Marc P. Christensen, Ph.D


Marc P. Christensen is one of the nation’s key leaders in mapping photonic technology onto applications.  In 2007, DARPA identified him as a “rising star in microsystems research” for his development of an adaptive multi-resolution imaging architecture, and selected him to be one of the first of the 24 DARPA Young Faculty Award recipients.  

From 1991-1998 he was a staff member and technical leader in BDM’s Sensors and Photonics group (now part of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems).  His work ranged from developing optical signal processing and VCSEL-based optical interconnection architectures, to infrared sensor modeling, simulation, and analysis.  In 1997, he co-founded Applied Photonics:  a free-space optical interconnection module company.  His responsibilities included hardware demonstration for the DARPA MTO FAST-Net, VIVACE, and ACTIVE-EYES programs, each of which incorporated precision optics, micro-optoelectronic arrays, and micro-mechanical arrays into large system level demonstrations.

In 2002, he joined Southern Methodist University.  In 2010, he was selected as the inaugural Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Engineering Innovation and is currently serving as Dean of the Lyle School of Engineering.  Dr. Christensen brought together a team of researchers from five institutions to develop an optical interface to the nervous system.  He is the Center Director of the Neurophotonics Research Center, a DARPA sponsored University Focused Research Center developing a fiber optic interface for advanced prosthetic interfaces which will enable amputees to control a robotic limb with thought and experience sensations such as the warmth of a loved one’s hand.

In 2008, Dr. Christensen was recognized for outstanding research with the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellowship.  In 2011, he was recognized for outstanding and innovative teaching as a recipient of the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award.

Dr. Christensen has co-authored over 100 journal and conference papers. He has two patents in the field of free space optical interconnections, one pending in the field of integrated photonics, and four pending in the field of computational imaging.  

Dr. Christensen received a B.S. in Engineering Physics from Cornell University in 1993, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from George Mason University in 1998, and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from George Mason University in 2001.