Dr. Gina A DiBraccio

Dr. Gina A DiBraccio

  • Research AST, Fields and Particles
  • 301.614.6692
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 695
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: NASA
  • Brief Bio

    Dr. Gina DiBraccio is a Research Astrophysicist in the Planetary Magnetospheres Laboratory of the Solar System Exploration Division at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Her research focuses on magnetospheric physics and solar wind-planetary interactions for both intrinsic and induced planetary magnetospheres. More specifically, Dr. DiBraccio studies the transfer of energy through space plasmas and magnetic fields via magnetic reconnection.

    As the Project Scientist of NASA’s MAVEN mission, she is actively pursuing the effects of the solar wind on atmospheric escape at Mars in order to understand the planet’s climate evolution. Her role on MAVEN’s Magnetometer team includes supporting the careful calibration and processing of data for scientific analysis. Dr. DiBraccio is also a member of NASA’s MESSENGER mission science team where she has explored magnetospheric dynamics at Mercury including magnetopause reconnection, magnetic flux rope formation, and the effects of extreme solar events. Additionally, she has been involved in research at Jupiter and Saturn, utilizing data from the Cassini and Juno missions.

    Dr. DiBraccio received her Ph.D. in Space Science from University of Michigan’s College of Engineering in 2014. Her thesis work investigated magnetic reconnection and space plasma dynamics throughout Mercury’s magnetosphere. She also holds a Master’s degree in Atmospheric and Space Sciences from the University of Michigan and two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in Physics & Astronomy and Business Administration.

    Research Interests

    Magnetospheric physics

    Solar wind-planetary interactions

    Magnetic reconnection in intrinsic and induced planetary magnetospheres

    Current Projects

    MAVEN Project Science Group Member

    MESSENGER Science Working Team Member

    Positions/Employment

    6/2017 - Present

    Research Astrophysicist

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
    4/2017 - 5/2017

    Research Scientist

    University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); Center for Space Science and Technology II (CRESST II), Greenbelt, MD
    9/2016 - 3/2017

    Research Scientist I

    Universities Space Research Association (USRA); Center for Space Science and Technology (CRESST), Greenbelt, MD
    8/2014 - 8/2016

    NASA Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Oak Ridge Associated Universities, NASA GSFC: Greenbelt, MD
    5/2014 - 8/2014

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
    9/2009 - 5/2014

    Graduate Student Research Assistant

    Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
    1/2009 - 4/2012

    NASA Co-op Student

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
    9/2008 - 12/2008

    NASA Co-op Student

    NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH
    6/2008 - 8/2008

    NASA LERCIP Intern

    NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

    Education

    University of Michigan, College of Engineering, Ann Arbor, MI

    • Ph.D., 2014, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences
    • M.S., 2010, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences

    University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    • B.S., 2009, Physics & Astronomy
    • B.S., 2009, Business Administration


    DISSERTATION
    DiBraccio, G.A. (2014), Observations of Magnetic Reconnection and Plasma Dynamics in Mercury’s Magnetosphere, University of Michigan (http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/108893)
    Thesis Committee: James A. Slavin, Thomas H. Zurbuchen, Daniel N. Baker, Suzanne M. Imber, Mark Kushner

    Professional Societies

    Society of Women Engineers, 2009 - 2014
    American Geophysical Union, 2009 - Present
    European Geosciences Union, 2012 - Present
    American Astronomical Society, Division for Planetary Sciences, 2012 - Present

    Professional Service

    • Reviewer: Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics
    • Reviewer: Planetary and Space Science
    • Reviewer: Geophysical Research Letters
    • NASA ROSES review panel member

    Awards

    • NASA’s Robert H Goddard Group Achievement Award to MAVEN Science Team; 2016
    • Selected participant of the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting; 2016
    • NASA’s Robert H Goddard Honor Award: Presented to the MAVEN Science Team for Exceptional Achievement in Science; 2015
    • NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellowship; 2014
    • Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant; 2014
    • Invited participant of the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) workshop on “Plasma Sources of Solar System Magnetospheres”; 2013
    • Rackham International Research Award; 2013
    • AGU Outstanding Student Paper Award – Planetary Sciences; 2012

    Selected Publications

    Refereed

    DiBraccio, G. A., J. Dann, J. R. Espley, et al. J. R. Gruesbeck, Y. Soobiah, J. E. Connerney, J. S. Halekas, Y. Harada, C. F. Bowers, D. A. Brain, S. Ruhunusiri, T. Hara, and B. M. Jakosky. 2017. "MAVEN observations of tail current sheet flapping at Mars." Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122 (4): 4308-4324 [10.1002/2016ja023488]

    DiBraccio, G. A., J. R. Espley, J. R. Gruesbeck, et al. J. E. Connerney, D. A. Brain, J. S. Halekas, D. L. Mitchell, J. P. McFadden, Y. Harada, R. Livi, G. Collinson, T. Hara, C. Mazelle, and B. M. Jakosky. 2015. "Magnetotail dynamics at Mars: Initial MAVEN observations." Geophys. Res. Lett., 42: [10.1002/2015GL065248]

    DiBraccio, G. A., J. A. Slavin, J. M. Raines, et al. D. J. Gershman, P. J. Tracy, S. A. Boardsen, T. H. Zurbuchen, B. J. Anderson, H. Korth, and R. L. McNutt. 2015. "First observations of Mercury’s plasma mantle as seen by MESSENGER." Geophys. Res. Lett., 42: [10.1002/2015GL065805]

    DiBraccio, G. A., J. A. Slavin, S. M. Imber, et al. D. J. Gershman, J. M. Raines, C. M. Jackman, S. A. Boardsen, B. J. Anderson, H. Korth, T. H. Zurbuchen, R. L. McNutt, and S. C. Solomon. 2014. "MESSENGER observations of flux ropes in Mercury’s magnetotail." Planet. Space Sci., 115: [10.1016/j.pss.2014.12.016]

    DiBraccio, G. A., J. A. Slavin, S. A. Boardsen, et al. B. J. Anderson, H. Korth, T. H. Zurbuchen, J. M. Raines, D. N. Baker, R. L. McNutt, and S. C. Solomon. 2013. "MESSENGER observations of magnetopause structure and dynamics at Mercury." J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 119: [10.1002/2013JA019388]

    Brief Bio

    Dr. Gina DiBraccio is a Research Astrophysicist in the Planetary Magnetospheres Laboratory of the Solar System Exploration Division at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Her research focuses on magnetospheric physics and solar wind-planetary interactions for both intrinsic and induced planetary magnetospheres. More specifically, Dr. DiBraccio studies the transfer of energy through space plasmas and magnetic fields via magnetic reconnection.

    As the Project Scientist of NASA’s MAVEN mission, she is actively pursuing the effects of the solar wind on atmospheric escape at Mars in order to understand the planet’s climate evolution. Her role on MAVEN’s Magnetometer team includes supporting the careful calibration and processing of data for scientific analysis. Dr. DiBraccio is also a member of NASA’s MESSENGER mission science team where she has explored magnetospheric dynamics at Mercury including magnetopause reconnection, magnetic flux rope formation, and the effects of extreme solar events. Additionally, she has been involved in research at Jupiter and Saturn, utilizing data from the Cassini and Juno missions.

    Dr. DiBraccio received her Ph.D. in Space Science from University of Michigan’s College of Engineering in 2014. Her thesis work investigated magnetic reconnection and space plasma dynamics throughout Mercury’s magnetosphere. She also holds a Master’s degree in Atmospheric and Space Sciences from the University of Michigan and two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in Physics & Astronomy and Business Administration.

    Selected Publications

    Refereed

    DiBraccio, G. A., J. Dann, J. R. Espley, et al. J. R. Gruesbeck, Y. Soobiah, J. E. Connerney, J. S. Halekas, Y. Harada, C. F. Bowers, D. A. Brain, S. Ruhunusiri, T. Hara, and B. M. Jakosky. 2017. "MAVEN observations of tail current sheet flapping at Mars." Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 122 (4): 4308-4324 [10.1002/2016ja023488]

    DiBraccio, G. A., J. R. Espley, J. R. Gruesbeck, et al. J. E. Connerney, D. A. Brain, J. S. Halekas, D. L. Mitchell, J. P. McFadden, Y. Harada, R. Livi, G. Collinson, T. Hara, C. Mazelle, and B. M. Jakosky. 2015. "Magnetotail dynamics at Mars: Initial MAVEN observations." Geophys. Res. Lett. 42 [10.1002/2015GL065248]

    DiBraccio, G. A., J. A. Slavin, J. M. Raines, et al. D. J. Gershman, P. J. Tracy, S. A. Boardsen, T. H. Zurbuchen, B. J. Anderson, H. Korth, and R. L. McNutt. 2015. "First observations of Mercury’s plasma mantle as seen by MESSENGER." Geophys. Res. Lett. 42 [10.1002/2015GL065805]

    DiBraccio, G. A., J. A. Slavin, S. M. Imber, et al. D. J. Gershman, J. M. Raines, C. M. Jackman, S. A. Boardsen, B. J. Anderson, H. Korth, T. H. Zurbuchen, R. L. McNutt, and S. C. Solomon. 2014. "MESSENGER observations of flux ropes in Mercury’s magnetotail." Planet. Space Sci. 115 [10.1016/j.pss.2014.12.016]

    DiBraccio, G. A., J. A. Slavin, S. A. Boardsen, et al. B. J. Anderson, H. Korth, T. H. Zurbuchen, J. M. Raines, D. N. Baker, R. L. McNutt, and S. C. Solomon. 2013. "MESSENGER observations of magnetopause structure and dynamics at Mercury." J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics 119 [10.1002/2013JA019388]

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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