sci24011 — Announcement

Leadership Changes at Gemini Observatory

February 12, 2024

Scott Dahm — Interim Director of Gemini Observatory

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Scott Dahm as the International Gemini Observatory’s Interim Director. Nominated by NOIRLab’s Director Patrick McCarthy and confirmed by the Gemini Board, Dahm stepped into his new role in January 2024. Dahm was previously the Deputy Director of Gemini Observatory.

Dahm will succeed Jennifer Lotz who served as Director of Gemini Observatory since 2018. This month, Lotz will begin her five-year appointment as Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab thanks Jennifer Lotz for her excellent tenure as Gemini Director.

Dahm received his PhD in astronomy from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa under George Herbig, on the study of young stellar clusters. He subsequently served as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech, a staff astronomer at W. M. Keck Observatory and as the Chief Scientist and acting Station Director for Naval Observatory, Flagstaff Station. Scott is also a retired US Naval Officer.

NOIRLab has launched a search for the next Gemini Director to lead Gemini Observatory through its next phase.

Elena Sabbi — Gemini Chief Scientist

We are also pleased to announce the appointment of Elena Sabbi as Gemini Chief Scientist. Sabbi started in this role in January 2024 and is joining us from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

Sabbi is an expert in star formation and stellar evolution, focusing on young massive star clusters in nearby galaxies. Born and raised in Italy, she earned a Laurea and a PhD (2005) in astronomy from Bologna University. Subsequently, she held a postdoctoral position at the Space Telescope Science Institute from 2005 to 2007, and from 2007 to 2008 at the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (Heidelberg, Germany). In 2008 she returned to STScI as an ESA/AURA astronomer, to support the fourth Hubble Servicing Mission. She led the Wide Field Camera 3 Team from 2015 to 2019. In 2019, Elena guided the NIRSpec Team in the preparation of and through the successful commissioning of the most complex JWST instrument. 

In 2022 Sabbi assumed the position of Deputy Mission Head of the Science Mission Office at STScI. She has authored over 100 publications on star and cluster formation and evolution.