Senate Faculty


Jessica Lu

PhD 2008 - UCLA
- Assistant Professor of Astronomy; Astronomy Climate Advisor

259 Campbell Hall


Download Jessica’s CV (as a pdf)

Specialty areas

Adaptive optics, Astrometry, Black holes, Galactic Centers, Infrared instrumentation, Star and Cluster Formation.

Research Interests

Lu’s research group is conducting a search for free-floating stellar-mass black holes in the Milky Way using photometric and astrometric microlensing. Her group also studies how star formation changes in extreme environments such as in massive young clusters and the Galactic Center. These areas of research require high-precision astrometry and high resolution infrared images from space telescopes and ground-based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics (AO). Prof. Lu works on several instrumentation teams that aim to improve AO on the ground and infrared astrometry from space, including the Thirty Meter Telescope IRIS instrument, the ‘imaka project to test very wide-field AO, the W.M. Keck AO system, and the WFIRST Astrometry working group.

Current Group Members

  • Paolo Turri (UCB postdoc)
  • Dongwon Kim (UCB postdoc)
  • Max Service (IfA grad)
  • Siyao Jia (UCB grad)
  • Fatima Abdurrahman (UCB grad)
  • Casey Lam (UCB grad)
  • Delphine Veronese-Milin (UCB undergrad)
  • Nijaid Arredondo (UCB undergrad)
  • Nicholas Rui (UCB undergrad)
  • Steven Robinson (UCB undergrad)
  • Peter Boyle (UCB undergrad)

Former Group Members

  • Matt Hosek (PhD 2018, IfA)
  • Haynes Stephens (B.S. 2018, UCB)
  • Kelly Lockhart (PhD 2017, IfA)
  • Evan Sinukoff (PhD 2018, IfA)
  • Laurie Urban (IfA grad)
  • Elizabeth Toller (IfA grad)
  • Ding Bon Huang (IfA grad)
  • Vida Khademi (UCB undergrad)
  • Corey Mutnik (IfA undergrad)


Jessica Lu received her undergraduate degree in physics from the MIT in 2000. She worked as a software engineer in silicon valley for 3 years before returning to academia to pursue her PhD in astronomy and astrophysics at UCLA, which was granted in 2008. After completing her PhD, she was awarded a Millikan Postdoctoral Fellowship in Observational Astronomy at Caltech. She was also an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) in the University of Hawaii, Manoa before joining the IfA faculty in 2013. In the summer of 2016, Jessica joined the faculty of the UC Berkeley astronomy department.


Hunting for Black Holes

Lead:Jessica Lu

We are searching for black holes in the Milky Way using gravitational lensing. 



Lead:Jessica Lu

Ultra-wide field adaptive optics demonstrator that corrects image blurring from the Earth's atmosphere due to turbulence near the ground. 



View Jessica Lu’s Full Publications List