The Team

Bramson group member
Dr. Ali M. Bramson, Principal Investigator/Assistant Professor

Ali studies problems related to understanding the quantitative geomorphology of other planets, especially the physical processes related to ice and volatiles that affect the surfaces of solid bodies in our solar system. She tackles these problems using a combination of spacecraft remote sensing observations (especially radar) and theoretical modeling, supplemented by occasional field work at terrestrial analog sites and experimental studies. Her research on Martian mid-latitude ice is helping to shape the future of in situ resource utilization and human exploration of Mars.

Ali has a BS in physics and astronomy-physics with a certificate (minor) in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Go Badgers! She received her MS and PhD in planetary sciences with a minor in geosciences from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. Bear down! She ienjoys being back in the Big Ten as an assistant professor at Purdue University. Boiler up!

Ali's Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Bramson group member
Kris Laferriere, Graduate Student

Kris completed her B.S. in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park and joined Purdue in Fall 2020. She is interested in volatile driven surface processes across the Solar System. Kris' research is focused on the volatile transport and climatic history on Mars through radar observations of the polar spiral troughs. Her previous research includes studying cometary comas and analyzing variability of spectral signatures for lunar hydration.

Kris' Website

Bramson group member
Riley McGlasson, Graduate Student

Riley joined Purdue in Fall 2020 as a PhD student. She earned her B.A. in physics with an emphasis in astronomy and a math minor from Macalester College in May 2020. There, through the Arecibo Observatory REU program, she discovered her love for radar observations while developing a radar-based model of the asteroid Midas. Her current research interests involve radar and planetary ices, and her research in the Bramson lab is focused on how radar observations of ice in the lab and in the field can help us to better identify ice elsewhere in the Solar System. In her free time, Riley enjoys hiking, cooking, and playing roller derby.

Riley's Website

Bramson group member
Santa Lucía Pérez Cortés, Graduate Student

Santa Lucía Pérez Cortés received her BS in Geology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus in June 2022. During her undergraduate studies, she worked on research related to eolian geomorphology looking at scouring pits in the Medusa Fossae Formation and depressions across North Polar dunes on Mars. Currently, Santa is focused on studying the formation of landslides on different planetary bodies across the Solar System. She enjoys hiking, reading, and (whenever she gets the chance to go back home) warm weather.

Bramson group member
Kristel Izquierdo, Postdoctoral Researcher

Kristel joined Purdue in Spring 2021 as a postdoctoral researcher. She is interested in the interior structure, origin and evolution of the terrestrial planets and our Moon. During her PhD at the University of Maryland, she used GRAIL data to constrain lunar density anomalies. She is excited to learn about the history of Mars and work on migration models of the polar spiral troughs within the Bramson research group. She will also continue her lunar research, working with Prof. Mike Sori. In her free time, she loves playing with her two dogs and playing a good match of beach volleyball.

Kris' Website

Bramson group member
Sara Cuevas Quiñones, Undergraduate Researcher

Sara is a senior from Puerto Rico double majoring in Physics and Planetary Sciences, with a minor in Philosophy. In the Bramson group at Purdue, she is researching crater morphology. During Summer 2021, she participated in Georgia Tech’s Planetary Sciences REU program, where she studied Jezero Mons, Mars and characterized its morphological and mineralogical properties in order to gain insight into its origin. In Summer 2022, Sara was a research assistant in the subLIME Astrochemistry lab as NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. During Summer 2023, she participated in an internship at Stanford. Outside of the academic life she enjoys playing guitar, reading, and just being outside.

Bramson group member
Christina Sowinski, Undergraduate Researcher

Christina is a sophomore from Union City, Indiana double majoring in Planetary Science and Geology & Geophysics. She is studying scouring pits in the Medusae Fossae Formation with Santa Lucía and hopes that gaining a better understanding of these aeolian features will provide insight into the MFF's composition and origin. In her free time, Christina enjoys hiking with her dog, backpacking, and playing frisbee.

Bramson group member
Alex Gleason, Undergraduate Researcher

Alex is an undergraduate student from a rural town in Ohio who is majoring in Physics and minoring in Astronomy and Mathematics. He is working with Kris Laferriere to model ice stability and volatile transport on the Moon. In his free time, he likes to play extreme sports such as cliff diving, white water rafting, and wing walking!

Bramson group member
Dong Jae (DJ) Lee, Geodata Science Master's Student

Dong Jae completed his B.S. with a double major in Earth Science and Computational Science from Seoul National University, Korea. He worked as a polar researcher at the Korean Polar Institute, including being stationed for more than a year in Antarctica as a overwinter team for the King Sejong Base. Currently, DJ is focused on ML assisted remote sensing and data science applications for planetary science including the polar region of Mars. He played baseball in college and enjoys traveling and Korean movies.


Former Team Members

  • Ashwin Nomi (AAE major)
    Undergraduate Research Project: Lunar water stability

  • Holden Gehringer (Planetary Sciences/Geology double major)
    Undergraduate Research Project: Topographic analysis of Martian channel systems and comparison of Indiana and Martian glacial landscapes

  • Phylindia Gant (Purdue Staff Member)
    Semester Independent Research Project: Modeling temperature conditions in Martian mid-latitude ice as relevant for cold-adapted microorganisms

  • Nachiket Watane (AAE major),
    Helen Herring (AAE/Planetary Sciences double major),
    Briar Qualizza (Planetary Sciences major),
    Emma Rogers (Geology/Planetary Sciences double major)
    Undergraduate Group Project: Design a mission architecture and science traceability matrix for a hypothetical Mars ice sample return mission, which they named the Mars Parcel Express