Debra Meloy Elmegreen


Dr. Elmegreen is Professor of Astronomy on the Maria Mitchell Chair and Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She has been a member of the faculty since 1985. Her research interests include structure, interactions, and star formation in galaxies in the local universe and at high redshift. She observes in optical, near-infrared, and radio wavelengths. Her research often involves undergraduates, through URSI (Undergraduate Research Summer Institute) and KNAC (Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium).

Dr. Elmegreen is currently President-Elect of the International Astronomical Union and Chair of the Board of Directors of AURA (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy).

She is past president of the American Astronomical Society, the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. She was invited to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy at the Vatican Observatory in 2009, visiting with Pope Benedict XVI:papal visit papal visit2

As president, she testified on behalf of the AAS to the House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies in 2011 and 2012.

Dr. Elmegreen was appointed by the National Academies to serve on the Decadal Survey Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, whose goal is to set national astronomy priorities. The recommendations became public in 2010 at a webcast. She served as Vice-Chair of the National Academies’ Board of Physics and Astronomy. She was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is past Chair of the Astronomy Section.

Dr. Elmegreen chaired the National Academies 2015 study on Optimizing the U.S. ground-based Optical and Infrared Astronomy System.


Professor of Astronomy on the Maria Mitchell Chair, Vassar College


Page first done August 1999 by Lauren Elmegreen, revised August 2018