburg, Germany


Bierman, Evan

Graduation Year: 2011
Thesis: Millimeter-wave Polarimetry Instrumentation and Analysis
Advisor: Brian Keating
Current Position: Sempra Solar Alternative Energy


Miller, Nathan

Graduation Year: 2011
Thesis: Illuminating the Background: Topics in Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization Research
Advisor: Brian Keating
Current Position: Postdoc, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Rafelski, Marc

Graduation Year: 2011
Advisor: Art Wolfe
Current Position: Postdoc, Caltech (through 6/2014);
Postdoc, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (beginning 7/2014)


Whitmore, Jonathan

Graduation Year: 2011
Thesis: The Fine-Structure Constant and Wavelength Calibration
Advisor: Art Wolfe
Current Position: Postdoc, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia


Collins, David

Graduation Year: 2010
Advisor: Michael Norman
Current Position: Postdoc, LANL


McDevitt, Chris

Graduation Year: 2010
Advisor: Pat Diamond
Current Position: Postdoc, LANL


Michelsen, Eric

Graduation Year: 2010
Current Position: teaching /research UCSD


Skory, Stephen

Graduation Year: 2010
Thesis: Investigating a Method of Producing 'Red and Dead' Galaxies
Advisor: Michael Norman
Current Position: Postdoc, CU Boulder


Kishimoto, Chad

Graduation Year: 2009
Advisor: George Fuller
Current Position: (nuclear/particle astro), Postdoc, UCLA


(Smith) Sutterly, Christel

Graduation Year: 2009
Advisor: George Fuller
Current Position: (nuclear/particle astro), Postdoc, Arizona State University


Xu, Hao

Graduation Year: 2009
Advisor: Michael Norman


Jorgenson, Regina

Graduation Year: 2008
Advisor: Art Wolfe
Current Position: Postdoc, Cambridge University, NSF PD Hawaii


Keating, Shane

Graduation Year: 2008
Current Position: (Pat Diamond's former grad student)


Xu, Hao

Graduation Year: 2008
Current Position: LANL


Wang, Zhan-hui

Current Position: (Pat Diamond's former grad student)


Chan, Stanley

Current Position: (Pat Diamond's former grad student)


Amanik, Phil

Graduation Year: 2007
Current Position: Arete Corp


Thomas, Christian

Graduation Year: 2006
Current Position: Associate Professor, Belmont U., Tenn.


Cooke, Jeff

Graduation Year: 2005
Advisor: Art Wolfe
Current Position: Postdoc, Caltech
Postdoc, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia


Jena, Tridivesh

Graduation Year: 2005
Current Position: Zemetis Corp


Siana, Brian

Graduation Year: 2005
Advisor: Harding (Gene) Smith
Current Position: Assistant Professor, UC Riverside


Suzuki, Nao

Graduation Year: 2005
Current Position: Research Position, LBNL


Gurcan, Ozgur

Graduation Year: 2003
Current Position: Permanent CNRS position, Ecole Polytechnique


O’Meara, John

Graduation Year: 2003
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Saint Michaels College, VT


Dalal, N.

Graduation Year: 2002
Current Position: Staff Member, CITA
Asst. Professor, U. Illinois


Holland, Chris

Graduation Year: 2002
Current Position: Permanent staff, General Atomics


Schirato, Richard

Graduation Year: 2002
Current Position: LANL Scientific Staff


Abazajian, Kev

Graduation Year: 2001
Thesis: Neutrino Cosmology and Astrophysics
Current Position: Asst. Professor, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, UC Irvine


Coburn, Wayne

Graduation Year: 2001
Thesis: A study of magnetic fields of accreting x-ray pulsars with the Rossi x-ray timing explorer
Current Position: Sr. Software Engineering, Alexa Internet
Asst. Researcher, UC Berkeley


Fleischer, Jason

Graduation Year: 2001
Current Position: Tenured Assoc Prof, EE Princeton University


Pruet, Jason

Graduation Year: 2001
Current Position: DOE Office of Science


Safizadeh, Neda

Graduation Year: 2001
Thesis: Detection of Extrasolar Planets via Microlensing and Occultation
Current Position: Postgraduate Fellow, UCSD-CASS


Marsden, David

Graduation Year: 1999
Thesis: X-Ray Observations of Soft Gamma-Ray Repeaters
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, UCSD/SIO


Prochaska, Jason X.

Graduation Year: 1998
Thesis: The Physical Properties of Damped Ly-Alpha Systems: A Keck HIRES Investigation
Current Position: Professor, UC Santa Cruz


Burles, Scott

Graduation Year: 1997
Thesis: Measurement of the D/H Ratio in QSO Absorption Systems
Current Position: Associate Prof., MIT


Cardall, Christian Y.

Graduation Year: 1997
Thesis: Limits on Neutrino Mixing Parameters from Nucleosynthesis in the Big Bang and Supernovae
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, State Univ. of New York, Stonybrook


Sarmecanic, James

Graduation Year: 1997
Thesis: Physical and Chemical Properties of Cometary Dust Derived from Modeling of Mid-infrared Imaging Observations
Current Position: Industry


Ford, Lyle

Graduation Year: 1996
Thesis: Spectral Properties of Gamma Ray Bursts Observed by BATSE
Current Position: Asst. Professor Univ. Wisconsin (Eau Claire)


McLaughlin, Gail

Graduation Year: 1996
Thesis: Physics of Massive stars and Supernovae: Weak Interactions and Stability Analysis
Current Position: Associate. Professor, N. Carolina State Univ., Raleigh


Brittnacher, Mitchell

Graduation Year: 1995
Thesis: A Linear Analysis of Tearing Instability in Magnetotail Equilibria
Current Position: Research Scientist, Univ. Washington


Oren, Abraham L.

Graduation Year: 1995
Thesis: Faraday Rotation in Quasar Absorption Systems
Current Position: Industry


Bowman, H. Brian

Graduation Year: 1994
Thesis: A Study of Galactic Structure in X-Rays and Gamma-Rays
Current Position: V. Asst. Professor, Rose-Hulman Inst. of Tech.


Fisher, Brendan

Graduation Year: 1994
Thesis: High Time-resolution Infrared Imaging of Jupiter
Current Position: Staff Member, JPL/CalTech


Moore, David

Graduation Year: 1994
Thesis: Narrow-line Regon Kinematics in Seyfert Nuclei
Current Position: Industry


Piña, Robert L.

Graduation Year: 1994
Thesis: An Array Camera for Mid-infrared Astronomical Imaging with Application to Extragalactic Astronomy and New Methods in Bayesian Image Reconstruction
Current Position: Asst. Professor Univ. Florida, Gainsville


Wang, Virginia

Graduation Year: 1994
Thesis: Gamma-ray Burst Repetition: Biases, Evidence & Implications
Current Position: Asst. Professor, Claremont Colleges


Barlow, Tom

Graduation Year: 1993
Thesis: Variability of Broad Absorption-Line QSOs
Current Position: Research Scientist, IPAC/Caltech


Jedamzik, Karsten

Graduation Year: 1993
Thesis: The Small-Scale Structure of the Early Universe
Current Position: Research Scientist, Max Planck Institut fuer Astrophysik (Garching)
Professor, Physics, University of Montpelier, France


Qian, Yong-Zhong

Graduation Year: 1993
Thesis: Flavor-Mixing Effects of Cosmologically Significant Neutrinos on Supernova Dynamics and Nucleosynthesis
Current Position: Prof. Physics, Univ., Minnesota


Zhang, Dennis

Graduation Year: 1993
Thesis: A Test of Cosmic Ray Interplanetary Transport Theory
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Inst. for Geophysics & Planetary Physics, UCLA


Womble, Donna S.

Graduation Year: 1992
Thesis: The Extent and Content of Low-Ionization Gas in Galaxies
Current Position: Monterey Instit. for Research in Astronomy


Briggs, Michael S.

Graduation Year: 1991
Thesis: Observations of Galactic Positron Annihilation Radiation
Current Position: Research Physicist, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center


Chan, Kai-Wing

Graduation Year: 1990
Thesis: Nucleosynthetic Gamma-ray Lines and Positrons from Supernovae
Current Position: Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Jung, Young-Dae

Graduation Year: 1990
Thesis: Photoionization of Many-Electron Atoms
Current Position: Assoc. Professor, Hanyang Univ.


Metcalf, Thomas R.

Graduation Year: 1990
Thesis: Flare Heating and Ionization of the Low Solar Chromosphere
Current Position: Physicist, Solar Astrophysics Laboratory, Lockheed-Martin


Soong, Yang

Graduation Year: 1988
Thesis: A Study of the Temporal Spectral Behavior of Hercules X-1: A Binary X-ray Pulsar
Current Position: Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Hua, Xin-Min

Graduation Year: 1986
Thesis: Neutron and 2.223 MeV Gamma-ray Line Emission from Solar Flares
Current Position: Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Zheng, Wei

Graduation Year: 1986
Thesis: Time Variations of Emission Lines in Quasi-stellar Objects
Current Position: Research Physicist, Johns Hopkins Univ.


Rodriguez-Espinosa, Jose

Graduation Year: 1985
Thesis: Infrared Studies of Seyfert Galaxies and the Irregular Galaxy M82
Current Position: Sr. Scientist, Inst. Astrofisica Canarias


Dermer, Charles D.

Graduation Year: 1984
Thesis: Physics of Nonmagnetic Relativistic Thermal Plasmas
Current Position: Research Astrophysicist, Naval Research Lab


Fisher, George H.

Graduation Year: 1984
Thesis: Radiative Hydrodynamics of Flare Loops Heated by Impulsive Bursts of Energetic Electrons
Current Position: Research Physicist, Space Sciences Lab, UC Berkeley


Gunkler, Todd A.

Graduation Year: 1983
Thesis: Observations and Analysis of Solar Flares Using Ha Spectral Profiles
Current Position: Professor, Delta College


LeVan, Paul

Graduation Year: 1983
Thesis: Near Infrared Spectrophotometry of Seyfert Galaxies and planetary Nebulae in Helium 10830
Current Position: Staff Scientist, AF Geophysics Research Lab


Nolan, Patrick

Graduation Year: 1982
Thesis: Hard X-ray Emission from Galactic Black Hole Candidates
Current Position: Senior Research Scientist, Stanford Univ.


Knight, Frederick K.

Graduation Year: 1981
Thesis: X-ray and Gamma-ray Observations of Pulsed Emission from Radio Pulsars
Current Position: Research Scientist, Lincoln Laboratory, MIT


Brin, David

Graduation Year: 1980
Thesis: Evolution of Cometary Nuclei as Influenced by a Dust Component
Current Position: Hugo & Nebula Award-Winning Author


Junkkarinen, Vesa

Graduation Year: 1980
Thesis: Board Absorption-Line QSOs
Current Position: Research Physicist (retired), UCSD


Puetter, Richard J.

Graduation Year: 1980
Thesis: Observations and Interpretation of the Emission-Line Spectra of Quasi-stellar Objects
Current Position: Research Physicist, UCSD


Paciesas, William

Graduation Year: 1978
Thesis: Hard X-ray Variability in Binary X-ray Sources
Current Position: Research Prof., Univ. Alabama, Huntsville
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center


Russell, Ray W.

Graduation Year: 1978
Thesis: An Analysis of Infrared Spectra of Gaseous Nebulae with an Emphasis on NGC 7027
Current Position: Research Astronomer, Aerospace Corporation


Rephaeli, Yoel

Graduation Year: 1977
Thesis: X-Ray Emission from Clusters of Galaxies
Current Position: Prof., Tel Aviv Univ.
Adj. Professor, UCSD


Harms, Richard J.

Graduation Year: 1976
Thesis: Digicon Spectrophotometry of the Lambda Orion HII Region
Current Position: President, RJH Scientific
PI, HST Faint Object Spectograph


Mushotzky, Richard J.

Graduation Year: 1976
Thesis: Observations of Hard X-rays from Extragalactic Objects
Current Position: Senior Astrophysicist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Cordes, James

Graduation Year: 1975
Thesis: Pulsar Microstructure: Time Scales, Spectra, Polarization, and Radiation Models
Current Position: Prof. Astronomy, Cornell Univ.


Wheaton, William

Graduation Year: 1975
Thesis: Observation of the Galactic Hard X-ray Background from OSO-7
Current Position: Staff Scientist, IPAC/Caltech


Forrest, William

Graduation Year: 1974
Thesis: Circumstellar Grains and the Intrinsic Polarization of Starlight
Current Position: Prof. Astronomy, Univ. Rochester
Director, CEK Mees Observatory


Nordsieck, Kenneth H.

Graduation Year: 1972
Thesis: A Dust-Radiation Instability in Ionized Nebulae, the Angular Momentum of Spiral Galaxies, and a Search for Circular Polarization in Extragalactic Objects
Current Position: Prof. Astronomy, Univ. Wisconsin


Blumenthal, George R.

Graduation Year: 1971
Thesis: Astrophysical Applications of High-Energy Electromagnetic Phenomena
Current Position: Prof. Astronomy & Astrophysics, UC Santa Cruz


Cox, Donald P.

Graduation Year: 1970
Thesis: Calculations of Cooling Rates and Spectral Emission of Gaseous Nebulae
Current Position: Prof. Physics, Univ. Wisconsin


Benford, Gregory

Graduation Year: 1967
Thesis: Nuclear Magnetic Relaxation in High Magnetic Fields by Plasma Modes and Impurity States
Current Position: Prof. Physics, UC Irvine
Award-Winning Science Fiction Author