AO Summer School 2013
Invited Speakers &
Administrator Biographies



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Scott Acton
Scott Acton is currently the Wavefront Sensing and Controls Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, working at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado. In this role, he is building a team of people who have the responsibility of aligning JWST after it is launched in 2018. Prior to coming to Ball Aerospace, he was the AO engineer at the Keck Observatory, and worked with a different team of engineers to build the first AO systems on the world's largest telescopes. Prior to working at Keck, he was the PI of a solar Adaptive Optics project, at the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company (using the sun as an object instead of a point source.) He has recently taken on a contributing role in the task of phasing the 7 8.3 meter apertures for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).
Michael Fitzgerald
Michael Fitzgerald is an Assistant Professor in the Infrared Laboratory of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA. His interests range from astronomical instrumentation, including coronagraphy and adaptive optics, to observational study of planet formation. In particular, he is interested in the application of high-contrast techniques to the direct imaging of extrasolar planets and circumstellar debris disks. In conjunction, he is also interested in the application of signal  processing techniques to both adaptive optics systems and analysis of high-contrast imaging data.
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David Fried
Dr. Fried, who received his Ph.D. in physics from Rutgers University in 1962, is perhaps best known in the adaptive optics community for his work defining the quantity generally denoted by the notation r0 — which he refers to as the effective coherence diameter, and to which Prof. Francois Roddier many years ago attached the name “Fried’s parameter.” Dr. Fried’s first paper on the optical effects of atmospheric turbulence was published in 1965. Then for almost a decade following, his many publications constituted almost the entirety of the work in the US analyzing the optical effects of atmospheric turbulence. With the start of the development of adaptive optics systems in the early part of the 1970’s Dr. Fried was a principle contributor to the analytic foundations of this subject area. His analysis of the effects of atmospheric turbulence when using a laser guide-star, showing that for a high but achievable back-scatter altitude the so called “focus anisoplanatism” effect was tolerably small for interesting size apertures, played a major part in the decision to fund the work that established the laser guide-star approach to adaptive optics. He designed the first experiment to test the the laser guide-star approach to adaptive optics, and directed that experiment’s data analysis — establishing the soundness of the laser guide-star concept.
Donald Gavel
Donald Gavel is Director of the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics (LAO) at the University of California, Santa Cruz and is an Associate Director of the Center for Adaptive Optics, leading the theme area for development of adaptive optics on large astronomical telescopes. He is actively involved on design teams for the Gemini Planet Imager, Thirty Meter Telescope, and Keck Next Generation Adaptive Optics projects.  Dr. Gavel spent a number of years developing the Lick Observatory Laser Guidestar Adaptive Optics system and participated in the development of the Keck Laser Guidestar System. Prior to his appointment at UCO/Lick, he worked in the adaptive optics group at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory developing AO systems for horizontal path coherent imaging and communications and on various AO systems for vision science application.
James Graham
James R. Graham is currently a Professor of Astronomy at UC Berkeley. He is the project scientist for the Gemini Planet Imager project — an "extreme" AO system designed to allow direct detection of exoplanets. Previously, Graham was chair of the Berkeley Astronomy Department, and a senior research fellow at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, California. His Ph.D. is from Imperial College, University of London.
Olivier Guyon
Olivier Guyon graduated from University of Paris 6 in 2002 (Ph.D. research topic: wide field interferometry), and then joined Subaru Telescope's Adaptive Optics group. He now shares his time between Subaru Telescope and the University of Arizona, where he is associate professor in the Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics. His research interests include quasar host galaxies and exoplanets.  Guyon has been developing new concepts for wavefront control and coronagraphy to enable direct imaging of exoplanets and disks from ground-based and space telescopes. He is now leading a small team to build a coronagraphic extreme-AO system for the Subaru Telescope, and also works with NASA scientists and engineers to plan a future space-based exoplanet imaging mission. He was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) by the office of the president of the United States in 2006 and the MacArthur fellowship in 2012.
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Peter Kner received his PhD in physics from the University of California Berkeley in 1998 in the field of ultrafast spectroscopy. After graduating he joined a Silicon Valley startup developing semiconductor lasers. In 2004, he stareted working in the field of microscopy, developing techniques for achieving better resolution in three-dimensional wide-field fluorescence microscopy. He joined the engineering faculty at the University of Georgia in January, 2009.
Joel Kubby
Joel Kubby is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California at Santa Cruz. His research is in the area of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) with applications in Optics, Fluidics and Bio-MEMS. His current work involves the development of new MEMS deformable mirrors for future large telescopes and the application of adaptive optics for biological imaging ( Prior to joining the UC Santa Cruz in 2005, he was an Area Manager with the Wilson Center for Research and Technology and a Member of Technical Staff in the Webster Research Center in Rochester New York (1987-2005). Prior to Xerox he was at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill New Jersey working in the area of Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (1985-1987). He received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University in 1985 and his B.A. in Physics from UC Berkeley in 1980.
Claire Max
Dr. Claire Max is a Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she directs the Center for Adaptive Optics. She is Project Scientist for the Keck Observatory’s Next Generation Adaptive Optics system, and was Principal Investigator for the Observatory’s laser guide star system. Dr. Max graduated from Radcliffe College and Princeton University. She was a Physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for many years, where she was founding director of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at LLNL. Dr. Max's research interests include adaptive optics, laser guide stars, and their use for studies of active galactic nuclei – galaxies that have accreting black holes in their cores. Dr. Max was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2008. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was awarded the Ernest O. Lawrence Award in Physics by the US Department of Energy in 2004 and the Madison Medal by Princeton University in 2009.
Anne Medling
Anne Medling received her Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on observing the cores of nearby late-stage gas-rich galaxy mergers, and the enhanced star formation and extreme black hole accretion that take place there. Adaptive optics is critical for her observations that resolve the nuclear regions where these two effects are competing for dominance. Anne has designed, facilitated and led labs at the AO Summer School, and in courses at UCSC and Hartnell College since 2009. Her work on these labs earned her a Certificate in Teaching Innovative Laboratory Experiences from the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators in 2010.
  Mike Messerly
Dr. Michael Messerly has 20 years of experience in optical fiber fabrication, telecommunication systems, and fiber-based lasers. He is currently a staff physicist in Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s Photon Science & Applications Program, where he holds responsibility for design and fabrication of the fiber-based short-pulse seed lasers for LLNL’s newest Megaray source, which will produce monochromatic gamma rays through collisions with relativistic electrons. Dr. Messerly received his Ph.D. in Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona in 1987, and before joining LLNL in 2004, spent his career developing optical fibers for 3M Company in St. Paul MN and telecommunications systems for Ciena Corparation in Baltimore MD.
Andrew Norton
Andrew Norton is a Ph.D. Candidate in Electrical Engineering at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is working at the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics (LAO) investigating the potential use of a Micro-Electrical-Mechanical System (MEMS) Deformable Mirrors (DM) to pre-correct a laser guidestar for laser-uplink AO applications. Andrew has worked on characterizing MEMS DMs for the Gemini Planet Imager system and NASA’s exoplanet imaging missions. Other research interests include the MEMS-based Villages AO system, the real-time controller for the Shane 3-meter AO upgrade, and designing an AO system for a segmented space-based telescope. Andrew has taught the laboratory course for the CfAO's Summer School for the past 2 years. He has also designed and built adaptive optics demonstrators for educating college and graduate students in engineering and AO applications.
Jason Porter
Jason Porter, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Houston College of Optometry
Jason earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Optics from the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics. As a graduate student under the advisement of Dr. David Williams, he investigated the sources of optical aberrations induced in conventional and customized LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis) procedures. Jason then conducted his postdoctoral work with David Williams at the Center for Visual Science (University of Rochester) in the area of high-resolution retinal imaging using adaptive optics in reflectance and fluorescence modes. As an Associate Professor at the University of Houston’s College of Optometry (UHCO), Jason develops and uses high-resolution in vivo imaging technologies (such as adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopes) to better understand the mechanisms responsible for the development and progression of retinal diseases, such as glaucoma. He has received grants from the NIH, Optoelectronics Industry Development Association, and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. An active participant in the CfAO since its inception, Jason has also received numerous teaching awards at UHCO, including the 2010 Cora and J. Davis Armistead Faculty Teaching Award (as selected by the faculty), and Outstanding Faculty Teaching Awards as selected by graduate and optometry students.
Lisa Poyneer
Dr. Lisa Poyneer is an engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, specializing in signal processing for adaptive optics (AO). She has developed several new techniques that enable high-performance AO, including the spatially filtered wavefront sensor, Fourier transform wavefront reconstruction and optimized-gain and predictive Fourier wavefront control algorithms. Lisa earned the SB and M.Eng in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and is a Rhodes Scholar. She completed the Ph.D. at UC Davis concurrently with her research position at Livermore Lab, winning the 2008 Marr Prize for the most distinguished doctoral dissertation at the university.

Austin Roorda
Austin Roorda received his Ph.D. in Vision Science/Physics from the University of Waterloo, Canada in 1996. In a following postdoctoral appointment at the University of Rochester, he used the world's first adaptive optics ophthalmoscope to measure the properties of human photoreceptors, which included mapping the trichromatic cone mosaic. From 1998 to 2004, he was at the University of Houston College of Optometry, where he designed and built the Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO). AOSLO systems have since been replicated in many labs and he’s licensed his patent to a company that is currently developing a commercial version of the AOSLO. He is on the executive committee of the CfAO and holds grants from NIH and Foundation Fighting Blindness. He is the recipient of two major awards: the Borish Outstanding Young Researcher Award (American Academy of Optometry) and the Excellence in Research and Scholarship Award (University of Houston). Since January 2005, he’s been at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry where he is the current chair of the Vision Science Graduate Group. His research involves clinical applications for microscopic retinal imaging as well as basic investigations of structure and function of the visual system.

Don Wiberg
Since 2000, Don has been teaching and researching at UCSC in both Dept. of Electrical and Dept. of Computer Engineering at UCSC, and is a researcher in the Center for Adaptive Optics there. Don is a Life Fellow of IEEE. Don retired as Professor of Engineering and Applied Science in the Electrical Engineering Department at UCLA in 1994, after 29 years there. He was also Professor of Anesthesiology at UCLA. In 1995 he served as Sen. Tom Harkin’s (Dem. IA) Legislative Assistant in Defense Appropriations, Energy, Environment, Arms Control, and Veteran’s Affairs as IEEE Congressional Fellow. He was a Fulbright Senior Fellow in Denmark in 1976-7 and in Norway in 1983-4, and he visited at DFVLR, Munich, 1969-70, U. Newcastle, Aus., 1989-90, U. Maryland, 1993-94, and Ajou U., Suwan, South Korea, 2006-07.