- Tom Learner, Head
Tom Learner is head of the GCI's Science department; he oversees all the Institute's scientific research, developing and implementing projects that advance conservation practice in the visual arts. He was a GCI senior scientist from 2007 to 2013, overseeing the Modern and Contemporary Art Research initiative, during which time he developed an international research agenda related to the conservation of modern paints, plastics, and contemporary outdoor sculpture. Prior to his arrival at the GCI, he served as a senior conservation scientist at Tate, London, where he developed Tate's analytical and research strategies for modern materials and led the Modern Paints project in collaboration with the GCI and National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. He was a GCI Conservation Guest Scholar in residence in 2001. Learner is both a chemist and a conservator, with a PhD in chemistry from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a diploma in the conservation of easel paintings from the Courtauld Institute of Art.
- Vincent Beltran, Assistant Scientist
Vincent Beltran joined GCI Science in 2002. He has been an active participant in a range of research projects including the mechanical characterization of historic materials, the effect of reduced oxygen environments on color change, evaluations of packing case performance during transport, and assessments of environmental management systems in hot and humid climates. He is a co-author with Shin Maekawa and Michael C. Henry of Environmental Management for Collections: Alternative Conservation Strategies for Hot and Humid Climates. He holds a BS in General Chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles and a MS in Oceanography (Geochemistry) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.Current GCI projects: Museum Lighting Research, Managing Collection Environments and Conservation and Management of the Tomb of Tutankhamen.
- Beril Biçer-Simşir, Associate Scientist
Beril Biçer-Simşir graduated with a BS degree in civil engineering from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and received an MS degree in civil engineering, with a specialty in the area of construction materials, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include lime and lime-based hydraulic repair mortars and injection grouts. She is a member of ASTM Committee C07 on Lime, RILEM Technical Committee 203 on repair mortars for historic masonry, the RILEM Technical Committee SGM on specifications for nonstructural grouting of historic masonries and architectural surfaces, and APT. Current GCI projects: Alternative Backing Methods for Lifted Mosaics, Eames House Conservation Project, Herculaneum Project, and Injection Grouts for the Conservation of Architectural Surfaces.
- David Carson, Laboratory Manager
David Carson, who began his career at the GCI in 1996, is the manager of the GCI scientific laboratories and is responsible for the oversight, maintenance, and safety of the equipment and activities performed in the laboratories. He provides technical assistance to GCI scientists, visiting scholars, and interns in support of a number of research projects. Current GCI projects: Eames House Conservation Project, Herculaneum Project, and Injection Grouts for the Conservation of Architectural Surfaces.
- Carolyn Carta, Research Lab Assistant
Carolyn Carta joined the GCI in 2016 as a research lab assistant to lead scientific studies as part of the GCI's collaborative research project with the Disney Animation Research Library. She graduated in 2011 with a BA in art history, studio art, and chemistry from Trinity College and in 2014 received her MS in chemistry from the College of William and Mary. She has held internships at both the Wadsworth Atheneum and the National Gallery of Art. She is currently working on her PhD in materials science and engineering at the University of California Los Angeles. Her research focus is on the chemical and physical behavior of polymers used in adhesives, plastics, paints, and mixed media. Current GCI project: Preservation of Plastics.
- Julie Desarnaud, Assistant Scientist
Julie Desarnaud joined the GCI in 2017 to work on the Built Heritage Research Initiative projects, in collaboration with the University of Oxford undertaking scientific research and analysis on stone and other traditional building materials to explore their performance and deterioration. She previously was a consultant for the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, led projects at the Institute of Physics at the University of Amsterdam and carried out her postdoctoral work at the Laboratoire Navier at à l'Institut Français des Sciences et Technologies des Transports, de l’Améngement et des Réseaux. She obtained her PhD in Environmental and Materials Science from the University of Aix-Marseille III. Current GCI projects: Consolidating Sandstone, Earthen Heritage.
- Michael Doutre, Research Lab Associate
Michael Doutre joined the GCI in 2016 to work on the Modern and Contemporary Art Research Initiative focusing on the characterization of paints used on contemporary outdoor painted sculpture, the degradation of plastics used in cultural heritage, and the effects of cleaning treatments on modern paints. He graduated with a BSc in Chemistry from Queen's University and previously worked as a research technologist in the Art Conservation Program at Queen's University. Current GCI project: Modern and Contemporary Art Research, Outdoor Sculpture, Preservation of Plastics, Modern Paints.
- Ashley Freeman, Research Lab Associate
Ashley Freeman joined the GCI in 2016 to work on the Managing Collections Environments Initiative. She graduated from Queen's University with a M.A.C. in Conservation Science, received a study certificate for restoration and conservation from the Lorenzo de' Medici, MS in Chemistry from Loyola University Chicago and her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Monmouth College. She was a 2015–2016 GCI Graduate Intern. Current GCI project: Managing Collections Environments Initiative.
- Monica Ganio, Assistant Scientist
Monica Ganio received her PhD in geology from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and a MSc and BSc in Science and Technology for Cultural Heritage from the University of Torino. She joined the GCI in 2015 to work on technical studies originating from the Antiquities, and Sculpture and Decorative Arts conservation departments in the Getty Museum. Prior to arriving at the GCI, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Art (NU-ACCESS), where she was involved in a number of projects including: characterization of copper alloy compositions in twentieth-century bronze sculpture, technical studies of Romano-Egyptian portraits, and the characterization of archaeological and modern deeply-colored glass. Current GCI projects: Technical Studies Research.
- Pia Gottschaller, Senior Research Specialist
Pia Gottschaller came to the GCI in 2015 from the Tate, London, and has held research fellowships at Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Rome, and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. She has a BA in art history from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, a diploma in painting conservation from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and a PhD from Technische Universität München. Her research has focused on issues of technical art history on postwar artists. She leads the GCI's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA project—a technical study into select works from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, with the aim of gaining a comprehensive understanding of artistic painting practices in Argentina and Brazil in the 1940s and 50s. Current GCI project: Concrete Art in Argentina and Brazil.
- Katharina Hoeyng, Research Associate
Katharina Hoeyng joined the GCI in 2015. As part of the Preservation of Plastics project, she researches and evaluates treatment methods for reattaching delaminating paint to the plastic substrate used in animation cels. Katharina graduated with a master's degree in Art Technology and Conservation of Paintings on Mobile Supports from the University of Fine Arts, Dresden, during which time she specialized in the conservation treatments of animation cels. Prior to becoming a staff member, she worked as a freelance conservator for museums such as the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and the Hamburger Kunstahalle, Hamburg, and carried out a graduate internship at the Chinati Foundation, in Marfa, Texas. Current GCI project: Preservation of Plastics.
- Art Kaplan, Assistant Scientist
Art Kaplan has spent a decade working on the application of analytical instrumentation to the identification and study of photographic processes and materials. His research focuses on the use of noninvasive and nondestructive techniques in the identification of photographic processes. In addition his research has focused on detailed analytical study of black-and-white photographic papers as a tool for provenance and authentication studies. His past work included scientific analysis of View from the Window at Le Gras and three other images by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce for which he was co-recipient of the Colin Ford Award from the Royal Photographic Society in 2011. He received his Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from California State University Northridge. Current GCI project: Photographic Processes Research.
- Herant Khanjian, Assistant Scientist
Herant Khanjian received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from California State University Northridge and has been a member in the Science department since 1988. His research involves detection and identification of organic media found in historical objects and architecture. He is a coauthor of Solvent Gels for the Cleaning of Works of Art. His current research focuses on the identification of Asian lacquers and coatings from outdoor sculptures. He has also been involved in analysis of modern paints and the study of Disney animation cels collection. Current GCI projects: Characterization of Asian and European Lacquers, Eames House Conservation Project, Modern Paints, Preservation of Plastics, Research on the Conservation of Photographs, and Salk Institute Conservation Project.
- Anna Laganà, Research Specialist
Anna Laganà joined the GCI in 2016 as a Research Specialist in the conservation of plastics. She will lead a number of components of the Preservation of Plastics project including the investigation of treatment options for plastic works of art and will develop workshops on the conservation of plastics. Anna received her diploma in conservation at the Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro in Rome with a thesis on plastics. Since then her work and research have focused on the conservation and preservation of plastics in museum collections. Before joining the GCI, Anna collaborated with several museums and institutions; worked as coordinator at the Centro Conservazione e Restauro La Venaria Reale in Turin, was a conservator/researcher of plastics at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherland and most recently was as a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. She was a 2015 Conservation Guest Scholar. Current GCI project: Preservation of Plastics.
- Lynn Lee, Assistant Scientist
Lynn Lee received her PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California Berkeley. Her current areas of research include the study of traditional—especially those used in antiquities—and modern artist materials and techniques using non- or minimally invasive analytical methodologies. In addition, she is involved in the development of a training course on the application of XRF spectroscopy in cultural heritage for conservators. Previously, she was the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Conservation Science at the Straus Center, Harvard Art Museums (2007–2010). Current GCI projects: Technical Studies research, and XRF Boot Camp for Conservators.
- Michał Lukomski, Scientist
Michał Lukomski is head of Preventive Conservation research, which assesses the effects of environmental conditions and lighting on museum objects. He received his PhD in physics from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, in 2003 and completed his postdoctorate fellowship at the University of Windsor in Canada. For the last several years, he has worked on describing quantitatively the response of hygroscopic materials relevant to collections of fine and decorative art, in particular wood, textiles, animal glue, gesso and paints to variations of climate conditions, using several scientific methods. His current area of research focuses on the mechanical characterization of historic materials and their response to changes of environmental parameters, as well as investigation of painted surfaces by advanced optical techniques. Current GCI project: Managing Collection Environments.
Email: mlukomski @getty.edu
- Douglas MacLennan, Research Lab Associate
Douglas MacLennan joined the Technical Studies research laboratory in 2016. His work focuses on the technical examination of works of art in collaboration with both conservators and curators. His research interests include the use of XRF and multispectral reflectance imaging spectroscopy for the noninvasive study of works of art. Prior to joining the GCI, he was an assistant paintings conservator at the Getty Museum and was a Getty Graduate Intern (2014-2015). MacLennan received a postgraduate diploma in the conservation of easel paintings from the Courtauld Institute of Art , and a double BA in History and German from the University of Michigan. Current GCI projects: Technical Studies research and Concrete Art in Argentina and Brazil.
- Joy Mazurek, Assistant Scientist
Joy Mazurek specializes in the identification and characterization of natural and synthetic organic materials by a number of analytical techniques including gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and ion chromatography. She also works on the classification of biomarkers produced by microbiological deterioration from a range of cultural heritage materials. She is currently an assistant coordinator for the Scientific Research working group of ICOM-CC. She obtained her MS in biology, with emphasis in microbiology from California State University Northridge, and a BS degree in biology from University of California Davis. Current GCI projects: Herculaneum Project, Modern Paints, Preservation of Plastics, and Salk Institute Conservation Project.
- Catherine Patterson, Associate Scientist
Catherine Schmidt Patterson received her PhD in physical chemistry at Northwestern University. Her primary areas of research are the use of non- or minimally invasive techniques such as Raman microspectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, technical imaging to study works of art, development of new analytical methodologies, and technology transfer for the benefit of cultural heritage science. Prior to becoming a staff member in 2009, she was a GCI Postdoctoral Fellow in Conservation Science (2007–2009). Current GCI projects: Technical Studies research, DISCO, and Researching Florentine Workshop Practice.
- Alan Phenix, Scientist
Alan Phenix is head of Treatment Studies research, which focuses on the evaluation and development of conservation methods and materials for the field. He is a paintings conservator and conservation educator, and joined the Science staff in 2006, after a period as a GCI Conservation Guest Scholar in residence in 2005–2006. His work has also involved scientific/technical studies on painted works of art in collaboration the Getty Museum, and other institutions, including the recent project on Jackson Pollock's Mural. He has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and color chemistry and a postgraduate diploma in the conservation of easel paintings from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Current GCI projects: Cleaning of Acrylic Painted Surfaces and Modern Paints.
- Rachel Rivenc, Associate Scientist
Rachel Rivenc has been with the GCI since 2006. She studies the diverse materials and techniques used by contemporary artists, especially paints and plastics, and their conservation. She is currently leading two projects, Outdoor Sculpture, researching the challenging conservation issues associated with this type of objects—especially outdoor painted sculpture; and Art in L.A., a project studying the materials and processes used by Los Angeles–based artists from the 1950s onward. She is coordinator for the Modern Materials and Contemporary Art working group of ICOM-CC. Rachel holds a master's degree in paintings conservation from Paris I- Sorbonne. She received her PhD from the Universite de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. Current GCI projects: Modern and Contemporary Art Research, Art in L.A., Outdoor Sculpture, and Preservation of Plastics.
- Michael Schilling, Senior Scientist
Michael Schilling is head of Materials Characterization research at the GCI, which focuses on development of analytical methods for studying classes of materials used by artists and conservators. He specializes in gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and thermal analysis applications. Present research activities involve a broad range of traditional and contemporary art materials, such as Asian lacquers, plastics (especially in animation cels), and modern paints. In GCI projects to conserve wall paintings in China and Egypt, he studied the paint media and coatings. Development of improved analytical protocols is a key element of his work; he teaches these procedures to scientists and conservators in analytical workshops. Current GCI projects: Characterization of Asian and European Lacquers and Preservation of Plastics.
- Karen Trentelman, Senior Scientist
Karen Trentelman is head of Technical Studies research, which focuses on the scientific study of works of art to further the understanding and preservation of these works in collaboration with conservators and curators. Current areas of interest include: firing conditions used in the production of Athenian pottery, revealing hidden layers in paintings and manuscripts using noninvasive spectroscopic and imaging technologies, and fostering integration of imaging and analytical data. She trains scientists and conservators in the application of XRF spectroscopy to the study of works of art. She holds a PhD in chemical physics from Cornell University and was a research scientist at the Detroit Institute of Arts before joining the GCI in 2004. Current GCI projects: Athenian Pottery Project, DISCO, and Technical Studies research.
- Rosie Grayburn, Postdoctoral Fellow
Rosie Grayburn is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Conservation Science (2015–2017). She obtained a joint PhD from the University of Warwick (Physics) and Universiteit Gent (Analytical Chemistry), where her research focused on developing synchrotron spectroelectrochemical techniques for investigating conservation coating performance in polluted environments. As part of her PhD research she held an internship at the Mary Rose Museum, UK, and more recently she has collaborated with the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, to study silver corrosion by anthropogenic gases using time-lapse synchrotron X-ray diffraction. At the GCI, she will turn her focus towards the study of new and improved coatings for bronze, using surface analytical and electrochemical techniques to gain insights into performance and corrosion characteristics.