Theoretical Astrophysics, Galaxy Formation, Dwarf Galaxies, Local Group Dynamics, Dark Matter and Structure Formation
Dr. Gurtina Besla's research focuses on the formation and evolution of low mass dwarf galaxies, which are the most common class of galaxies found in our universe at any epoch in time. Through numerical simulations, Dr. Besla explores the impact of gravitational interactions on the observed properties of low mass galaxies in various environments. Dr. Besla is a world expert in the study of the closest example of an interacting pair of dwarf galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Readily seen by the naked eye in the southern hemisphere, the Magellanic Clouds are our Milky Way Galaxy's largest satellite galaxies. Dr. Besla's research on these galaxies has overturned conventional wisdom, illustrating that the Magellanic Clouds are likely recent interlopers in our neighborhood rather than long term companions to our Galaxy.