The Tree of Life team is built in the interdisciplinary spirit of the JPL Innovation Foundry’s A-Team, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Art + Tech Lab. This team is dedicated to envisioning a project that activates the intersection of art, culture, science, technology, and engineering. The Tree of Life is a mission that strives to realize as much artistic and cultural integrity as it does valuable scientific integrity. Scroll down to read more about the team members.

Telecommunications Engineer, JPL
Dr. Alessandra Babuscia

Alessandra Babuscia received her B.S. and M.S degrees from the Politecnico di Milano and her Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, in 2012. She is currently Telecommunication Engineer in the Telecommunication Flight Section at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. She has been PI for the Inflatable Antenna for CubeSat, and she has been  telecom lead engineer for many CubeSat missions (ASTERIA, LunaH-Map, RainCube, LunarIce Cube, and BioSentinel) at JPL. She is currently telecom chair lead for JPL TeamXc, and telecom system engineer for Mars 2020 and Europa Clipper.

Julia Christensen

Julia Christensen is an artist and writer whose work explores systems of technology, time, change, and memory. Christensen has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, LACMA Art + Tech Lab, Creative Capital, MacDowell Colony, and the Ohio Arts Council. Her artwork exhibits internationally, and she lectures widely about her projects. Christensen is an art professor and Chair of the Studio Art Department at Oberlin College. Christensen’s forthcoming book, Upgrade Available (Dancing Foxes), describes her art/research about how technological obsolescence impacts our world, from e-waste to spaceships.

Director, LACMA Art + Tech Lab
Joel Ferree

Joel Ferree is the Director of the Art + Technology Lab at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Inspired by the spirit of LACMA’s original Art and Technology program (1967-1971), which paired artists with technology companies in Southern California, the Art + Technology Lab supports artist experiments with emerging technology. It provides grants, in-kind support, and facilities at the museum to develop new artist projects.

Director, Innovation Foundry, JPL
Dr. Anthony Freeman

Dr. Anthony Freeman is the manager of the Innovation Foundry at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The Innovation Foundry is JPL’s incubator for ideas, and helps between 100 and 150 formulation teams mature their innovative thoughts into mission concepts every year. His interest in the Tree of Life concept comes from his belief that JPL should take on challenges that stretch the imagination and push boundaries.

Applications Software Engineer, JPL
Roger Klemm

Roger Klemm has developed, integrated, and operated spacecraft and instrument embedded system software at JPL for over 30 years, spanning the entire software and integrated system life cycle. He also enjoys participating in project formulation studies, including the Tree of Life project. He is interested in many things having to do with sustainability, and his hobbies include electric cars and native plants. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College.

Advanced Concepts Development, JPL
Judy Lai-Norling

Judy Lai-Norling is a project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who focuses on building partnerships and getting NASA data into the hands of non-NASA users. She has worked on a variety of projects including Mars 2020, Europa Clipper and most recently leading JPL’s Airborne Snow Observatory.  As a former resident of the Brewery Arts Colony, she literally lived at the intersection of art and science and is excited to be part of the Tree of Life project.

Advanced Concepts Manager, JPL
Steve Matousek

Steve Matousek is the Manager of Advanced Concepts Methods & Innovation at JPL. Steve leads a core team of experts from a range of scientific disciplines. This team intervenes early in the advanced concept lifecycle to conduct studies across divisions at NASA/JPL, including, (among other disciplines), planetary, Earth, and astrophysics science. Steve’s core team also develops strategic partnerships and project vision. 

Sonic Programmer, Cycling ’74
Tom Hall
Tom Hall is an Australian audio/visual artist, residing in Los Angeles. Hall’s practice is an ongoing exploration into peripheral space and time, inspired by environments and non-linearity found in the everyday. Using multiple approaches to recontextualize these spaces, Hall creates sound and imagery that accumulates in hybrid environments and temporal translations. These outcomes include found and computer programmed sound synthesis, reactive visual synthesis and physical installation. Hall has released a number of recordings in the past two decades, along with exhibitions and live av tours worldwide.

Steve Matousek, Advanced Concepts Study Manager at JPL, has said that this project is an “arc” propelling itself forward, continually moving and growing. Along the way, many voices have jumped in and out of this arc, offering a wide range of perspectives and expertise. These voices create the fabric of this interdisciplinary, collaborative endeavor, and all are part of the broad team building The Tree of Life. And this list will surely keep growing!


At JPL, additional collaborators have participated in A-Team sessions, small group meetings, scientific research, and other forms of support. These people include: Ingie Bahoe, Randii Wessen, Kyle MacDonald, Erika Podest, Natasha Stavros, Rashni Shah, Bruce Waggoner, Ashley Davies, Dave Delgado, Sarah Hovsepian, Harald Schone, Tiffany Kataria, Alex Austin, Andrew Mitchell, Jonathan Murphy, Paul Propster. Erik Conway, Lois Kim, David Levine.