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Current members

Mike Sori, Principal Investigator/Assistant Professor

Mike is an assistant professor and planetary scientist at Purdue working on understanding the solid planets and moons of our Solar System through their geophysics and surface processes.  He earned his B.S. in Mathematics and B.A. in Physics from Duke University in 2008 and his Ph.D. in Planetary Science from MIT in 2014.  He uses numerical models and data from NASA spacecraft in his research, and has been involved with NASA missions such as GRAIL, Dawn, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.  Aside from planetary science, Mike enjoys travel and playing with his black lab Apollo.

The CV of PI Mike Sori can be downloaded here.

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Kristel Izquierdo, Postdoctoral Researcher

Kris 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 continuing investigations of the Moon focusing on how lunar gravity anomalies relate to surface and interior processes.  She is also working with Professor Ali Bramson on polar spiral troughs on Mars.  In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball, eating good food, and playing with her two dogs Limon and Flor.  Her personal website can be found here.

Stephanie Menten, Graduate Student

Stephanie joined Purdue in 2020 as a PhD student. She earned her B.S. in Geology from North Carolina State University in Spring 2020.  She is interested in planetary ices and volcanism, and her research is focused on understanding the mechanics of cryovolcanism on icy bodies in the outer solar system.  Stephanie is the recipient of Purdue University's Ross Fellowship, which recognizes academic excellence.  In her free time, Stephanie enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading a good book.

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Ian Pamerleau, Graduate Student

Ian joined Purdue as a PhD student in 2021 after completing his B.S. in Mathematics and Geology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2021.  His research interests include geomorphology, planetary surfaces, and fluid dynamics.  His current research project involves studying the icy crust of Ceres using observations from the Dawn spacecraft and numerical models.  Outside the lab, Ian enjoys cross country running, fencing, and playing music.

Imani Lawrence, Undergraduate Student Researcher

Imani is an undergraduate student majoring in planetary science at Purdue.  She is researching polar science on Mars using remote sensing data from orbital spacecraft, including analyzing  topography and image data of icy features.  In her free time, Imani enjoys playing tennis, exercising, and family time.


Audrey Durham, Undergraduate Student Researcher

Audrey is an undergraduate researcher majoring in Planetary Science at Purdue. She has done previous research analyzing eddy kinetic energy and atmospheric circulation on Mars. Currently, she is doing research on formations of ice mounds in craters on the Martian surface. In her free time, she enjoys to read, golf, and try new restaurants. 

Kyle Morin, Undergraduate Student Researcher

Kyle is majoring in Planetary Science and minoring in Astronomy at Purdue. He has conducted previous research on cloud particles for Exoplanets. In this group, he is researching the South Pole Aitken Basin on the Moon where he will be measuring and analyzing craters there. When not in the classroom or doing research, he enjoys going to music festivals, playing tennis, and watching science documentaries.

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Brianne Checketts, Undergraduate Student Researcher

Brianne is double majoring in Planetary Science and Physics with minors in Astronomy and French at Purdue. She is doing research on the implications of dark halo craters on the Moon’s surface with postdoctoral researcher Kristel Izquierdo. During her free time, Brianne likes hiking, baking, and reading.

Isabella Hampton, Undergraduate Student Researcher

Isabella is an undergraduate student majoring in planetary science. She is doing research on dark halo craters and crypotmaria on the Moon's surface with postdoctoral researcher Kristel Izquierdo. Outside of academics, Isabella enjoys reading, swimming, and hanging out with friends.


Katie Burkman, Undergraduate Student Researcher

Katie is an undergraduate student majoring in planetary science with a minor in Spanish at Purdue. She is currently doing research on hollows on Mercury and studying how they diffuse over time. In her free time, Katie enjoys lifting weights, playing basketball, and reading.

Apollo, The Lab's Lab

Apollo received his training degree from PetSmart University in Tucson in 2015.  He is interested in testing the strength of planetary regolith with his paws, conducting sample return of launched objects, and exploration of nearby geological landscapes.  He is named after the program that sent humans to the Moon and is therefore very excited to be at Purdue University, Cradle of Astronauts.

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