Bruce Macintosh's research focusses on the study of extrasolar planets, in particular the study of such planets through direct imaging, and on using adaptive optics to shape the wavefronts of light for a variety of applications. Direct imaging of extrasolar planets involves blocking, suppressing, and subtracting the light of the bright parent star so that a planet hundreds of thousands of times fainter can be seen and studied in detail. Prof. Macintosh is the Principal Investigator of the Gemini Planet Imager http://planetimager.org/ ,an advanced adaptive optics planet-finder for the Gemini South telescope,. He also leads a Science Investigation Team for the coronagraph instrument on the WFIRST mission, focused on imaging and spectroscopy of extrasolar planets.
Professor Macintosh has taken the position of Director of University of California Observatories at UC Santa Cruz and is currently on a 0% appointment at Stanford.