1 Indian-Origin Among 36 NASA Fellows Selected for 2016

NASA has selected 36 fellows for its prestigious Einstein, Hubble and Sagan fellowships, including one Indian called Dheeraj Pasham from¬†Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. He will conduct research on “Quest for the Elusive Intermediate-mass Black Holes”.

Each post-doctoral fellowship provides three years of support to awardees to pursue independent research in astronomy and astrophysics. The new fellows will begin their programs in the fall of 2016 at a host university or research center of their choosing in the United States.

Dheeraj Pasham

Dheeraj Pasham

Dheeraj Pasham (“DJ”) received his Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in 2004. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in College Park (2014) where he focused on X-ray timing studies to understand the nature of ultraluminous X-ray sources in order to answer the question of whether they host stellar-mass or intermediate-mass black holes.

As an Einstein fellow at MIT, he plans to apply and extend his expertise in time series analysis to (1) identify and weigh intermediate-mass black holes, and (2) address the many open questions concerning the tidal disruption of stars by supermassive and intermediate-mass black holes.

See full bio of other selected scientists here.

“The selected fellows are some of the brightest, rising stars in the field of astronomy and astrophysics,” said Paul Hertz, director of Astrophysics at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “We look forward to the exciting discoveries they make that further our understanding of the universe.”

Participants in the Einstein Fellows program conduct research broadly related to the mission ofNASA’s Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) Program, which aims to expand our knowledge of the origin, evolution and fate of the universe. The PCOS Program consists of a suite of operating science missions and possible future missions that focus on specific aspects of these questions.

“We are very pleased to welcome this talented group of young scientists as the incoming Einstein Fellows,” said Belinda Wilkes, Director of the Chandra X-ray Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which manages the Einstein Fellows program for NASA. “Their research will advance the quest to better understand the physics of the cosmos in a variety of directions.”

The 13 new Einstein Fellows in alphabetical order and their host institutions are:

  • Iair Arcavi, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Lia Corrales, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Eric Coughlin, University of California, Berkeley
  • Daniel D’Orazio,¬†Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Davide Gerosa, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
  • Michael Johnson, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Boris Leistedt, New York University, New York
  • Morgan MacLeod, Princeton University, New Jersey
  • Dheeraj Pasham, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Anna Patej, University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Blake Sherwin, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California
  • Daniel Siegel, Columbia University, New York
  • Daniel Wilkins, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

Participants in the Hubble Fellowship program conduct research broadly related to the mission of NASA’s Cosmic Origins (COR) Program.

The 17 new Hubble Fellows are listed below in alphabetical order with their host institutions:

  • Brendan Bowler, University of Texas at Austin
  • Zheng Cai, UCO/Lick Observatory, University of California
  • Emmanouil Chatzopoulos, University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Diana Dragomir, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Maria Drout, Carnegie Observatories
  • Jean-Baptiste Fouvry, Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey
  • Sean Johnson, Princeton University, New Jersey
  • Michael McCourt, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Anne Medling, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
  • Maxwell Millar-Blanchaer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
  • Marcel Sven Pawlowski, University of California, Irvine
  • Paola Pinilla, University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Sarah Sadavoy, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Josiah Schwab, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Daniel Scolnic, University of Chicago, Illinois
  • Paul Torrey, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Jennifer Yee, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Sagan Fellowship, created in September 2008, supports 6 scientists whose research is aligned with NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program. The primary goal of this program is to discover and characterize planetary systems and Earth-like planets around other stars.

The six 2016 Sagan Fellows are listed below with their host institutions:

  • Katherine Follette, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
  • Jeffrey Fung, University of California, Berkeley
  • Samuel Halverson, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • Kento Masuda, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Benjamin Montet, University of Chicago, Illinois
  • Caroline Morley, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts


A full list of the 2016 fellows is available at:


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