About me

Hi there, welcome to my website!

I am an Assistant Research Scientist at the Space Sciences Laboratory, located at the University of California, Berkeley.

<– That’s my dog Laika.

Active Research Interests

Earth’s Moon

The closest, most well-visited moon in the solar system is located in our own backyard. During its ~29 day orbit around Earth, the Moon experiences a wide range of magnetic field and plasma environments. During approximately 5 days each month, the Moon is embedded deep within the lobes of the terrestrial magnetotail. Although the Moon’s exosphere is orders of magnitude less dense than Earth, the lunar exospheric density dominates compared to the tenuous magnetotail plasma. I have focused on constraining and understanding this type of interaction, to understand what it can tell us not only about the lunar atmosphere, but also about the low-energy plasma outflowing from Earth’s ionosphere.

The Icy Galilean Moons

My dissertation topic focused on Jupiter’s icy moon Callisto. Specifically, I use hybrid (kinetic ions, fluid electrons) modeling techniques in combination with energetic test-particle simulations to study Callisto’s interaction with the Jovian magnetosphere. I have recently expanded my studies to investigate the icy moons Ganymede and Europa, as well. By comparing output from my models to data from the magnetometer, plasma spectrometer, and energetic particle detector data obtained during the Galileo mission to Jupiter, I am able to provide insight into the search for water beneath the surfaces of these three icy moons. My research has introduced a method to disentangle signatures of plasma interaction and induction in magnetic field data, which is paramount in determining properties of subsurface, liquid water oceans. For Callisto, my research has identified a method to identify a signature of its subsurface ocean in energetic particle data, which can be used in concert with magnetometer data to help constrain the moon’s inductive response.

I am involved with the European Space Agency’s upcoming JUpiter Icy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission, where I provide modeling support to help determine flyby trajectories that will be optimal to characterize the inductive responses of the Galilean moons.


The plasma environment near Neptune’s moon Triton represents one of the most unique environments experienced by an icy moon anywhere throughout the solar system. The variability in the plasma and fields near the moon generates characteristic features of the plasma interaction that display similarities to many other objects throughout the solar system, over time scales of only a few hours. As a science team member of the NASA Trident mission concept (funded through Phase A), I model this interaction to understand and constrain the observability of signatures associated with magnetic fields induced deep within Triton’s interior.


Not only is Saturn’s moon Titan is similar to Callisto in size, it’s interaction with the Saturnian magnetosphere is highly analogous to Callisto’s interaction. Although the Cassini mission to Saturn has recently ended, there is still plenty of data from Titan flybys yet to be explored.


With the New Horizons flyby of Pluto in mid 2015, research on this dwarf planet is as active as ever. Although no magnetometer was on board the spacecraft, plasma data obtained during the flyby is highly useful in the quest to characterize Pluto’s plasma interaction with the solar wind.


Due to the end of NASA’s MESSENGER mission and the recent start of ESA’s BepiColombo mission, interest in Mercury is at an all-time high. I am actively working with colleagues to understand Mercury’s interaction with the solar wind as well as the feedback of its interaction on the planet’s inductive response.