Astrophysics Staff Bios

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 previously served as the Chief Scientist of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, managing the Directorate’s science solicitation activities and ensuring the scientific integrity of the Directorate’s programs.

Ms. Andrea Razzaghi, Deputy Director
Andrea Razzaghi was selected as the Deputy Director of Astrophysics in September 2012. She provides executive leadership, strategic direction, and overall management of the programs and projects in the Astrophysics Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate.

Dr. Dominic Benford
Dr. Dominic Benford is the Program Scientist for WFIRST, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, the Decadal Survey-recommended mission to conduct major surveys in the near-infrared 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. He also has roles in other long wavelength astrophysics activities such as the Origins Space Telescope (OST) and technology development.

Dr. Valerie Connaughton
Dr. Valerie Connaughton is the Program Scientist for the US contribution to JAXA’s X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) , and a Discipline Scientist in the High-Energy and Particle-Astrophysics portfolios of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters.

Dr. Daniel Evans
Dr. Daniel Evans is the lead for NASA’s Astrophysics Research program, which spans numerous NASA field centers as well as the broader US community. He also serves as the Program Scientist for the X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM), the Lynx mission concept study, and the Deputy Program Scientist for the Athena mission.

Mr. John Gagosian
John Gagosian serves as the Program Executive for the Exoplanet Exploration Program and the WFIRST (Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope) Mission.

Dr. Michael Garcia
Dr. Michael Garcia is the lead for the Astrophysics Research and Analysis program and the Program Scientist for the Hubble and Athena missions.

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

Dr. Shahid Habib
Dr. Shahid Habib is Program Executive for the Stratospheric Observatory for Far Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) and Cosmic Origin (COS) programs.

Dr. Jeffrey Hayes
Dr. Jeffrey Hayes is a Discipline Scientist in the Astrophysics and Heliophysics Divisions at NASA HQ and the Program Executive for the 8 operational Astrophysics missions (as of 2016) as well as the 19 operational NASA Heliophysics missions.

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, Discipline Scientist, and Program Officer in the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters.

Dr. William B. Latter
Dr. William B. Latter ("Bill") is the NuSTAR Program Scientist, Deputy Kepler/K2 Program Scientist, Discipline Scientist for the Far-Infrared, and Deputy Program Officer for Laboratory Astrophysics in the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters.

Dr. Mario R. Perez
Dr. Mario Perez is the Program Scientist for the Cosmic Origins Program and for the Kepler/K2 mission. He is also the Program Executive for several Exoplanet Programs such as LBTI, Keck, NExScI and NN-EXPLORE. 

Dr. Rita Sambruna
Dr. Rita Sambruna is the Program Scientist for the Physics of the Cosmos Program and for the NICER mission (Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR). She is the division lead for Strategy and Planning as well as the Deputy Program Officer for the ADAP program. Also, she is the Program Scientist for the Probes mission concept studies.

Dr. Linda Sparke
Dr. Linda Sparke works on the Astrophysics Explorers Program and the Research Program, including Astrophysics Theory; she is also deputy Program Scientist for NASA’s participation in the Euclid mission, and for the WFIRST mission. Before joining NASA, Dr. Sparke was a professor of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Dr. Martin Still
Martin Still is the lead for the Exoplanet Research Program. He also serves as the Program Scientist for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the Neil Gerhels Swift Observatory, and the Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx) mission concept study. Dr Still is the deputy Program Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope, the Exoplanet Exploration program, and is the Executive Secretary of the Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group.