Chair, Senior Science Staff Executive Committee

As the chair of the executive committee of the science staff, Dr. Alex Fullerton works to strengthen the research productivity of the institute by advocating for the needs of the research staff. He monitors the use of research-enabling resources, oversees the peer mentoring program, seeks ways to enhance the scientific environment, and consults with the research staff to guide the institute toward exciting research initiatives. 

Dr. Fullerton previously served in the Instruments Division as the branch manager for the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS), which is one of the contributions of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to the James Webb Space Telescope. Prior to these managerial duties, he was an instrument scientist for NIRISS and was deeply involved in many aspects of its development. He helped draft performance requirements, oversaw the initial development of operations concepts for its observing modes, and contributed to the design of the calibration pipeline. He also participated in cryogenic ground-test campaigns of the instrument at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Before joining the institute in 2004, Dr. Fullerton served as a CSA support astronomer for the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) mission, which was operated from the campus of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. At the beginning of his career, he was a researcher at the Universitäts-Sternwarte München in Germany, and served as a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware. 

Dr. Fullerton’s research uses ultraviolet and optical spectroscopy to explore the properties of the atmospheres and winds of hot, massive stars. A long-term goal of these studies is to understand how deep-seated processes such as pulsations and magnetic fields influence the hydrodynamical structure and properties of the dense, radiation-driven outflows from these stars. Dr. Fullerton has coauthored more than 90 journal articles in the Astronomical Journal, the Astrophysical Journal, Astronomy & Astrophysics, the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. He is a member of the International Astronomical Union, the American Astronomical Society, the Canadian Astronomical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.


PhD in Astronomy, University of Toronto
MS in Astronomy, University of Toronto
BS in Astronomy and Physics, University of Toronto


Science Interests:

  • Atmospheric variability of O-type stars
  • Mass-loss rates of early-types stars
  • Pulsational magnetic properties of massive stars
  • Time-series analysis


Research Topics: Local Group Galaxies; Resolved Stellar Populations; Instrumentation; Stellar Astrophysics


ORCHID ID: 0000-0003-2429-7964