Leadership Team

The Office of the Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is responsible for directing and overseeing the nation’s space research program in Earth and space science. The Directorate engages the external and internal science community to define and prioritize science questions and seeks to expand the frontiers of five broad scientific pursuits: Earth Science, Planetary Science, Biological and Physical Sciences, Heliophysics, and Astrophysics.

Through a variety of robotic observatory and explorer craft, and through sponsored research, the Directorate provides virtual human access to the farthest reaches of space and time, as well as practical information about changes on our home planet.

Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen portrait
Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen
Associate Administrator
Sandra Connelly Portrait
Sandra E. Connelly
Deputy Associate Administrator
Dr. Michael New Portrait
Dr. Michael New
Deputy Associate Administrator for Research
Kearns_Joel-2019_300_PHOTO_4 (002) v2.jpg
Dr. Joel Kearns
Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration
Photo of Dr. Wanda Peters
Dr. Wanda Peters
Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs
Karen Flynn Portrait
Karen Flynn
Deputy Associate Administrator for Management


Science Division Directors

The SMD Division Directors lead NASA scientists and engineers across the globe in the development and operations of over 100 missions/year.

Dr. Paul Hertz
Dr. Paul Hertz
Astrophysics Division Director
Dr. Craig Kundrot Portrait
Dr. Craig Kundrot
Biological and Physical Sciences Division Director
Karen St. Germain Portrait
Dr. Karen M. St. Germain
Earth Science Division Director
Dr. Nicola Fox Portrait
Dr. Nicola Fox
Heliophysics Division Director
John Gagosian serves as Acting Director of the Joint Agency Satellite Division (JASD)
John Gagosian
Joint Agency Satellite Division Director
Dr. Lori Glaze Portrait
Dr. Lori Glaze
Planetary Science Division Director

Program Directors

Gregory Robinson Portrait
Gregory Robinson
James Webb Space Telescope Program Director
Jeff Gramling Portrait
Jeff Gramling
Mars Sample Return Program Director

Other Division Directors

Holly Degn
Resource Management Division Director
Kristen Erickson Portrait
Kristen J. Erickson
Science Engagement and Partnerships Division Director

Branch Chiefs

Portrait photo of a smiling man wearing a white shirt, blue striped light yello tie and grey jacket
Drew Garza
Acting Chief of the Administration Branch
Photo of woman with shoulder length blonde hair wearing a black sweater.
Dr. Ursula Rick
Acting Chief of Policy Branch

SMD Chief Technologist

Portrait photo of woman wearing glasses and buildings in the background
Dr. Carolyn Mercer
SMD Chief Technologist

Senior Communication

Photo of woman standing in front of a screen.
Karen Fox
Senior Science Communications Officer