Catherine Cahill


Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI), Geophysical institute (GI)


University of Alaska Fairbanks

cfcahill [at]


Po Box 756160
Fairbanks, AK 99775
United States

Brief Biography

Dr. Catherine F. Cahill serves as the Director for the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI) in the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and the CEO for the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, one of the six FAA UAS Test Sites. She possesses a B.S. in Applied Physics from the University of California, Davis, an M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Nevada, Reno. For 30 years Cathy has conducted research on atmospheric aerosols and their impacts on visibility, global climate, and human health. Her research includes laboratory experiments, modeling, and field studies of atmospheric aerosols and their properties. She has investigated the size and composition of particulate matter entering the Arctic from Asia and other continents, the sources of PM2.5 in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and the transport and transformation of volcanic aerosols. Since 2006, Cathy has collaborated with the UAF UAS program and worked on developing unmanned aircraft-based sensors for determining the concentration, composition, and spatial distribution of atmospheric aerosols. Cathy’s most recent sabbatical was a nineteen-month Congressional Fellowship with the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during which she helped negotiate Title 1 of the Energy Policy Modernization Act and worked on legislative language to permit beyond-line-of-sight flights and other UAS activities.

Science Specialties

unmanned aircraft systems, air pollution, atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric sciences

Current Research

Use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for research in Alaska and the Arctic. Safe integration of UAS into the National Airspace System. Transport of atmospheric contaminants into the Arctic. Characterization of arctic aerosols.