PHaSER universities bring approximately 80 scientists already working in HSD, many long established in the division and with strong connections to the universities and HSD civil servants. PHaSER researchers will engage closely with HSD scientists to carry out the science and technical objectives detailed on the page Our Science. PHaSER scientists, including postdocs and students, will be attached to one of the HSD labs according to their areas of specialties and sponsors. Each scientist will work within the framework of the laboratory to help accomplish his/her portion of the laboratory objectives depending on level of experience. For example, Senior Research Scientists show independence, initiative, and creative thought in their work, whereas Assistant Research Scientists may require more careful direction. We expect that some PHaSER scientists will be assigned high level responsibility for a specific task or function. Although PHaSER scientists may be more formally affiliated with a given laboratory, we encourage collaborations with researchers from other laboratories, and as much as possible help to remove the barriers to such inter-laboratory collaboration.

Each researcher is networked to science management, faculty liaisons, and administrators, all with representation from the partner institutions, as illustrated by the following diagram.



Qualifications of the PHaSER management team members

Robert Robinson, CUA, Director.  Dr. Robinson is the PI for the CEPHEUS cooperative agreement.  As a Program Director at NSF, he managed a portfolio of cooperative agreements for the management and operation of the U. S. network of incoherent scatter radars and was the disciplinary technical coordinator for the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling (CISM). 

Jeffrey W. Brosius, CUA, Deputy Director. Dr. Brosius is the deputy PI for the CEPHEUS cooperative agreement.  He has been working in the Solar Physics Laboratory at GSFC since 1985, where he has been PI on NASA and NSF grants, a Co-I on SERTS, AIA, and EUNIS, has coordinated numerous observing campaigns, and was a frequent planner of CDS science operations.  He has mentored DC public school teachers and chaired the SPD Popular Writing Awards committee.

Vadim M. Uritsky, CUA, Faculty Liaison. Dr. Uritsky is an associate professor and Director of the Applied Space Weather Research Master’s degree program at CUA.  He leads CUA’s Space Weather Center, which plays a significant role in the CUA/NASA GSFC collaboration. He has advised a half dozen graduate students conducting research at GSFC.

Gina Martin, CUA, Senior Business Manager.  Ms. Martin has been the Senior Financial Liaison and Budget Officer for the CEPHEUS Cooperative Agreement for the last 8 years.  With more than 25 years’ experience in financial and budgetary roles in the Federal, academic and scientific workspaces, she will coordinate the daily operations of the Inner Core Management Team, providing logistical support for PHaSER scientists and for the administrative and financial interactions with the COTR, sponsors, resource analysts, procurement, and security.

Jan Merka, UMBC, Associate Director and Faculty Liaison. Dr. Merka is the Director of Goddard Planetary Heliophysics Institute and an Associate Research Scientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He has 10 years of experience leading the GPHI cooperative agreement, where his research focuses on solar wind and magnetospheric studies combining spacecraft observations with models. 

Margo Young, UMBC, Administration and Finance Director. Ms. Young is the Director of the Earth & Space Research Administration at UMBC. Ms. Young brings over 14 years experience managing cooperative agreements at GSFC and a history of 27 years managing dynamic teams.

Surjalal Sharma, UMCP, Associate Director and Faculty Liaison. Dr. Sharma is Associate Director of Goddard Planetary Heliophysics Institute and a Principal Research Scientist in the Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park. He has developed and run multi-institutional teams in plasma physics, space exploration, complex systems and data-driven modeling.

Jie Zhang, GMU, Associate Director and Faculty Liaison. Dr. Zhang is a full professor in solar physics who has been at GMU for 20 years. He is the associate chair of research in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at GMU and is one of the co-founders of the space weather and heliospheric physics research and education program at GMU that started in 2003. He has co-directed graduate students and postdocs with HSD scientists.

Robert Weigel, GMU, Faculty Liaison.  Dr. Weigel is an associate professor who has been at GMU for 14 years. He has served as the PI of multiple sub-contracts from CUA through CEPHEUS and co-directed graduate students and postdocs with GSFC scientists. He is or has been the PI of 11 research grants from NASA and NSF.

Erdal Yiğit, GMU, Faculty Liaison.  Dr. Yiğit is an associate professor in physics at George Mason University.  He was a recipient of the 2016 Zeldovich Medal jointly presented by COSPAR and the Russian Academy of Sciences and has led the organization of multiple international workshops.  He is currently a vice-chair of COSPAR’s commission C.

Linda Parker, USRA, Associate Director. Dr. Parker is Director of USRA’s Science and Technology Institute and manages a cooperative agreement in Heliophysics, Astrophysics, and Earth Science supporting the Marshall Space Flight Center Science and Technology Department.  She is also the Deputy for Space Weather and Spacecraft Charging to the NASA Space Environments Technical Fellow.

Marcus Alfred, HU, Associate Director.  Dr. Alfred is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Howard University.  Dr. Alfred along with several other Howard faculty have led a successful effort to strengthen Space Science at Howard University and to develop closer ties with NASA GSFC.  Dr. Alfred is also the Associate Director at HU for CRESST II.

As PHaSER management and faculty have a broad view of HSD programs, these participants assist in exploring connections and collaborations with other researchers, both within HSD and at other domestic and foreign institutions, and seek opportunities to include undergraduates and graduates as well as sabbatical faculty at PHaSER universities. PHaSER staff assists in integrating visiting scientists into the organizational structure of the laboratories. This helps establish extended teams of scientists to effectively address complex science problems and mission-driven research. Thus, PHaSER represents a network as much as a partnership. When appropriate, PHaSER scientists assume responsibility for leading project teams, allowing them to expand their experience and build their research portfolios. 

Key Personnel (EC:  5.4TA-c)

We identify 14 key personnel who have made outstanding contributions to the scientific and technical accomplishments in HSD. The following Exhibit lists the affiliations of each, along with the laboratories with which their research expertise is most closely aligned. This sampling of the full list of current staff is representative of the breadth and depth of the skills and diversity among the staff currently employed by PHaSER partner institutions. Although researchers have a primary affiliation with a single laboratory, many conduct scientific studies in two or more laboratories, and several work with other science divisions at GSFC. 

Key Personnel


Nelson Reginald (671)

Burcu Kosar (675)
Christina Kay (671)
Jia Yue (674, 675)
Karin Muglach (674)
Seiji Yashiro (671)
Erin Dawkins (675)


Denny Oliveira (673)
Andriy Koval (672)


Ian Richardson (673)
Natalya Buzulukova (673)
Jason Shuster (673)
Shan Wang (673)


Dieter Bilitza (672)