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Northwestern University

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Northwestern University
CIERA - Technological Institute
2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-0834

Phone: (847) 491-8646
Fax: (847) 491-9982

Dearborn Observatory

Northwestern University
Dearborn Observatory
2131 Tech Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-2960

Phone: (847) 491-7650
Fax: (847) 491-3135

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Northwestern University
Department of Physics and Astronomy
2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-0834

Phone: (847) 491-3685
Fax: (847) 491-9982

Mission Statement

CIERA's mission is to promote research and education through the support of postdoctoral fellows developing independent research programs, advanced graduate and undergraduate research, seminar series, a long-term visitors program, and to pursue new astrophysics research directions. Special emphasis is given to interdisciplinary connections with applied math, biology, chemistry, computer science, electrical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, planetary science, and statistics.

CIERA Members at a Glance

Postdocs: 17
Staff: 5 Full-time
Graduate Students: 25
Summer Undergraduates: 34

Joint Appointments
Adler Planetarium: 2
Argonne National Laboratory: 2
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab): 1

$8.6 million in active NSF awards
$5.3 million in active NASA awards
$1.7 million in active Foundation awards

    ("At a glance" data is current as of May 31st, 2017.)


    CIERA is a research center in Northwestern University’s Office for Research, under the Vice President for Research.
    Learn more about the research centers at Northwestern.

Prof. Vicky Kalogera
Vicky Kalogera provides overall scientific leadership of the Center: in addition to leading her own active research group, she seeks out new projects and collaborations in astronomy and in connected interdisciplinary fields, and also gives overall guidance to the administrative functions of the Center. Not only is Vicky centrally involved in the research projects throughout the Center, and across campus, but she also manages outreach programs that involve the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern and local public schools.
Pascal Paschos
Senior High Performance Computing Specialist
Pascal helps researchers within CIERA make the best use of campus-wide computing resources (especially QUEST, the campus High-Performance Computing system) and CIERA-specific resources, such as our GRAIL cluster. Also, with a background in computational astrophysics, Dr. Paschos works with CIERA faculty, postdocs, and students to understand and debug codes that are deployed specifically to astrophysical domains.
Peter Anglada
Financial Administrator
Peter is responsible for detailed financial management of the Center: He builds monthly reports, tracks both non-sponsored and sponsored funds, helps faculty and postdocs in submitting and managing budgets for their grants, manages payroll for the Center, Peter helps with Visa submissions, and serves as the financial liaison to other departments that CIERA interfaces with, across the University.
Michelle Paulsen
Director of Education, Outreach, and Communications Programs
Michelle is a co-investigator and director of an assortment of education, outreach, and communication programs for CIERA. She is the program director for IDEAS, and the co-founder and director of RSG—Northwestern’s research communication training program for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers.
Dr. Kari Frank
Director of Operations
Kari directs the administrative staff of the Center, and serves as the interface between the scientific functions of the Center and the University's main administration, as well as other departments that work with CIERA. She helps with the overall management of the post-doctoral program, proposal preparation and grants management, finances, provides computer support, oversees the visitor's program, and aids with outreach initiatives.
Lisa Raymond
Information Coordinator
Lisa provides administrative support to CIERA as well as the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship program. She tracks information, distributing notices to internal and external audiences for a variety of CIERA activities, and edits CIERA's central web pages. Lisa assists with visitors and events, handles expense reports, and monitors equipment & supplies throughout the Center.
Gretchen Oehlschlager
Communications & Events Coordinator
Gretchen develops and designs CIERA’s marketing communications materials and organizes seminars, events, and conferences. She is the primary staff contact for development. Gretchen also assists with CIERA’s faculty and postdoctoral hiring processes.

CIERA Advisory Board

Prof. Jian Cao (ex-officio)

Jian Cao is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and (by courtesy) Civil and Environmental Engineering, Her major research interests include the mechanics and instability analysis of deformation processes from micro to macro scale, material characterization of metals and woven composites, and machine/process innovation. Her work has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of wrinkling in sheet forming and the effects of material microstructure and material architecture on forming behavior. Her research has integrated analytical and numerical simulation methods, control and sensors to advance manufacturing processes. Current research on micro-forming, dieless forming, laser processing, surface engineering and distributed cloud manufacturing has direct impacts on energy-efficient manufacturing and point-of-need manufacturing.


Prof. Fred Rasio
Fred Rasio is the Joseph Cummings Professor of Physics at Northwestern, and was a co-founder of CIERA, and co-director of CIERA until August 2012. Professor Rasio's research focuses on theoretical and numerical studies of orbital dynamics; in particular, he studies the evolution of the orbits of stars in massive globular clusters as well as the evolution of orbits of planets in complex planetary systems. Dr. Rasio is also an expert in hydrodynamic codes used for stellar interactions; he has studied stellar collisions and mergers as well as stellar binaries that can come so close together that one star is enveloped in the other. In all of this work, Dr. Rasio and his group utilize some of the highest-performance computers at Northwestern, such as the campus Quest supercomputer. Fred also recently became (in January 2013), the Editor of The Astrophysical Journal Letters: a quick-turnaround journal which is the one of the most prestigious journals in astrophysics. In addition, Professor Rasio has received Northwestern's Research Mentor Award (2006, 2007), was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2006), and was elected to the Faculty Honor Roll at Northwestern (2004, 2005).

Prof. Aggelos Katsaggelos

Dr. Katsaggelos is the AT&T Research Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Director of The Image and Video Processing Laboratory, and Director of the Motorola Center for Seamless Communications. He also holds appointments in the Department of Medicine in the Northshore University Health System, in the Department of Linguistics, and at Argonne National Laboratory. His current research interests include multimedia signal processing (e.g., image and video recovery and compression, audio-visual speech and speaker recognition, indexing and retrieval), multimedia communications, computer vision, pattern recognition, and DNA signal processing. Professor Katsaggelos has also served as a frequent consultant to legal, industrial, and academic institutions, has contributed to a wide variety of technical committees with the IEEE and other professional societies, and has served as editor and co-editor for both books and journals on a wide range of topics related to signal and image processing. He is a Fellow of the IEEE (1998) and SPIE (2009), and was a recipient of the IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award (2010), the IEEE Signal Processing Society Meritorious Service Award (2001), and the IEEE Third Millennium Medal (2000), among many other awards.

Prof. Brad Sageman

Brad Sageman is a Professor, currently in his 8th year as Department Chair of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and also serves as the Director of Education and Special Projects for ISEN. He is an earth scientist with research interests in carbon cycling, climate change, and sustainable energy. His research is grounded in study of the relationship between geologic time and the accumulation of sedimentary rocks, which is relevant to both the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (especially shale gas, a potentially critical transition fuel to a low-carbon future), as well as the role of the carbon cycle as a natural source and sink of CO2 to the atmosphere. About half of his current effort focuses on stratigraphy (the physical analysis of sedimentary rock accumulation) and geologic time, and the other half on geochemistry, in particular the use of selected elemental and isotopic proxies for paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic conditions related to perturbations in the carbon cycle. His past work also incorporated paleobiologic methods as a tool for paleoenvironmental reconstruction.

Prof. Dave Meyer

Dave Meyer is a McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Director of Dearborn Observatory. His research focuses on the application of sensitive spectroscopic techniques to astrophysical problems in the areas of cosmology, galactic evolution, and the interstellar medium. Using the Hubble Space Telescope and facilities at Kitt Peak National Observatory, he specialize in the measurement of weak interstellar and extragalactic absorption lines in the optical and ultraviolet spectra of stars and quasars. At Northwestern, Professor Meyer focuses on teaching freshman seminars and introductory astronomy courses for non-science majors. Beyond Northwestern, his teaching efforts include a video course entitled "Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe" that he recently developed and recorded for the Teaching Company.

Prof. George Schatz
George Schatz is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry and of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern. Professor Schatz is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (2005), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2002), the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences (2001) and he has been Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Physical Chemistry since 2005. Best known for his seminal contributions to the field of reaction dynamics, he has published three books and authored over 680 scientific papers, and appeared on the Times Higher Education list of Top 100 Chemists of the Past Decade. Professor Schatz’s current research focuses on theory and computational modeling in a variety of nanoscience topics as well as in related fields of biophysics and materials. His awards include Sloan and Dreyfus Fellowships, the Fresenius Award of Phi Lambda Upsilon, the Max Planck Research Award, the Bourke Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Ver Steeg Fellowship of Northwestern University, the Feynman Prize of the Foresight Institute, and the Debye Award of the ACS.

Prof. Luís A. Nunes Amaral

Dr. Amaral is a Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Professor of Medicine, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist, and the Director of the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems. His research focuses on the emergence, evolution, and stability of complex social and biological systems; with his research, he aims to address some of the most pressing challenges facing human societies and the world’s ecosystems, including the mitigation of errors in healthcare settings, the characterization of the conditions fostering innovation and creativity, or the growth limits imposed by sustainability. Currently, he is best known for his work in developing cartographic methods that help reveal the organization of complex networks. Dr. Amaral is the editor of the “Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment”, as well as the journal “PLoS One.” He is also the co-founder and Scientific Advisor of Chimu Solutions, Inc. Professor Amaral has been honored as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2014), a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012), and a Distinguished Young Scholar in Medical Research (from the W.M. Keck Foundation, 2006), among many other awards and honors.

Prof. Teresa Woodruff

Dr. Woodruff is the Thomas J. Watkins Memorial Professor and Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Chief in the Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology-Fertility Preservation; she also holds appointments in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, the Department of Medical Social Sciences, and the Division of Endocrinology in the Department of Medicine. She also founded and is Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute. Her research focuses on ovarian biology, and in particular, on the fertility of young cancer patients; as part of her pioneering work in this field, she coined the term “oncofertility”, merging both oncology and fertility. This work has led to the creation of the “Oncofertility Consortium”, which Professor Woodruff leads; this group is an interdisciplinary team of biomedical and social scientist experts from across the country who work to understand and address the complex health care and quality-of-life issues that concern young cancer patients. Connecting with the public, Professor Woodruff and her lab reach out to engage high-school girls in basic and medical sciences with her Oncofertility Saturday Academy. Dr. Woodruff is also President of the Endocrine Society, has received the Beacon Award from Frontiers in Reproduction (2013), the Women in Science Award from the Weitzman Institute (2012), an Alumni Association Merit Award from Northwestern (2012), and the US Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring (2011), to name only a few. She was also recently named in the Time Magazine 2013 list of the World’s Most Influential People.

CIERA Committees

Budget Committee
Prof. Vicky Kalogera (Chair)
Prof. Fred Rasio
Dr. Kari Frank
Digital Media Committee
Dr. Kari Frank (Chair)
Prof. Shane Larson
Ms. Gretchen Oehlschlager
CIERA Outreach Committee
Prof. Shane Larson
Prof. Dave Meyer (Chair)
Ms. Gretchen Oehlschlager
Ms. Michelle Paulsen
Prof. Mike Smutko
Web Development Committee
Prof. Vicky Kalogera (Chair)
Prof. Fred Rasio
Dr. Kari Frank
CIERA Seminar Committee
Prof. Raffaella Margutti (Chair)
Dr. Sourav Chatterjee
Dr. Deanne Coppejans
Dr. Rocco Coppejans
Dr. Cliff Johnson
Dr. Diego Munoz
Dr. Alexander Richings
Dr. Jonathan Stern
Postdoctoral Fellowship Hiring Committee
Prof. Claude-André Faucher-Giguère
Prof. Vicky Kalogera
Prof. Yoram Lithwick
Prof. Raffaella Margutti