Karan Jani, Director
Dr. Karan Jani is an assistant professor of physics & astronomy at Vanderbilt University. He is the founding director of the Vanderbilt Lunar Labs Initiative and holds the endowed position of Cornelius Vanderbilt Dean’s Faculty. Karan’s research is at the forefront of understanding black holes and testing Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity with gravitational-wave detectors on the Earth, Moon, and space.
Karan earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics and Astronomy-Astrophysics, with a minor in Mathematics, from Pennsylvania State University. He has held visiting positions at Yale, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Canada), and the Albert Einstein Institute (Germany).
Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, Core Faculty
Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann is the Stevenson Professor of Astrophysics at Vanderbilt, the co-director of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program, and director of the EMIT program. Kelly’s research focuses on galaxy dynamics, gravitational waves, and black holes of all kinds. She is the chair of NASA’s LISA Study Team, which promises to detect merging massive black holes out to the Cosmic Dawn as well as the hum of millions of binary stellar remnants in the Milky Way.
In addition to her scientific work, Kelly is dedicated to helping build multi-messenger astronomy into a welcoming, vibrant field of diverse understanding and experiences through the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge and EMIT programs.
Robert Reed, Core Faculty
Dr. Robert Reed is a Professor of Electrical Engineering, Associate Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the principal investigator of the Vanderbilt Institute for Space and Defense Electronics (ISDE) Radiation Effects Core.
Robert’s research experience includes forward-looking research and development associated with the physics of failure of electronic and photonic devices and integrated circuits when exposed to man-made, space, and terrestrial radiation environments; developing new approaches for survivability testing of electronics and photonics; and lead radiation effects engineer for various NASA missions including Hubble Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). His work has significantly impacted the design, qualification, and verification of various commercial and radiation-hardened ICs when operated in various radiation environments.
Gabor Karsai, Faculty
Dr. Gabor Karsai is Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Vanderbilt University and Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Software-Integrated Systems. He is an external member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Gabor has over thirty years of experience in research on systems and software engineering and conducts research in the model-based design and implementation of cyber-physical systems. He has worked on several large projects in the past, including one on fault-adaptive control technology that is used in aerospace applications, and on an information architecture platform for managed distributed real-time embedded software for fractionated spacecraft. More recently, he has worked on the assurance-driven development of cyber-physical systems with learning-enabled (AI) software components.
Michael Alles, Faculty
Dr. Michael Alles is a Research Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), and the Acting Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Space and Defense Electronics (ISDE). Prior to returning to Vanderbilt, he spent 12 years in the semiconductor industry working in silicon-in-insulator (SOI) technology development, manufacturing, metrology, computer aided design tools for semiconductor fabrication processes, semiconductor device physics, and integrated circuit design.
His current research focuses on the application of advanced and emerging semiconductor technologies in radiation environments, and modeling and simulation of radiation effects in semiconductor devices and circuits. Dr. Alles currently leads the Radiation-Hardened Microelectronics Technical Vertical of the multi-university SCALE Workforce Development Program. He is a member of IEEE EDS and NPSS and has over 250 publications and 2 patents.
Zachary Hoelscher, Graduate Student
Zachary Hoelscher is an Astrophysics PhD student at Vanderbilt University. He completed a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a B.S. in Physics at Virginia Tech. He has experience working with large rocket motors at Northrop Grumman, as well as experience conducting research in both pure math and in gamma ray astronomy. He is also a licensed pilot and enjoys both painting and flying when not working.