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Guest Advisor Biographies

Dr. Morgan Thomas

Morgan Thomas is Canadian, and received his PhD from the University of Nottingham, U.K. in Inorganic Chemistry, where he worked on clean chemical processes. His research has been focused on green and sustainable science and engineering for chemical and energy applications.

After working as a postdoctoral researcher on biofuels in Aachen ( Germany), and as a research associate for biomass processing in Saskatoon and Toronto (Canada), he moved to Japan and joined RIKEN to work on the next generation of battery technologies for vehicles. Since October 2014 he has been engaged as a postdoctoral researcher at Yokohama National University and continues his work in green and sustainable science.

Mr.  Christopher Blackerby

Chris Blackerby has been the NASA Attaché in Asia, based at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, since August 2012. Prior to moving to Tokyo, Chris held several leadership positions in the Office of International and Interagency Relations at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. From 2007-2012 he served as the lead advisor for international cooperation in Earth observation satellite activities as well as strategic planning for all agency cooperation in Asia. In 2010 he began leading a team tasked with developing NASA collaboration with countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. In this role he served as NASA’s representative in an interagency working group focused on improving cooperation in these regions.
Chris began working for NASA as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2003 following completion of his graduate studies. From 2005-2007, he was the Executive Director of the NASA Advisory Council, a group of policy advisors that includes scientists, business leaders and former astronauts that provides strategic planning advice to NASA.
Chris has a degree in History and Education from the University of Richmond (Va.). After receiving his undergraduate degree, he taught history at the junior high and high school level for two years in Seattle, Washington before moving to Japan to teach English. Following two years living, working and traveling in Japan and Southeast Asia, Chris returned to the United States and obtained a Masters degree in Political Science/International Relations from the University of Rhode Island. In 2009 he graduated from Georgetown University with a Masters of Business Administration.

Dr. Marco Casolino

Marco Casolino is a physicist responsible for several  astrophysics, fundamental physics  and radiation  experiments carried in space,  on satellites,  on the Russian Mir and the International Space Station. He has participated in launch operations at Cape Canaveral in Florida and the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He is co-author of more than 100 papers on scientific journals such as Science and Nature. Currently he is team leader  at the RIKEN science Institute in Japan working on the JEM-EUSO experiment. He is also Senior Researcher at   the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) at the University of Rome Tor Vergata,  where he teaches several physics courses. He is author of several outreach books, such as “How to survive radioactivity” dealing on natural and artificial radiation after Fukushima accident, and on Mayan astronomy and mathematics.  He is also an author on a novel on Japan, “Grikon”.  He keeps a science blog,  www.casolino.it and ia co-author of a science outreach podcast, www.scientificast.it .

Dr. Hiroshi Oda


  • Apr. 2006-Mar. 2009: Ph.D. Graduate School of Science and Technology, Chiba University
    • Thesis: “Steady Models of Magnetically Supported Accretion Disks and Its Application to State Transitions in Black Hole Candidates”
    • Supervisor: Professor Ryoji Matsumoto
  • Apr. 2004-Mar. 2006: M.S. Graduate School of Science and Technology, Chiba University
  • Apr. 2000-Mar. 2004: B.S. Faculty of Science, Department of Physics, Chiba University


  • Apr. 2008 – Mar. 2010: JSPS Research Fellow ( staying at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics from Jun. 2009 to Mar. 2010)


  • Apr. 2013 – present: Researcher at Innovative Technology Research Center, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
  • Dec. 2011 – Mar. 2013: Research Associate/Technical Support Researcher at Center for Computational Astrophysics(CfCA), National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)
  • Aug. 2010 – Nov. 2011: Postdoctoral Researcher at Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, China
  • Apr. 2010 – Aug. 2010: Research Associate at Chiba University, Japan