Helpful People

Please note: during COVID, the best way to contact MKI staff is by email.

Name Office Phone #
Jack Defandorf
Administrative Officer
37-261 253-6103 Supervision of HQ staff, accounting for Kavli endowment, Lab Allocation issues, coordination of offices in Buildings 37 and NE83.
Kara DeNutte
Senior Financial Officer
37-287 324-6264 Any questions pertaining to contracts and grants—travel, purchasing, prior approvals for travel and equipment. Also serves as the Parking Coordinator.
Amanda Holley
Human Resources Administrator
37-284 324-5398 MIT appointments and MIT IDs; MKI orientation; office location and keys.
Paul Hsi
Senior Systems Administrator
253-3322 Accounts for MKI High Performance Computing, Linux support
Charles Leiserson (Ricky)
IT Desktop Support Specialist

Mac OS X and Linux support; technical purchasing information; IT helpdesk

Kelley Mahoney
Grants Administrator
37-291 253-0698 Budgeting and proposal preparation, PI status requests, proposal routing, other preaward issues, post award reporting and submission of no-cost extension requests.
Debbie Meinbresse
Assistant to the Director
37-241 253-1456 landing page photo and website information; MKI mailing lists; MKI news and events; assistance with publicizing research results
Jean Papagianopoulos
Financial Administrator
37-271 253-6116 Purchasing/Subawards/Fabricated equipment requests
Kenton Phillips
Network Administrator

Computer accounts for Unix/Linux workstation login, e-mail, and webspace; network access

Teresa Santiago
Financial Assistant
37-281 253-7078 Credit cards, requests for payment, and travel questions
Brian Surette
Facilities/Safety Manager
37-275 253-8062 Building issues; elevator access


Regularly Scheduled Events


MKI Brown Bag Lunch Talks
MKI holds Brown Bag Lunch talks during the academic year on selected Mondays from 12:00-1:00pm. Brown Bag Lunch is our astronomy-wide talk series catering to junior visitors (grad students and postdocs). For the fall 2020 semester we are moving to a virtual format. Speakers will be listed under events on Zoom information will be shared prior to each BBL. If you have questions or speaker suggestions, please contact MKI postdoc co-organizers:
Aaron Smith (, Jun Yang (, Hsin-Yu Chen (; Michael McDonald continues as the BBL faculty organizer (


MKI Astrophysics Colloquia
MKI holds an Astrophysics Colloquium on Tuesday afternoons. For the fall 2020 term, all talks will be virtual and will usually start at 4:00pm. Talks by our international speakers will start at 10:00am.  Speakers and talk abstracts will be posted on the MKI website events page, along with the starting time for each talk. Email announcements about the talks are sent out weekly. The faculty co-organizers for fall 2020 are Erin Kara ( and Kiyoshi Masui ( Student coordinator for post-talk conversations with the speaker: Stephanie O’Neil (

MKI Postdoc Lunch Meeting
A biweekly lunch meeting for MKI’s postdoctoral fellows and associates is held on Tuesdays. For 2020-2021, Steven Silverberg ( is the lunch meeting organizer. Fall term dates will be posted soon. The first meeting will be held virtually.

Women in MKI Lunch Meeting
A once-a-month gathering of women in the MKI community. The September meeting will be held virtually on September 15. Details forthcoming. Contact Debbie ( if you have any questions.


MKI Grad Student Lunch Meeting
A weekly lunch meeting for MKI’s graduate students is held on Wednesdays. For 2020-2021, Rahul Jayarman ( and Geoffrey Mo ( are the lunch meeting organizers.


Physics Colloquia
MIT’s Department of Physics holds a weekly colloquium on Thursday afternoons (refreshments 3:30pm, talk 4:00pm). Refer to the Physics website for specific details.


MKI Journal Club
Journal Club takes place every Friday during the academic year from 12-1:00. For fall 2020, meetings will be held via Zoom. The basic format remains the same, two 15-minute talks on current papers of interest. For 2020-2021, Michael McDonald ( continues as faculty organizer with assistance from astro grads Sylvia Biscoveanu ( and Michael Calzadilla ( and postdocs Christina Eilers ( and Michael Fausnaugh ( Please note: virtual Journal Club starts on September 11 with a meet-and-greet, where everybody gives a 30-second introduction of themselves. Details are forthcoming.

Your MKI Web Presence

Please email Debbie ( when you arrive at MKI. Debbie will work with you to create your landing page for the MKI website. Send Debbie a high-res photo of yourself along with a brief bio and statement about your research interests, providing as much or as little information as you would like. Feel free to include education information along with selected publications and information about any awards or honors you have received. In addition to a brief statement about your research interests, we ask people to broadly identify their research by selecting from the list of terms under science themes, techniques, and instrumentation on the Research page of the MKI website. Any questions, talk to Debbie!

Some helpful general MIT information:

MIT NOW: adapting to COVID, keeping connected (visit these pages frequently for updates)

MIT Calendar and Institute Holidays

MIT Emergency Information

Sign up for MIT Emergency alerts via text or email

SAP Self Service (timesheets, manage HR Benefits, 401K, etc)

LinkedIn Learning (formerly MIT Kerberos and Password required