Senate Faculty


Jessica Lu

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

- Associate Professor of Astronomy; Astronomy Climate Advisor

259 Campbell Hall


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

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

  • Dongwon Kim (UCB postdoc)
  • Michael Medford (UCB grad)
  • Casey Lam (UCB grad)
  • Emily Ramey (UCB grad)
  • Undergrads:
  • Angela Cheng, Blake Dreschler, Carissa Lewis, Eden McEwen, Sam Rose, Ruoyi Yin, Ningyuan Xu, Caylan Anderson, Kingsley Ehrich, Ryota Inagaki, Natasha Abrams, Cecily Lowe, Jesus Martinez Martinez

Former Group Members

  • Surbhi Dhiman (B.S. 2020, UCB)
  • Fatima Abdurrahman (UCB grad)
  • Prakamya Agrawal  (B.S. 2020, UCB) -> U Virginia grad student
  • Siyao Jia (PhD 2020, UCB) -> Google (data scientist)
  • Paolo Turri (UCB postdoc) -> U Victoria postdoc
  • Max Service (PhD 2019, IfA) -> Gemini AO postdoc
  • Nijaid Arredondo (B.S. 2019, UCB) ->Princeton post-bacc
  • Nicholas Rui (UCB undergrad) -> Caltech grad student
  • Yingjie Cheng (B.S., Nanjing) -> UMass Amherst grad student
  • Steven Robinson (B.S. 2018, UCB)
  • Edward Broadberry (B.S. 2019, U Manchester) -> U Maryland grad student
  • Peter Boyle (B.S. 2019 UCB) -> UCLA grad student (medical physics)
  • Matt Hosek (PhD 2018, IfA) -> UCLA postdoc
  • Haynes Stephens (B.S. 2018, UCB) -> U Chicago grad student (environmental science)
  • Delphine Veronese-Milin (UCB undergrad)
  • Kelly Lockhart (PhD 2017, IfA) -> SAO/NASA ADS (data scientist)
  • Vida Khademi (UCB undergrad)
  • Evan Sinukoff (PhD 2018, IfA)
  • Laurie Urban (IfA grad)
  • Elizabeth Toller (IfA grad)
  • Ding Bon Huang (M.S., IfA)
  • 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