Senate Faculty


Jessica Lu

Ph.D. 2008 - UCLA
S.B. 2000 - MIT

-Associate Professor of Astronomy; Astronomy Department Chair

259 Campbell Hall


Moving Universe Lab website

Download CV (as a pdf)

Specialty areas

Adaptive optics,Astrometry,Black holes,Galactic Centers,Optical/infrared instrumentation,Resolved Stellar Populations,Star and Cluster Formation,The Stellar Initial Mass Function.

Research Interests

The Moving Universe Lab, led by Prof. Lu, is conducting a search for free-floating stellar-mass black holes in the Milky Way using gravitational 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 precise astrometry (positions) and photometry (brightness) extracted from high resolution infrared images from both 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 Roman Space Telescope.

Current Group Members


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