Margaret grew up in Rockville, MD where her interest in astronomy grew out of her middle school earth and space science class and love of math. She obtained her two B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1987 and completed her M.S. and Ph.D. in Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. In fall 1993, Margaret joined the faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Department of Astronomy, where she taught and conducted research programs in infrared astronomy. In 2002, Margaret joined the research staff at STScI as an Associate Astronomer working on JWST/MIRI and she was also awarded membership on the JWST/MIRI science team through a competitive proposal. In 2007, she was promoted to Astronomer and began serving as the Webb Instrument Team Lead, which oversaw the operations development for all four of the JWST instruments. In 2010, Meixner started serving as the Deputy for the Instruments Division.
- Investigating dust evolution in galaxies using the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds as case studies.
- Working on all three points of dust evolution: dying stars which produce dust, the interstellar medium in which dust evolves, and star formation which is dust enshrouded and consumes dust.
- Using space observatories (Hubble, Spitzer, Herschel, JWST), SOFIA, and ground based observatories (e.g. ALMA) to study these objects.
- Principle Investigator on two ground based near-infrared camera: NIRIM at Mt. Laguna and WHIRC on the WIYN 4 m.
- Community chair for the Origins Space Telescope Study which is NASA 2020 decadal NASA mission study for mid to far infrared wavelengths.
Research Topics: Dust Evolution, Star Formation, Space Infrared Observatory