Search Search

Explore JPL - Seminar #4

Monday, October 26, 2015
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Location: Noyes 153 (J. Holmes Sturdivant Lecture Hall)

This lunch-time program is designed to help undergrads learn more about the research happening at the Jet Propulsion Lab and connect them with possible SURF mentors for next summer.

Focus:  Astronomy, biotechnology, planetary science, math, spectroscopy for Earth and planetary remote sensing.

A boxed lunch will be provided.

Please RSVP at:


Bonnie Buratti: Dr. Bonnie Buratti is a Senior Research Scientist and technical manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with expertise on the structure and evolution of icy moons and other small bodies. She is currently serving on the Science Teams for both the Cassini and New Horizons missions, and she is the Chair of the Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society. The author or coauthor of over 200 scientific papers, Dr. Buratti was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and the International Astronomical Union recognized her work by naming asteroid 90502 Buratti after her. Her book "Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar" is scheduled to be published next year.

David Thompson: David Thompson is a research technologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.  His research analyzes spectroscopic data to characterize Earth and other planetary bodies, with additional emphasis on real-time applications.  His algorithms have guided autonomous robots and sensors fielded in North America, South America, the Atlantic Ocean, Airborne campaigns, Low Earth Orbit, and the surface of Mars. He is recipient of the NASA Early Career Achievement Medal, the Lew Allen Award for Excellence, and the NASA Software of the Year Award.

Parag Vaishampayan: Parag Vaishampayan provides support to a multifunctional, multidisciplinary, biotechnology–based laboratory at JPL. His major emphasis is on characterizing the microbial diversity of microbial communities associated with spacecraft outbound from Earth and the clean-room facilities in which they are assembled. He has applied his scientific expertise and bioinformatics knowledge to decipher the microbial ecology of diverse and extreme environmental niches encompassing spacecraft assembly clean rooms, stratospheric air samples, high altitude caves, hydrothermal vents and human gut to name few. Parag is the main bioinformatician for the Biotechnology and Planetary Protection group at JPL responsible for the generation and curation of a comprehensive sequence database. Outcome of his research has potential applications to non-NASA industries and disciplines outside of Planetary Protection as well. He holds a PhD in Environmental microbiology, held postdoctoral appointments at Lawrence Berkeley Lab (2005-2007) and Caltech (2008-2011) before joining JPL as a staff scientist.

For more information, please phone 626-395-2885 or email

Upcoming events

Event archive