Misty Bentz is an astrophysicist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She earned her PhD from The Ohio State University in 2007 for her work on black hole mass measurements and the characteristics of their host galaxies. Dr. Bentz then moved to the University of California, Irvine for a postdoctoral research position, and in 2009 she was awarded a NASA Hubble Fellowship for her continued research on supermassive black holes.
In 2010, Dr. Bentz joined the faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University. Since then she has earned a NSF CAREER grant, as well as multiple smaller grants from NASA, and has been recognized at GSU with several faculty awards. Dr. Bentz served as one of only 20 US astronomers on the 2013 NASA Roadmap team, tasked with charting a plan for the next 30 years of NASA astrophysics research, and she regularly serves on committees for NASA and the American Astronomical Society. Dr. Bentz was awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2016, becoming the first-ever female professor to be tenured in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at GSU.
Dr. Bentz and her research group continue to focus on studies of supermassive black holes, the galaxies in which they live, and their role in the growth of structure throughout the universe. This work utilizes a variety of observations acquired from ground-based and space-based telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the 8-m Gemini telescopes, and the 3.5-m Apache Point Observatory telescope (of which GSU is a partner institution). In 2017, a proposal led by Dr. Bentz was selected as one of the first 13 science programs to be conducted with James Webb Space Telescope, ensuring that she will be one of the first astronomers in the world to test out the capabilities of NASA’s next flagship mission.