Associate Professor of Astronomy

CV, Publications, ADS list

Imaging the Youngest Extrasolar Planets

My group is using the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) and the Magellan Adaptive Optics system (MagAO) to image protoplanets around young stars.

Imaging Mature Extrasolar Planets

We are involved in the LEECH survey, which aims to detect mature exoplanets via direct imaging with the LBT.

Astrobiology

We work within the Earths in Other Solar Systsmes astrobiology research program. This interdisciplinary program aims to better understand how and where habitable planets form.

Protoplanetary Disk Gas within 1 AU

The composition and kinematics of gas in the inner disks around young stars provides valuable constraints on star and planet formation processes. Using near-IR interferometry and spectroscopy, we are probing scales within 0.1-1 AU.

Protoplanetary Disk Masses

We are using mm-wavelength interferometry to constring the distribution of protoplanetary disk masses in young clusters. Our aims are to provide the initial mass budget for planet formation, and explore how this depends on stellar or environmental properties.

Masers Around Young Stars

Astromomical masers provide bright, compact tracers of gas, suitable for mapping with VLBI. We mapped H2O and SiO masers in the massive star-forming region W51, tracing an outflow from a massive protostar.

Evolved Stars

Similar techniques to those used to map gas around young stars can be used to trace the molecular layers in evolved stars. We used the Keck Interferometer to map the gas in the atmosphere of an AGB star, as well as in the disk of a Be star.

Supermassive Black Hole in the Galactic Center

Stars in orbit around SgrA* can be used as test particles to probe the potential of the black hole. We investigated the constraints that could be achieved with near-IR interferometeric instruments, concluding that for realistic simulated starfields, these instruments will likely have good leverage on constraining black hole properties and general relativistic effects.