Dr. Valerie Connaughton

Dr. Valerie Connaughton

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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.

She obtained her Ph.D. from University College Dublin in the area of ground-based Very High Energy gamma-ray astronomy before taking up a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. As a research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsvile, she transitioned from the Burst And Transient Source Experiment (BATSE) team to the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) team on what is now the Fermi satellite. In 2015 she joined Universities Space Research Association (USRA) as associate director of the Science and Technology Institute (STI) where she oversaw STI's activities in the areas of astrophysics (x-ray, gamma-ray, and cosmic-ray science).

Her research interests include multi-messenger time-domain astronomy, gamma-ray bursts, terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, and high-energy astrophysics in general.

Since joining NASA HQ in 2017, Dr. Connaughton has become Program Scientist for the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM),  Discipline Scientist for the high-energy (lead) and particle astrophysics portfolios, and Program Scientist for the Physics of the Cosmos Program. She is also a member of the APD Communications team and serves as the APD contact for the SMD Social Media team.

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