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Ames Associate Fellow

Rick Guidice illustration of Earth and the sun

The Ames Associate Fellow is an honorary designation to recognize exceptional scientific/engineering research by Ames staff members. Appointment as Ames Associate Fellow is for a two-year term. Associate Fellows are selected based on their outstanding contributions to their fields over the last five years.

Nomination Process:

The Ames Chief Scientist shall put forth a Center-wide call for nominations. Any NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) employee may nominate a civil servant whose current work (in the past 3-5 years) has demonstrated distinguished scientific research or outstanding engineering of a non-management related nature. All nominations must be submitted to the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS), which will oversee the selection process.

All nominations must be made by someone other than the nominee. Each nomination must be accompanied by the following information:

  1. A succinct memorandum addressing the following criteria:
    • Sustained innovation and creative contributions to progress in the nominee’s field activity
    • Recognition by nominee’s peers of the quality and significance of his/her work
    • Reasonable expectation of continued high quality work by the nominee
  2. A curriculum vitae which should include the following information:
    • A list of publications
    • A list of invited talks
    • Other supporting material
  3. Two letters of recommendation of which at least one must be from outside Ames Research Center


To be eligible to be made an Ames Associate Fellow, nominees must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be currently employed by ARC;
  2. Have no less than 5 years of civil servant service at ARC;
  3. May not hold a management or non-research discipline position.

Appointment as Ames Associate Fellow Award is for a single two-year term. Appointments are made based on distinguished work over the last 3-5 years.


Ames Associate Fellows are selected every two years. The OCS reviews all nominations and provides input to the Center Director who will make the final selection. Awardees will receive the following:

  1. The title of Ames Associate Fellow for a single two-year period.
  2. A personal award of $4,000.
  3. A budget of $2,500 for travel to technical meetings over the two-year period of the award.
  4. A research stipend of $75,000 that can be spent on procurement or FTE.

Awardees will also be required to give a lecture to the Center.

If you have any questions regarding the NASA Ames Associate Fellow nomination process, eligibility, or selection, you may contact the OCS at

2022 Ames Associate Fellow

Tori Hoehler

Tori Hoehler has been at Ames since 1998, first as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow and, since 2001, as a staff scientist in the Exobiology Branch.  With a background in chemistry and oceanography, he studies microbial ecosystems on Earth to inform how we will seek evidence of life beyond Earth.  His research combines geochemical and biochemical perspectives to understand how energy availability shapes habitability and impacts the nature, abundance, and quality of evidence for life.  He has served in multiple roles in program planning, concept development, and science payload definition for missions that would seek evidence of life on Mars, Europa, and Enceladus. He founded and leads The Center for Life Detection, an Ames-based group dedicated to conducting the science and science-enabling work needed to advance our readiness for such missions.  Tori is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, and recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement and Outstanding Leadership Medals. 

Past Ames Associate Fellows


Thomas Greene
Eleanor Rieffel


David Blake
Mark S. Marley


Ethiraj Venkatapathy
Ramakrishna Nemani


Jack Lissauer
Chris Potter


Dale Cruikshank
Ruth Globus


Roger Remington
Daniel Reda


David Des Marais
Dochan Kwak


Banavar Sridhar
Kevin Zahnle


John Greenleaf
Mark Tischler

For more information about the Ames Associate Fellow Award, visit the Ames History Office at: