Massimo Robberto

Observatory Scientist
Massimmo Robberto headshot

Dr. Massimo Robberto is Branch Lead of NIRCam, the Near-Infrared Camera of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). In this role, he coordinates a team of about 15 scientists responsible for the science operations and performance of the instrument. Dr. Robberto joined the institute in 1999 as European Space Agency astronomer. He was assigned to the team that was developing the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) for the Hubble Space Telescope, becoming instrument scientist for the infrared channel of the instrument. In 2005 he moved to AURA to work on the development of NIRCam for JWST.

Before joining the institute, Dr. Robberto was staff scientist at the Max Planck Institute fuer Astronomie in Heidelberg, where he led the construction of the mid-IR camera MAX for the UKIRT telescope on Mauna Kea (1995-1999). Earlier he was tenured Research Astronomer at the Turin Astrophysical Observatory in Italy, leading the technology group on the development of advanced instrumentation for the Italian Infrared Telescope TIRGO, the ESO NTT and the VLT telescopes. Dr. Robberto holds a PhD in astronomy from University of Turin and a Laurea in Physics cum laude also from University of Turin. Currently he is also Research Scientist at the Center for Astrophysical Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Robberto is a leading expert on astronomical instrumentation, both in space and for ground based observatories. Besides his involvement with JWST, he is currently Principal Investigator of SCORPIO, the facility instrument for Gemini South designed to provide immediate followup of new LSST transients, and of SAMOS, an AO-fed multi-object optical spectrograph for the SOAR telescope in Chile. He has conceived and proposed SPACE, one of the two missions selected and merged by ESA in Euclid. His research interests are mostly concentrated on star formation, the Orion Nebula in particular where he has led two HST Treasury Programs.


PhD in Astronomy, University of Turin, Italy
Laura in Physics, University of Turin, Italy


Science Interests:

  • Star Formation, Young Stellar Populations
  • Astronomical Instrumentation


Research Topics: Star Formation, Histories, and Evolution; Star Clusters; Instrumentation


Professional Websites:

Professional Website


ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9573-3199


To contact one of our research staff members
please call 410-338-4700 or view the index for their email alias