Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Melissa Ugelow



Org Code: 693

Mail Code: 693
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Employer: NASA

Brief Bio

Dr. Melissa Ugelow is an analytical and atmospheric chemist interested in studying the complex atmospheric chemistry that results in organic aerosols and ice clouds in planetary atmospheres. During her Ph.D. work, she primarily experimentally studied the optical and chemical properties of organic aerosols relevant to planetary atmospheres. As a NASA Postdoctoral Program fellow in the Spectroscopy for Planetary ICes Environments (SPICE) laboratory, she experimentally studied organic ices relevant to Titan's stratosphere. Following her postdoc, she currently performs laboratory IR transmission spectroscopy on thin ice films composed of nitrile and hydrocarbon ices in order to quantify the chemical identification of Titan’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS)-observed co-condensed stratospheric ice clouds, along with understanding their formation pathways and structural properties.


Postdoctoral Fellow

Administered by Universities Space Research Association - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

August 2018 - August 2021

Research Space Scientist

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

August 2021 - Present


2012 - B.S., Chemistry, Muhlenberg College

2018 - Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder

  • Dissertation "Laboratory Studies of Planetary Atmospheres and Organic Hazes"
  • Adviser: Margaret Tolbert


2018: NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship; "Laboratories Studies of UV-Irradiated Titan Stratospheric Ices Spanning 0.85 to 200 µm"

2017: NASA OSSI Internship; "Stable Isotope Fractionation in Titan Aerosol Formation"

2014-2017: NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship; "Understanding the Role of Benzene in the Composition and Formation of Titan's Haze"

2012-2013: Teaching Excellence Award; Chemistry Department, University of Colorado Boulder 


Investigating the Optical Properties of Coupled Aerosol and Ice Cloud Particles in Titan's Stratosphere

FLARE Internal Scientist work package - NASA GSFC, NASA NRA #: ISFM - Awarded: 2019-11-25

Dates: 2020-07-01  - 2021-06-30

Laboratory Studies on the Chemical, Optical, and Physical Properties of Titan’s Cassini CIRS-Observed Stratospheric Ice Clouds

ROSES Cassini Data Analysis Program (CDAP) - NASA HQ (NNH20ZDA001N) - Awarded: 2020-09-28

Dates: 2021-01-01  - 2023-12-31

V-WiSHeS: Venus Wideband Submillimeter Heterodyne Spectrometer

ROSES Maturation of Instruments for Solar System Exploration (MatISSE) - NASA HQ, NASA (NRA#: NNH20ZDA001N) - Awarded: 0000-00-00

Dates: 2021-04-01  - 2024-03-31



Bower, D., G. Chin, T. Livengood, et al. T. Hewagama, C. Anderson, M. Ugelow, C. I. Honniball, P. Racette, and S. Aslam. 2022. The CORGIE Instrument Suite: Understanding Hydrogeologic Cycles on Planetary Bodies Through In Situ Characterization of Surface-Atmosphere Interactions Optimizing Planetary In Situ Surface-Atmosphere Interaction Investigations Workshop, Boise, Idaho, LPI Contribution No. 2685 id. 7008

Ugelow, M. S., and C. M. Anderson. 2022. Optical Properties of Cyanoacetylene Ices in the Far- to Near-infrared with Direct Relevance to Titan's Stratospheric Ice Clouds The Planetary Science Journal 3 (4): 77 [10.3847/psj/ac596f]

Ugelow, M. S., J. L. Berry, E. C. Browne, and M. A. Tolbert. 2020. The Impact of Molecular Oxygen on Anion Composition in a Hazy Archean Earth Atmosphere Astrobiology 20 (5): 658-669 [10.1089/ast.2019.2145]

Berry, J. L., M. S. Ugelow, M. A. Tolbert, and E. C. Browne. 2019. The Influence of Gas-phase Chemistry on Organic Haze Formation The Astrophysical Journal Letters 885 (1): L6 [10.3847/2041-8213/ab4b5b]

Berry, J. L., M. S. Ugelow, M. A. Tolbert, and E. C. Browne. 2019. Chemical Composition of Gas-Phase Positive Ions during Laboratory Simulations of Titan’s Haze Formation ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 3 (2): 202-211 [10.1021/acsearthspacechem.8b00139]

Howell, S. M., L. Chou, M. Thompson, et al. M. C. Bouchard, S. Cusson, M. L. Marcus, H. B. Smith, S. Bhattaru, J. J. Blalock, S. Brueshaber, S. Eggl, E. R. Jawin, K. Miller, M. Rizzo, K. Steakley, N. H. Thomas, K. R. Trent, M. Ugelow, C. J. Budney, K. L. Mitchell, and L. Lowes. 2018. Camilla: A centaur reconnaissance and impact mission concept Planetary and Space Science 164 184-193 [10.1016/j.pss.2018.07.008]

Ugelow, M. S., D. O. Haan, S. M. Hörst, and M. A. Tolbert. 2018. The Effect of Oxygen on Organic Haze Properties The Astrophysical Journal Letters 859 (1): L2 [10.3847/2041-8213/aac2c7]

Hörst, S. M., C. He, M. S. Ugelow, et al. A. M. Jellinek, R. T. Pierrehumbert, and M. A. Tolbert. 2018. Exploring the Atmosphere of Neoproterozoic Earth: The Effect of O2 on Haze Formation and Composition The Astrophysical Journal 858 (2): 119 [10.3847/1538-4357/aabd7d]

Hörst, S. M., Y. H. Yoon, M. S. Ugelow, et al. A. H. Parker, R. Li, J. A. de Gouw, and M. A. Tolbert. 2018. Laboratory investigations of Titan haze formation: In situ measurement of gas and particle composition Icarus 301 136-151 [10.1016/j.icarus.2017.09.039]

Ugelow, M. S., K. J. Zarzana, D. A. Day, J. L. Jimenez, and M. A. Tolbert. 2017. The optical and chemical properties of discharge generated organic haze using in-situ real-time techniques Icarus 294 1-13 [10.1016/j.icarus.2017.04.028]

Szakal, C., M. S. Ugelow, J. M. Gorham, A. R. Konicek, and R. D. Holbrook. 2014. Visualizing Nanoparticle Dissolution by Imaging Mass Spectrometry Analytical Chemistry 86 (7): 3517-3524 [10.1021/ac404153q]

Szakal, C., J. A. McCarthy, M. S. Ugelow, et al. A. R. Konicek, K. Louis, B. Yezer, A. A. Herzing, R. J. Hamers, and R. D. Holbrook. 2012. Preparation and measurement methods for studying nanoparticle aggregate surface chemistry Journal of Environmental Monitoring 14 (7): 1914 [10.1039/c2em30048f]