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Aghakhanloo, Mojgan

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2020, Florida Sate University
Areas of Interest: Massive stars and binary evolution, Stellar cluster, and Statistical techniques.

Mojgan will be joining Steward Observatory in the fall 2020 semester to work with Prof. Nathan Smith. Mojgan’s research focuses on constraining the late-stage evolution of massive stars. In particular, she is unraveling the evolutionary history of luminous blue variables (LBVs), the mysterious massive stars which for unknown reasons expel much of their mass in small, modest, and giant eruptions. She is passionate and curious about exploring large datasets like Gaia to discover new information in stellar evolution and beyond. Her projects have included developing analytical and statistical modeling to constrain fundamental parameters of massive stars.

Anche, Ramya

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D, 2020, Indian Institute of Astrophysics
Areas of Interest: Polarization modelling, Optical Polarimetry, Optical design and analysis, Adaptive optics and High contrast Imaging

Ramya completed her PhD from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, India in Jan 2020. She worked on developing a polarization model for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). She also developed and verified the polarization model for the largest solar telescope (MAST) in India. She worked as a research engineer in NAOC, Beijing and as a post-doc in IUCAA, India after her PhD. As a part of the PASIPHAE collaboration,  she worked with Wide-Area Linear Optical Polarimeter (WALOP) instrument while she was in IUCAA.  She has a keen interest in astronomy outreach and science communication activities and designing citizen science astronomy projects.

Beasor, Emma

Incoming Fall 2022 Bart J. Bok Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD, Astrophysics, 2019, Liverpool John Moores University

Emma will be joining Steward Observatory as the Bok Fellow in Fall 2022. She received her PhD from Liverpool John Moores University in 2019 under the supervision of Dr. Ben Davies. Following this, she was awarded a NASA Hubble Fellowship for which she was based over the road at NSF’s NOIRLab. Her research focuses on the evolution of cool supergiant stars, with the aim of constraining the progenitor-supernova-remnant connection. While at Steward, Emma will continue to build upon her work using both observations and stellar evolution models, aiming to conclusively determine which stars explode as supernovae, what these explosions look like, and which fail to explode entirely.   

Champagne, Jaclyn

Postdoctoral Research Associate I, JASPER Scholar
Ph.D., 2022, University of Texas at Austin Areas of Interest: High-redshift quasars, galaxy protoclusters, galaxy formation and evolution in dense environments

Jackie joins Steward in September 2022 as a JWST Arizona/Steward Postdoc in Early galaxies and Reionization (JASPER) Scholar working with Xiaohui Fan. Her multiwavelength research in galaxy cluster environments spans a wide range of redshifts, from epoch of reionization to the cosmic noon, in order to build a cosmological timeline of large scale structure formation. As a JASPER scholar, she is using JWST imaging and spectroscopy of reionization-era quasar fields to investigate the properties of quasar host galaxies and their surrounding companions, searching for confirmation of early protocluster structures associated with the hosts of the most massive SMBHs at z>6.5. Jackie received her PhD in 2022 from the University of Texas at Austin.

Florian, Michael

Postdoctoral Research Associate I
Ph.D. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2017, University of Chicago

Michael joined Steward Observatory in November 2020 to work with Professors George and Marcia Rieke. Michael's research focuses on the formation and evolution of galaxies, including the interstellar medium conditions and morphological characteristics of high-redshift galaxies. Previously, he studied small-scale substructures inside galaxies at z~2 revealed by the combination of gravitational lensing and the Hubble Space Telescope. As a member of Steward Observatory, he is preparing to study high-redshift galaxies with the James Webb Space Telescope as part of the JADES team.

Gralla, Megan

Senior Research Associate
Ph.D., 2011, University of Chicago
Areas of Interest: Galaxy Clusters, Active Galactic Nuclei, Dusty star-forming galaxies

Megan studies galaxy clusters and groups, active galactic nuclei, and the relationship between galaxies and their environments. She works with surveys and data sets spanning the radio, millimeter-wavelength, optical and X-ray regimes. Before joining Steward Observatory, Megan worked at Johns Hopkins University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Haffert, Sebastiaan

NHFP Sagan Fellow
Ph.D., 2019, Leiden University
Areas of Interest: Circum-stellar disks, Planet Formation, Exoplanet Detection and Characterization, Exoplanet Atmospheres, High-Contrast Imaging, high-spatial and spectral instrumentation, remote sensing

Sebastiaan joined Steward Observatory in October 2019 as an NHFP Sagan Fellow to work together with Dr. Jared Males and the MagAO-X team. Sebastiaan’s research focuses on the development of high spatial and spectral resolution instrumentation for the detection of exoplanets and characterization their atmospheres. During his PhD he developed the Leiden Exoplanet Instrument (LEXI), which was a pathfinder instrument for optical/NIR high-resolution integral-field spectroscopy. One of his interests is the use of optical integral-field spectroscopy for the characterization of proto-planets and their formation. He is also interested in the applying the instruments and techniques developed for astronomy in other fields.

Hardegree-Ullman, Kevin

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D. , 2018, University of Toledo

Kevin's research spans many facets of exoplanet science, which began when he was an undergrad at the University of Arizona conducting follow-up observations of hot Jupiters with the Kupier 61" Telescope. After the U of A, Kevin went on to study brown dwarf variability and constrain M dwarf planet occurrence rates for his PhD at the University of Toledo. He was a visiting graduate fellow and later postdoc at Caltech/IPAC-NExScI, following up K2 exoplanet discoveries with Spitzer and working to constrain planet occurrence rates with K2 data. Kevin collects and uses archival data from several ground and space-based observatories to characterize stars and their unique planets.

Hosseinzadeh, Griffin

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D. , 2018, University of California, Santa Barbara Areas of Interest: supernovae and other transients, electromagnetic follow-up of gravitational waves, machine learning and statistical methods

Griffin joined Steward Observatory in fall of 2021 to work with Prof. Dave Sand. His research attempts to link the zoo of explosions we observe in the night sky to the stars that produce them, in order to understand the last years to months of a star's life. He is also interested in what we can learn from optical observations of gravitational wave sources. He previously worked at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, after graduating from the UC Santa Barbara with a Ph.D. in astrophysics in 2018.

Huang, Hung-Jin

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2019, Carnegie Mellon University Areas of Interest: Weak gravitational lensing, Cosmic structure formation

Hung-Jin joined Steward Observatory in September 2019 to work with Profs. Tim Eifler, Elisabeth Krause, and Eduardo Rozo. She investigates the growth of structure in our Universe to understand both cosmology and galaxy formation physics. During her Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University, she studied astrophysical systematics on weak lensing, with focuses on intrinsic alignment of galaxies and modeling uncertainties of baryonic physics.

Hyatt, Justin

Senior Research Associate
Ph.D., 2019, University of Arizona
Areas of Interest: Large scale structure of high-z galaxy clusters, pulsar signatures, cold gas mapping

Justin's research focuses on improving radio telescope reflectors. He leads a research group developing rapid, agile techniques for forming freeform reflector panels. He also researches surface treatment techniques to selectively scatter optical and infrared bands while maintaining specular reflection in submillimeter and longer wavelengths. His group also develops metrology tools to optically measure reflector shapes. Their fringe projection photogrammetry technique can measure over 1 million points per square meter rapidly without physical probes or fiducials. They also develop high precision panel alignment tools. Justin received his PhD in Optical Sciences with a minor in Astronomy from the University of Arizona. He previously received a double bachelors degree in mechanical engineering and English from Brigham Young University.

Jones, Michael

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2016, Cornell University
Areas of Interest: Galaxy Formation and Evolution, galaxy environment, Dwarf Galaxies, Radio Astronomy

Michael will be joining Steward Observatory in the fall 2020 semester to work with Prof. David Sand. Michael’s research interests focus on the properties of galaxies in the nearby Universe, in particular dwarf galaxies. He studies the gas and stellar content of galaxies across a range of environments from clusters and groups to isolated galaxies, to try to untangle the competing roles of "nature" and "nurture" in galaxy evolution. He completed his PhD working on the ALFALFA survey at Cornell University and was previously a post-doctoral fellow at the Instituto de Astrofíscia de Andalucía in Granada, Spain.

Kobayashi, Yosuke

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D. , 2021, University of Tokyo
Areas of Interest: Cosmology and Large-Scale Structures

Yosuke's research interests involve large-scale structures of the Universe and its cosmological information. He is also interested in machine learning-based methods to apply analysis of cosmological survey data. During his Ph.D. courses, he developed a simulation-based model of galaxy power spectrum observable in spectroscopic surveys, using a machine learning technique, and applied it to the cosmological parameter inference on the SDSS galaxy survey data. As a postdoc here at Steward Observatory, he has joined the collaboration of the SPHEREx survey and would like to further investigate the cosmological information in the large-scale structure.

Kong, Shuo

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2016, University of Florida
Areas of Interest: Galactic Star Formation, Molecular Clouds, Jets and Outflows, Radio Interferometry, Astrochemistry

Shuo is interested in understanding all aspects of the star formation process, including the initial conditions, the protostellar accretion, and feedback. His research focuses on the physical and chemical properties of giant molecular clouds (including infrared dark clouds), the interplay between filaments, magnetic fields, and protostellar accretion, and the radiative and mechanical feedback effects from young massive stars. Shuo mainly uses mm radio single-dish and interferometric telescopes (e.g., SMT, ALMA) for his research. He is leading the data reduction and reporting of two CARMA large programs that produce degree-size maps of the Orion A Cloud and the North American Nebula. Recently, he is interested in how Galactic-scale structures regulate star formation.

Krapp, Leonardo

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., Astrophysics, 2019, University of Copenhagen Denmark
Areas of Interest: Plasma physics in the framework of non-ideal Magnetohydrodynamics and multi-species dynamics

Leonardo is currently a PhD student working in the Theoretical Astrophysics Group, at the Niels Bohr International Academy, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He joined Steward Observatory in fall 2019 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work with Professors Kaitlin Kratter and Andrew Youdin. Leonardo obtained his degree in Astronomy in 2015 at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina. His research is focused on numerical Astrophysics applied to planet formation and protoplanetary disk dynamics. His interests include plasma physics in the framework of non-ideal Magnetohydrodynamics and multi-species dynamics accounting for the momentum transfer between multiple species, in particular, the aerodynamics coupling between gaseous fluids and dust grains.

Lawther, Daniel

Postdoctoral Research Associate I
Ph.D, 2019, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Daniel joined Steward Observatory in November 2020 to work with Profs. Xiaohui Fan and Marianne Vestergaard. The overall theme of his research is to understand accretion in Active Galactic Nuclei - the accretion flow, the AGN life cycle, and the geometry and dynamics of the central engine. He is currently working with extreme-variability 'changing look' AGN, studying their spectral energy distributions and variability behavior in their high-luminosity and low-luminosity states.

Levy, Rebecca

NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D. , 2021, University of Maryland Areas of Interest: nearby galaxies, Gas Kinematics, Stellar Feedback, Multiwavelength Spectroscopic Observations

Rebecca joined Steward Observatory in October 2021 as a NSF Fellow. Her research focuses on using multiwavelength tracers of gas in galaxies to probe the effects of stellar feedback. At Steward, she'll focus on two prototypical starburst galaxies, NGC253 and M82, both of which harbor a population of "super" star clusters at their centers and are launching massive multiphase outflows. She's studying the gas and dust in the clusters and outflows using a combination of ALMA, SOFIA, JWST, and other spectroscopic data. She's also interested in kinematic measurements of extraplanar diffuse ionized gas in nearby galaxies, particularly in the EDGE-CALIFA Survey.

Liu, Weizhe

Postdoctoral Research Associate, JASPER Scholar
Ph.D. , 2022, University of Maryland
Areas of Interest: High-redshift quasars, AGN feedback, dwarf galaxies and their (S)MBH, ultraluminous infrared galaxies

Weizhe joins Steward in August 2022 as a JWST Arizona/Steward Postdoc in Early galaxies and Reionization (JASPER) Scholar working with Xiaohui Fan. His PhD thesis explores AGN feedback via fast outflows in both ultraluminous infrared galaxies and dwarf galaxies. As a JASPER scholar, he is using JWST imaging, spectroscopy, and imaging spectroscopy of reionization-era quasars to investigate the properties of quasar host galaxies at z>6.5 and examine the quasar-driven outflows and feedback in them. He is also interested in exploring outflows of quasars at lower redshift and hunting for low mass AGN in the early universe. Weizhe received her PhD in 2022 from the University of Maryland.  

Lowe, Ian

Postdoctoral Research Associate
PhD, 2021, University of Pennsylvania
Areas of Interest: Spectral and polarization characteristics of interstellar dust, sub-Kelvin cryogenic detector systems, stratospheric balloon instrumentation

Ian joined the Steward Observatory in September 2021 to work with Professor Dan Marrone on the TIM and TIME experiments. These experiments use sub-Kelvin detectors in the form of spectrometer banks to measure line emission tracers of star formation ranging from 240-420µm for TIM and roughly 200-300GHz for TIME. In addition to working with these cryogenic camera systems, Ian bring's ballooning expertise gained during his graduate work on the BLAST-TNG experiment to apply to the TIM payload.

Lyu, Jianwei

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2020, University of Arizona Areas of Interest: Extragalactic IR astronomy, black hole/galaxy connection

Jianwei is working with Prof. George H. Rieke on the IR properties of AGNs and their host galaxies from z=0 to z=6. Specifically, he carries out comparative SED analysis of low-z objects and high-z ones to obtain insights on the AGN dusty environment, uses multi-wavelength and multi-epoch observations to probe the interplay between supermassive black holes and their host galaxies, and develops new tools for galaxy SED decomposition and AGN selection for the upcoming JWST and future IR missions.

Mansfield, Megan

NASA Sagan Fellow
Ph.D. , 2021, University of Chicago Areas of Interest: Exoplanet Atmospheres, spectroscopy, habitability

Megan joined Steward Observatory in the fall of 2021 as a NASA Sagan Fellow working with Prof. Daniel Apai. Megan’s research focuses on the spectroscopic characterization of exoplanet atmospheres. She uses a variety of ground-based and space-based observations to study planetary formation, physics, chemistry, and habitability. Megan received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2021, where she performed spectroscopic observations and modeling of highly irradiated exoplanets, ranging in size from hot terrestrial planets to ultra-hot Jupiters.

Martin, Garreth

KASI-Arizona Joint Postdoctoral Fellow for Advanced Study in Astronomy & Astrophysics
Ph.D., Astrophysics, 2019, University of Hertfordshire
Areas of Interest: cosmological simulations, data-mining / unsupervised machine-learning techniques, low-surface-brightness galaxies, Galaxy Formation and Evolution, galaxy-black-hole co-evolution, galaxy mergers and galaxy morphology

Garreth joined Steward Observatory in the fall of 2019. His research lies at the interface between observational and theoretical astronomy, combining state-of-the-art hydrodynamical simulations, survey data and machine-learning techniques. He is interested in how the diversity of present-day galaxy populations arises during their assembly and how underlying processes like mergers, feedback and environmental processes drive these changes. His current work focusses on the formation mechanisms, evolution and morphology of low-surface-brightness galaxy populations that have gone almost unnoticed in previous wide-area surveys and represent an important additional axis for constraining our understanding of galaxy evolution.

Melso, Nicole

Postdoctoral Research Associate
PhD, 2021, Columbia University
Areas of Interest: CGM/IGM, UV/Optical instrumentation, IFU spectroscopy

Nicole joined Steward Observatory in January 2022 as a member of the Hamden UV Lab. Her research focuses on mapping the properties of the circumgalactic medium through ultra-low surface brightness spectral imaging. She is particularly interested in the development of Optical/UV instrumentation and is excited to be a part of the Aspera SmallSat Mission. She received her PhD from Columbia University, where she worked on the design and commissioning of the Circumgalactic H-alpha Spectrograph (CHaS), an optical IFU spectrograph for MDM Observatory on Kitt Peak.

Plat, Adèle

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., Astrophysics, 2019, Sorbonne Université
Areas of Interest: Galaxy formation and evolution.

Adele’s research mainly concerns the formation and evolution of galaxies, in particular, she is interested in studying the spectral properties of galaxies, with a focus on the emission from their stellar populations and surrounding interstellar medium.

Salcedo, Andres

Sarma Bohurah, Supranta

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2020, University of Waterloo Areas of Interest: peculiar velocities, reconstruction of the large-scale structure, Weak Lensing, statistical methods and machine learning

Supranta will be joining Steward Observatory in the Fall of 2020 to work in the Arizona Cosmology Lab. He is interested in the data analysis of upcoming cosmological surveys using state-of-art statistical and computational methods. During his PhD, his research involved the study of peculiar velocities of galaxies and forward-modelled reconstruction of the large-scale structure.

Schlecker, Martin

Postdoctoral Research Associate I
PhD, 2021, University of Heidelberg Areas of Interest: Exoplanets and their demographics, Planet Formation

Martin Schlecker's research focuses on exoplanets and their formation, and he has a special interest in exoplanet demographics and planets around cool stars. His tools of choice are planet population synthesis models and statistical analyses of planet populations. He is also involved in programs that search for new exoplanets with the transit and radial velocity techniques. Martin received his PhD from the University of Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in 2021 for his work on the architectures of multi-planet systems. In 2022, he joined Prof. Daniel Apai's group at Steward Observatory.

Shrestha, Manisha

Postdoctoral Research Associate
PhD, 2018, University of Denver
Areas of Interest: Time domain astrophysics, electromagnetic follow-up of gravitational waves

Manisha joined Steward Observatory in the fall of 2022 to work with Prof. David Sand. Her research focuses on studies of transients such as gamma-ray bursts, young supernovae, and kilonovae. During her previous postdoctoral position at Astrophysics Research Institute in Liverpool, she used optical observations of gamma-ray bursts to study their magnetic field properties. In addition, she has been working on computational simulations of kilonovae emissions to predict their photometric and polarimetric behavior. She is interested in using these kilonova models to understand better the physics of the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave sources. She received her PhD from the University of Denver in 2018. 

Sunayama, Tomomi

Tang, Mengtao

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2020, University of Arizona
Areas of Interest: Areas of Interest: galaxy formation and evolution, cosmic reionization, high-redshift galaxies

Mengtao works with Prof. Daniel Stark on understanding the physical properties of metal-poor star-forming galaxies at high-redshift (z > 1) and their role in cosmic reionization. Using the spectroscopy obtained from HST, MMT, Magellan, LBT, and Keck, his research focuses on investigating the radiation fields, stellar populations, and nebular gas properties of high-redshift star forming galaxies, and constraining their contribution to the reionization of intergalactic hydrogen. He will also be involved in defining applications for future surveys with WFIRST, JWST, and GMT.

Topping, Michael

Areas of Interest: high-redshift galaxies, Galaxy Formation and Evolution, ISM properties, Large-Scale Structure

Van Gorkom, Kyle

Postdoctoral Research Associate I
PhD, Optical Sciences, 2021, The University of Arizona Areas of Interest: high contrast imaging, Exoplanets, wavefront sensing and control

Kyle joined Steward Observatory in early 2022 to work with Ewan Douglas on the use of wavefront control and high contrast techniques to directly image exoplanets with space-based observatories. During his PhD in Optical Sciences, his research with Jared Males focused on the characterization and modeling of deformable mirrors and focal-plane wavefront sensing for the MagAO-X instrument. He previously worked on the development of metrology techniques for future space missions as an optical engineer at NASA Goddard, and on interferometry and coronagraphy at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Wagner, Kevin

NASA Hubble/Sagan Fellow
PhD, 2020, University of Arizona Areas of Interest: Exoplanets, Circumstellar disks, and Planet formation

Kevin is using ground-based adaptive optics systems (such as VLT/SPHERE and MagAO) to search for young and forming planetary systems, and to study these archetypes of mature planetary systems through high-contrast imaging and spectroscopy.

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