Vicky Kalogera
IDEAS PI, E.O. Haven Professor and Associate Chair Department of Physics and Astronomy, CIERA Director

Vicky Kalogera was appointed Assistant Professor at Northwestern University in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2001, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006, was named the Erastus Otis Haven Professor of Physics and Astronomy in 2009, and was appointed Associate Chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department in 2015. She is a co-founder and current Director of CIERA, the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics.

Kalogera serves on the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics of the National Research Council and the Executive Board of Directors of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Corporation (LSSTC). In 2010 she was elected in the Chair-line of the APS Division of Computational Physics, and she currently serves as the Division’s past Chair.

Kalogera’s research interests are in the astrophysics of compact objects and in particular their formation and evolution in multiple stellar systems. She studies the physical properties of X-ray binaries, millisecond radio pulsars and double compact objects in our own and other galaxies and works on the theoretical interpretation of current observations of their electromagnetic emission and their anticipated gravitational radiation. She has expanded into projects in gravitational-wave data analysis and astrophysical modeling involving methods from applied mathematics, statistics, and computer science, with extensive use of high-performance computing. Within the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, Kalogera led the work on astrophysical implications of the historic gravitational-wave discovery announced in early 2016.

View Vicky’s full CV here.


Aggelos Katsaggelos
Joseph Cummings Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

In 1985, Aggelos K. Katsaggelos joined the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University. He is currently a professor, holder of the AT&T Chair (previously holder of the Ameritech Chair). He is the Director of the Motorola Center for Seamless Communications, an Academic Affiliate Staff in the Department of Medicine at NorthShore University HealthCare Systems, an affiliated faculty in Northwestern’s Department of Linguistics, and an appointee at the Argonne National Laboratory.

Katsaggelos is the editor of Digital Image Restoration (Springer-Verlag 1991), co-author of Rate-Distortion Based Video Compression (Kluwer 1997), co-editor of Recovery Techniques for Image and Video Compression and Transmission, (Kluwer 1998), and co-author of Super-Resolution of Images and Video (Morgan & Claypool Publishers 2007) and Joint Source-Channel Video Transmission (Morgan & Claypool Publishers 2007).

Prof. Katsaggelos is currently a member of the IEEE Technical Committee on Visual Signal Processing and Communications, and the Editorial Boards of Academic Press, Marcel Dekker: Signal Processing Series, the International Journal on Image and Video Processing, and Advances in Multimedia.  He is a Fellow of the IEEE (1998) and SPIE (2009), the co-inventor of seventeen international patents.  Dr. Katsaggelos is also a frequent consultant to legal, industrial, and academic institutions.

His current research interests include multimedia signal processing (e.g., image and video recovery and compression, audio-visual speech and speaker recognition, indexing and retrieval), multimedia communications, computer vision, pattern recognition, and DNA signal processing.

View Aggelos’ full CV here.


Lois Trautvetter
Director of Higher Education Administration and Policy, Associate Professor School of Education and Social Policy

Lois Calian Trautvetter is director of Northwestern University’s Higher Education Administration and Policy Program and associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy. Her research interests include faculty and professional development issues such as productivity, enhancing research and teaching, motivation, faculty-student interaction, and new and junior faculty, as well as holistic college student development, including spiritual development. Her co-authored book is Putting Students First: How Colleges Develop Students Purposefully.

Trautvetter’s current research involves engineering education through a National Science Foundation-sponsored grant titled “Prototyping the Engineer for 2020.” The overarching goals involve identifying curricular, instructional, cultural and organizational factors that produce graduates with the attributes of the engineer of 2020 (e.g., design and problem solving, contextual competence and interdisciplinary skills) as well as factors supporting recruitment and retention of women and historically underrepresented minority students.

Additional professional interests include gender issues in the STEM disciplines and professional development for K-12 teachers to improve math and science teaching. She also holds patents as a chemist in the coatings and resins industry.

View Lois’ full CV here.


Suzan van der Lee
Professor of Earth and Planetary Science, Director of Computing

Suzan van der Lee has been a professor at Northwestern University since 2003.  Dr. van der Lee received an undergraduate degree in geophysics from the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) where she operated the NARS-NL mobile seismic network. She earned a PhD from Princeton University in 1996, using seismic waveform tomography to develop the first high-resolution three-dimensional image of the structure of Earth’s mantle beneath North America.

After her Ph.D. defense she joined the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, DC. There, she explored the mantle structure beneath South America, which highlighted the effects of subducted water on the constitution of the mantle beneath arc volcanoes and led to new imaging techniques. Dr. van der Lee also installed a portable seismic array in Zimbabwe and South Africa as part of the Kaapvaal Craton Project.

During her subsequent five-year lectureship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), she taught advanced undergraduate courses, supervised Ph.D. students, and proposed and managed research projects such as the MIDSEA project in the Mediterranean region (including seismic stations on remote islands and in northern Africa), as well as the BLSP02 project in Brazil.

Dr. van der Lee’s current research involves imaging fiducial structure of the Earth’s manle and crust, the role of a deep water cycle on the activity and sustenance of plate tectonics, the detection and classification of small seismic events and ambient seismic noise, and the interpretation of campaign and permanent-network seismic data (including EarthScope’s SPREE and USArray) to unravel the dynamics of the solid Earth through time.

View Suzan’s full CV here.


Michael Schmitt
Professor and Department Chair of Physics and Astronomy

Michael Schmitt and his research group study processes initiated by the collisions of extremely high energy protons and anti-protons. As a member of the CDF Collaboration at Fermilab, he has access to data which directly probes the smallest distance scales of any experiment in the world. His research emphasizes the electroweak sector of the Standard Model, as well as searches for new particles and new phenomena. Schmitt’s research group also carries responsibilities for the CDF detector.

Schmitt is a member of the CMS Collaboration at CERN (in Geneva, Switzerland) which started collecting data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) starting in 2007.  He has is also a part of the LSST Collaboration. The LSST is a large-scale telescope that will revolutionize astrophysics; Schmitt expect to devote a significant fraction of his research time to LSST in this decade.

Prof. Schmitt’s other primary research interests lie in the field of Experimental Particle Physics. He has done most of his research on collider experiments in the United States and in Europe. He has a strong interest in statistical methods as applied within particles physics and his main interest is currently with the study of supernovae to improve understanding of dark energy.

View Michael’s full CV here.


Michelle Paulsen photo

Michelle Paulsen
Director of Education Outreach and Communications Programs for CIERA

Michelle Paulsen is the program director for IDEAS and a co-investigator and director of an assortment of education, outreach, and communication programs for CIERA. She is the co-founder and director of RSG, Northwestern’s research communication training program for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. She has degrees in Chemistry, Environmental Engineering, and School Leadership and has taught and designed educational programs for students from preschool to graduate school.

View Michelle’s full CV here.