MFE-IM is a group of the Magnetic Fusion Experiments (MFE) division of the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). We are a team of scientists, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students, and we host visiting and undergraduate students to carry out short-term cutting-edge projects with us. We actively collaborate with other groups at the PSFC and from the worldwide fusion energy community.

Scientists and Postdoctoral Researchers

Pablo Rodriguez-Fernandez

research scientist, Group Leader

Pablo RF (he/him, works as a research scientist at the MIT PSFC and leads the MFE-IM group. Currently, Pablo focuses on the development of the PORTALS framework to enable prediction of tokamak plasmas from first-principles turbulence simulations. He collaborates with experimental teams at ASDEX Upgrade, JET and DIII-D tokamaks to validate transport models and build confidence in reactor designs.

Nathan Howard

PRINCIPAL research scientist

Nathan Howard (he/him, is a principal research scientist at the MIT PSFC and leads the Performance and Transport group, formed as part of the MIT/CFS collaborations. Nathan’s research interests lie in multi-scale gyrokinetics, impurity transport validation, high performance computing and machine learning enhanced transport models. Nathan actively collaborates with the DIII-D tokamak, where his team operates the laser-blow off system to study experimental impurity transport.

Aaron Ho

Research Scientist

Aaron (he/him, is a research scientist working at the MIT PSFC. Aaron’s research combines plasma transport knowledge with machine learning techniques to build fast surrogate models, with the aim of using them in the design and operation of tokamak devices

Arsene Tema Biwole

Postdoctoral associate

Arsene TB (he/him, is a postdoctoral associate at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center. Arsene runs the MIT Laser Blow-off (LBO) system installed on DIII-D. His research focuses on core impurity transport studies in view of future fusion devices, e.g. ITER and SPARC. His other interests include science promotion and educational outreach activities.

Marco Muraca

Postdoctoral associate

Marco Muraca (he/him, works as a postdoctoral associate at the MIT PSFC and has joined the MFE-IM group in Summer 2023. Currently his focus is on the prediction of relevant plasmas for the SPARC and ARC tokamaks, in collaboration with Commonwealth Fusion Systems, with the transport codes TRANSP and ASTRA.

Rachel Bielajew

Postdoctoral associate

Rachel Bielajew (she/her, is a postdoctoral associate at the MIT PSFC. Rachel works at the intersection of experiment and modeling – using the Correlation Electron Cyclotron Emission diagnostic at ASDEX Upgrade to measure electron temperature fluctuations in ELM-free high confinement regimes, and comparing these experimental turbulence measurements with simulated turbulence from gyrokinetic simulations.

Graduate Students

Jamal Johnson

Graduate student

Jamal Johnson (he/him, is a graduate student in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. His research focuses on creating machine-agnostic, fast neural network surrogates for turbulent transport models. The prediction of diffusive and convective transport coefficients for a broad range of tokamak impurities is a central component of the network designs.

Audrey Saltzman

Graduate student

Audrey Saltzman (she/her, is a graduate student in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT. She is interested in automating the optimization of fusion power plant designs, with consideration to economic outcomes. Outside of work, Audrey enjoys practicing gymnastics and escaping into the woods.

Vincent Galvan

Graduate student

Vince Galvan (he/him, is a PhD student in the department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT. He is interested in modeling core plasma turbulence in the SPARC tokamak and utilizing machine learning to accelerate the process whenever possible. When not training ML models, Vince enjoys all things concerning Chicago sports (except the White Sox), riding his motorcycle, and lasagna.

Joseph Hall

Graduate student

Joe Hall (he/him, joined the MFE-IM group as a graduate student in Fall 2023. His primary focus is in integrating multi-fidelity physics models to accurately inform future fusion power plants such as ARC. In his free time, Joe can usually be found rock climbing, cooking, or drinking coffee.

Ivan Marshall

Graduate student

Ivan Marshall (he/him, is a graduate student in the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. He is interested in core to edge modelling of impurity transport in tokamaks and validation of transport models against experiment. Outside of the office, Ivan enjoys practicing gymnastics, cooking, and homebrewing honey wine.

Past Members

José Aguilera

Fall 2023 & Spring 2024
Visiting Student, Masters
(Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)

Lucas Shoji

Spring 2023
Undergraduate Student
(MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering)

Subhash Kantamneni

Spring 2022
Undergraduate Student
(MIT Physics & Computer Science)

Benjamin Spector

Summer 2021
Undergraduate Student
(MIT Mathematics & Computer Science)