Astrophysics Staff Bios

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Dr. Paul Hertz, Director
Dr. Paul Hertz was named Director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA in March 2012. He is responsible for the Agency’s research programs and missions necessary to discover how the universe works, to explore how the universe began and developed into its present form, and to search for Earth-like planets.

Mrs. Sandra Cauffman
Mrs. Sandra Cauffman was selected as the Deputy Director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate in November of 2021. She previously served as the Deputy Division Director of the SMD Earth Science Division.

Dr. Dominic Benford
Dr. Dominic Benford is the Program Scientist for the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, the mission to answer fundamental questions of the nature of dark energy, the distribution of dark matter, the occurrence of planets around other stars, and even to enable the direct imaging of planetary systems.

Dr. Valerie Connaughton
Dr. Valerie Connaughton is the Program Scientist for the US contribution to JAXA’s X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM), Israel Space Agency’s Ultravioletet Satellite (ULTRASAT), ESA’s X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM), leads the High-Energy portfolio of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters, is a Discipline Scientist for the Particle Astrophysics portfolio, and is the Program Scientist for the Physics of the Cosmos Program.

Ms. Elinor Jeanne Davis
Jeanne Davis is currently the Associate Director of Flight Projects for Astrophysics Strategic Missions. She is also the Program Manager of the James Webb Space Telescope.

Dr. Michael Garcia
Dr. Michael Garcia is the lead for the Astrophysics Pioneers, SmallSats and CubeSats, and the Program Scientist for the Hubble and Athena missions.

Dr. Hashima Hasan
Dr. Hashima Hasan is the NASA Program Scientist for NuSTAR, the Keck Observatory and ADCAR, and is Deputy Program Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope. She serves as the Education and Communication Lead for Astrophysics and as the Executive Secretary of the Astrophysics Advisory Committee.

Dr. Shahid Habib
Dr. Habib is Program Executive for the Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) and Cosmic Origin (COS) programs and several international flight missions under development.

Dr. Douglas Hudgins
Dr. Douglas Hudgins serves as the Program Scientist for NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP) and TESS mission, Deputy Program Scientist for the Kepler mission, and Program Officer for the Astrophysics Data Analysis Program (ADAP), ApD’s flagship research and analysis (R&A) grants program.

Dr. Stefan Immler
Dr. Stefan Immler is a Program Scientist and Program Officer in the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters, the Lead for the Astrophysics Research and Analysis Program, and the Program Scientist for the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

Dr. William B. Latter
Dr. William B. Latter (“Bill”) is the SPHEREx Program Scientist, Fermi Program Scientist, Deputy GUSTO Program Scientist, Lead Program Officer for Laboratory Astrophysics, and Discipline Scientist for the Far-Infrared in the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters.

Dr. Mario R. Perez
Dr. Perez is the Astrophysics Chief Technologist within the Astrophysics Division.  He is also the lead for the Strategic Astrophysics Technology (SAT) Program, the Roman Technology Fellowship (RTF), the Internal Scientist Funding Model (ISFM), the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) division lead, and the Swift Program Scientist. 

Dr. Linda Sparke
Dr. Linda Sparke is Program Scientist for the 2021 Medium Explorer/Mission of Opportunity competition, and for the COSI mission. She is also Program Executive for the Astrophysics Data Archives.