Photo portrait of Michael New

Dr. Michael New

Deputy Associate Administrator for Research | NASA Headquaters

Dr. Michael New is the Deputy Associate Administrator for Research within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Principal responsibilities encompass: ensuring scientific quality and integrity of research processes, including oversight of SMD scientific competition processes for research awards and flight programs; representing SMD research goals, policies and programs inside and outside NASA; overseeing SMD’s relationship with the National Research Council; and managing Directorate-level coordination of suborbital-class flight programs.

Previously, Dr. New was the Astrobiology Discipline Scientist and Discovery Program Lead Scientist in the Planetary Science Division in the SMD. In these positions, he led teams and provided expert advice on strategies, technology development, grant and mission selections, and program assignments to the Agency’s senior leaders to enable timely and well-informed decisions related to Planetary Science programs and strategic plans.

Before coming to NASA Headquarters, Dr. New performed research in the Exobiology Branch of NASA’s Ames Research Center in northern California and served as the Acting Deputy Branch Chief for that organization. Dr. New’s research interests are very wide, encompassing the biophysics of basic life processes, the statistical analysis of complex ecological experiments, machine learning, bio-informatics and the application of complexity theory and computer science to the origin of life.

Dr. New graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 1988 with a BS degree in Chemistry. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Physics at Columbia University with Dr. Bruce Berne and has performed post-doctoral research at UC Berkeley (with Dr. David Chandler) and UC San Francisco (with Dr. Andrew Pohorille). He is an Eagle Scout.

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Michael New was born and raised in New York City, specifically the Bronx and Queens. Tired of the fast-paced urban experience, he decamped to the wilds of New Haven, CT. After four years of experiments aimed at settling the age-old question of whether Pepe's or Sally's made the better pizza ended inconclusively, Yale University banished him from Elm City with a BS in chemistry. Undeterred, he returned home, where he earned a PhD in chemical physics at Columbia University in 1994. In search of the world's worst pastrami sandwich, he then relocated to the left coast, specifically to the People's Republic of Berkeley, where he held post-doctoral positions in the UC Berkeley chemistry department and the UC San Francisco department of pharmaceutical chemistry. He is quick to point out that, due to the presence of deer in his backyard, Berkeley is the most rural place he has ever lived.

Following a long-time addiction to "Star Trek," Michael joined the civil servant staff of the Exobiology Branch at NASA Ames Research Center in 1998. He was disappointed when he wasn't issued a phaser and a stretchy red shirt. In 2001, Michael agreed, despite the advice of friends and strangers alike, to become the Deputy Branch Chief where he dealt with several major safety and financial crises, in the process learning more than he never wanted to know about the Legionella bacterium and full-cost accounting. Shaken by this compound exposure to bacteria and accounting, and having discovered the worst pastrami sandwich in the world (in a deli in Berkeley who's name must not be spoken aloud) and an unexplainable interest in NASA management, Michael relocated back to the east and became the Astrobiology Discipline Scientist at NASA HQ.