#1 Awarded 3 proposals on which I am a Co-I, which provides significant funding towards the Ames Coronagraph Laboratory to develop coronagraph technology for direct imaging of exo-Earths.
The proposals are part of NASA ROSES TDEM (Technology development for Exoplanet Missions). Here they are:
Assessing the performance limits of internal coronagraphs through end-to-end modeling
Phase-Induced Amplitude Apodization coronagraphy development and laboratory validation
Advanced speckle sensing for internal coronagraphs and methods of isolating exoplanets from speckles
#2 The Ames Coronagraph Laboratory recently (Sept 2009) achieved a world-record contrast of 7e-8 at an inner working angle of 2 lambda/D. Here is the image showing our result (blue region is the high-contrast zone).