Dr. Marko Gacesa
Dr. marko gacesa Assistant Professor Physics

Contact Information
marko.gacesa@ku.ac.ae +97123123888


Dr. Marko Gacesa is an atomic/molecular physicist whose primary research interests lie at the intersection of space science and atomic & molecular physics. Specifically, he studies atomic and molecular processes in astrophysical environments and cold plasmas. His current research topic are non-thermal processes in planetary atmospheres of Mars, early Earth, and exoplanets. He also works on application of cold plasma catalysis to conversion of greenhouse gases into rocket fuel and carbon for both earthly applications and in situ resource utilization in space.

Dr. Gacesa is a Collaborator of NASA's MAVEN mission Science Team and a member of the Science Team of an planned UAE space mission to the asteroid belt.

Dr. Gacesa joined the Physics Department at Khalifa University in Fall 2020 after working at Space Science and Astrobiology Division at NASA Ames Research Center (NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow) and University of California Berkeley (2015-2019). 

Prior to these appointments, he was a Research Scientist at the Physics Department at University of Connecticut (2013-2015), a Visiting Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, and a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Theoretical Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (ITAMP) at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (2010-2012).

Dr. Gacesa also has extensive research experience in the field of ultracold atomic and molecular gases. He proposed new efficient optical methods to produce ultracold molecules at temperatures near quantum degeneracy and utilize them to emulate quantum many-body phenomena.

In addition to scientific research, he has a strong interest in space exploration and communicating its importance to students and the members of the general public. Over a period of five years, he volunteered and held leadership roles at Space Generation Advisory Council, the largest global non-profit network of students, young professionals, and alumni in space industry.

  • PhD in Physics (Atomic, Molecular and Optical), University of Connecticut (2010)
  • MSc (Diploma) in Physics, University of Zagreb (2004)

  • Advanced Quantum Mechanics (ESMA619)
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics (PHYS420)
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics for Space Scientists (PHYS420)
  • Senior Project I (PHYS497)
  • Senior Project II (PHYS498)
  • University Physics I (PHYS121)
  • University Physics II (PHYS122)

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Affiliated Centers, Groups & Labs

Research Interests
  • Planetary Atmospheres
  • Atom-molecule collisions and superthermal chemistry
  • In Situ Research Utilizations (plasma conversion)
  • Machine Learning applications

Research Staff and Graduate Students:

Dr. Balasubramoniam Murali Krishna Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. VC Saheer Visiting Researcher