Keynote Speaker

Patricia Burchat, Stanford University

Patricia (Pat) Burchat's research interests focus on fundamental questions in physics: What is the Universe made of? What are the laws of physics that govern the constituents of the Universe? She studies the Universe at both the smallest and the largest scales, using accelerators to probe the elementary particles and the fundamental interactions, and telescopes to investigate the cosmological evolution of the Universe. Prof. Burchat is a member of an international community developing and preparing for data from a telescope that will provide the most complete census of the Universe to date -- the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Prof. Burchat's group works within the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration to prepare to fully optimize the use of the gravitational bending of light by "dark matter" to study the evolution of "dark energy" -- shedding light on the identity of these components that make up the majority of the energy density of the Universe. She is passionate about teaching and instilling enthusiasm for science in her students. She is past-Chair of the National Organizing Committee for the APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics.



Plenary Speakers

Angela Olinto, University of Chicago

Angela V. Olinto, Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor is Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and a member of KICP and EFI, at The University of Chicago.

Olinto is best known for her contributions to the study of the structure of neutron stars, primordial inflationary theory, cosmic magnetic fields, the nature of the dark matter, and the origin of the highest energy cosmic rays, gamma-rays, and neutrinos. She is the Principal Investigator of the POEMMA (Probe Of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics) space mission and the EUSO (Extreme Universe Space Observatory) on a super pressure balloon mission, and a member of the Pierre Auger Observatory, all designed to discover the origin of the highest energy cosmic particles, their sources, and their interactions.

Prof. Olinto received a B.S. in Physics from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1981, and Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was a trustee of the Aspen Center for Physics, and has served on many advisory committees for the National Academy of Sciences, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She received the Chaire d’Excellence Award of the French Agence Nationale de Recherche in 2006, the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2011, and the Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching in 2015 at the University of Chicago. 

Julianne Pollard-Larkin, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

Julianne Pollard-Larkin, is a clinical medical physicist.  Julianne Pollard, PhD is an assistant professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX and is also the interim Physics Service Chief for the Thoracic service of MD Anderson’s Division of Radiation Oncology.  Julianne is also the Vice-Chair of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee.  Her main clinical responsibilities include stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), breath-hold gated treatments, 4DCT and image-guided radiotherapy.  Her main research interests are in assessing normal toxicity after patients receive multiple courses of radiotherapy and measuring radiation dose to pacemakers. 

She is originally from Miami, Florida.  She double majored in Physics and Mathematics at the University of Miami for her BS.  She received her PhD from UCLA in Biomedical Physics.  Her dissertation work was focused on assessing radiomodulatory agents in radiosensitive cell lines derived from patients with Ataxia-Telangiectasia.  Given her radiobiological background, she aims to apply her knowledge about DNA repair post-radiation and uncover new ways of delivering radiotherapy more safely and effectively.  In addition to her clinical duties, Julianne has an active role as an educator for the graduate students, medical residents and Medical Physics residents at her center.  Her main goal is to expand her teaching and mentoring to include physicists and students in the global community to help address the global cancer divide.  She has partnered with international physicists to teach Medical Physics to African graduate students via online resources. Ensuring that more underrepresented students and women follow in her footsteps is Julianne’s passion. In her role as the Project Lead for MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Women and Minority Faculty Inclusion program, she organizes STEM outreach events at her center to encourage the local Houston middle and high school students to study STEM.  Although, Julianne was the first African American woman at her PhD program and first African American woman Radiation Physics faculty member at MD Anderson, her goal is to make sure that she is not the last.


Contact Information


Conference Flier

Physics & Astronomy Department
University of Kansas
1251 Wescoe Hall Drive
Malott Hall, Room 1082
Lawrence, KS 66045

(Central Standard Time)