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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.

Anugu, Narsireddy

Steward Observatory Prize Fellow in Astronomical Instrumentation and Technology
Ph.D., 2017, University of Porto, Portugal Areas of Interest: Protoplanetary Disks, Extrasolar planets, Interferometry, Adaptive optics, high contrast imaging

Narsireddy Anugu currently works at Steward Observatory, the University of Arizona on the MAPS (the MMT AO exoPlanet characterization System) and LBT-interferometer. Narsi earned his Ph.D. by involving in the successful development of VLTI/GRAVITY in 2017 working in Portugal. GRAVITY has produced several interesting science results including the black hole at the center of our Galactic Center. After his Ph.D., he joined as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Exeter, UK, and the University of Michigan. Being part of this group, Narsi played an important role in the sensitivity upgrade of MIRC-X and involved in the development of MYSTIC and CHARA adaptive optics instruments. These efforts are aimed at observing discs around faint young stellar objects with near-infrared interferometry.

Byun, Joyce

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D, 2015, Cornell University
Areas of Interest: Areas of Interest: cosmology, Large-Scale Structure, galaxy surveys, higher-order statistics, Dark Energy, modified gravity, primordial non-Gaussianity

Joyce will be joining Steward Observatory in the fall of 2020 to work in the Arizona Cosmology Lab. She is interested in using cosmological galaxy surveys to test inflationary scenarios, dark energy models, and modified gravity theories. Her work focuses on developing methods for extracting maximal information from galaxy clustering observables, including higher-order statistics, through a combination of improved theoretical modeling, simulations, and statistical methods. She received her PhD from Cornell University in 2015 and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

Chung, Haeun

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2019, Seoul National University Areas of Interest: Astronomical instrumentation and observational astronomy including Integral Field Spectograph, System Engineering, Galaxy Kinematics and Dynamics, Environmental Effects on Galaxy Properties, Optical Design, Software Development, Galaxy Formation and Evolution, Galaxy Interactions and Mergers

Haeun Chung joined Steward Observatory in the 2019 fall semester to work with Prof. Erika Hamden. Haeun’s research focus is on astronomical instrumentation and observational astronomy in the areas of optical spectrograph and kinematics/dynamics of galaxies. During his Ph.D., he worked on building an optical multi-IFU spectrograph (DOTIFS) from overall conceptual design to the spectrograph optical design and the software development. He is also studying environmental effects on galaxy kinematics using SDSS MaNGA data and developing an IFU data post-processing technique (deconvolution).

Esplin, Taran

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2017, Pennsylvania State University
Areas of Interest: Nearby Star-forming Regions, Brown Dwarfs, Circumstellar disks, Initial Mass Function, Brown Dwarf Atmospheres, Doppler spectroscopy

Taran's research has included: searching for the classifying circumstellar disks in nearby star-forming regions, characterizing the photometric variability of the coldest known brown dwarf, measuring a new distortion correction for the Infrared Array Camera on the Spitzer Space Telescope, and determining precise parallaxes for ultra-cool brown dwarfs. He completed his Ph.D. in 2017 advised by Kevin Luhman at Pennsylvania State University. Currently, Taran is a member of the software development team for NEID, a state-of-the-art, high-precision Doppler spectrograph installed at the WIYN Telescope.

Fang, Xiao

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2018, Ohio State University
Areas of Interest: Survey Cosmology, Large-Scale Structure, Compact Objects, Hierarchical Systems, stellar dynamics, Type Ia Supernovae

Xiao joined Steward Observatory on September 1, 2018 to work with Prof. Tim Eifler. As a Ph.D. student at Ohio State University, he worked on a broad range of topics, from observational cosmology to compact objects and stellar dynamics. He was also involved in analysis for the upcoming WFIRST mission.

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.

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.

Jencson, Jacob

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., Astrophysics, 2019, Caltech
Areas of Interest: Observational astrophysics, with an emphasis ontime-domain surveys, obscured supernovae, and infrared transients.

Jacob joined Steward Observatory in the fall of 2019 to work with Prof. David Sand. For the last four years, he has helped lead the Spitzer InfraRed Intensive Transients Survey, or SPIRITS, a search for transients with Spitzer/IRAC in nearby galaxies within about 20 Mpc from Earth. His primary research interests are uncovering hidden, heavily obscured supernovae and other kinds of dusty eruptions and explosions of massive stars.

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.

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.

Lesser, David

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2019, University of Arizona

David received his my bachelor's degree in physics from Oberlin college and his PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Arizona. His research focuses on studying the lifecycle of the interstellar medium, and building terahertz instrumentation to do so. He also works on improving undergraduate and K-12 STEM education through exposing students to practical design experiences.

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.

Ma, Xiangheng

Steward Observatory Prize Fellow in Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics
Ph.D, 2018, California Institute of Technology
Areas of Interest: Galaxy Formation, cosmological hydrodynamic simulations, high-redshift galaxies, cosmic reionization, radiative transfer

Xiangcheng’s research focuses on theoretical and computational galaxy formation. He runs cosmological hydrodynamic simulations and radiative transfer calculations on supercomputers to study galaxy formation, the interstellar medium, star and cluster formation, supermassive black holes (SMBHs), stellar and black hole feedback, and connections of simulations with observations. His most recent interests include high-redshift galaxies and their role in cosmic reionization, the formation channel of the first SMBHs, and how to test simulation predictions with JWST/ALMA observations. He is an active member of the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) collaboration. Before joining Steward Observatory in fall 2021, Xiangcheng obtained his B.S. from USTC in 2013, Ph.D. from Caltech in 2018, and is a TAC postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley in 2018-2021.

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.

Miranda, Vivian

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2015, University of Chicago
Areas of Interest: Dark Energy, Inflation, Cosmic Microwave Background, Weak Lensing, Cluster Cosmology

Vivian Miranda joined Steward Observatory on September 1, 2018, to work with Prof. Elisabeth Krause. Vivian's research is focused on probing inflation, the epoch of reionization and dark energy with the Cosmic Microwave Background. She has done her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago under the guidance of Prof. Wayne Hu. Vivian is also keen on understanding how extensions of the LCDM model can be constrained via the combination of the CMB with low redshift probes. As a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania, she has developed research on how to test fundamental assumptions about the standard model using model-independent techniques. At the University of Arizona, Vivian intends to dedicate her time to the Dark Energy Survey (DES), in particular, to cluster cosmology and weak lensing. Vivian's work stands on the bridge between theory and data, and she is open to radically new ideas, as long as it can be falsified by either the CMB or the DES/LSST/WFIRST surveys. In 2019, Vivian was awarded the Leona Woods Distinguished Postdoctoral Lectureship Award.

Moe, Maxwell

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2015, Harvard University
Areas of Interest: Binary Star Formation and Evolution, Eclipsing Binaries, Type Ia Supernovae

Max utilizes large datasets of eclipsing binaries (EBs) to understand the formation, environments, and evolution of massive stars and binaries. In particular, Max measures the statistical distributions of binary star properties to test binary formation models and to provide initial conditions for binary population synthesis studies. He also incorporates EB populations to investigate tidal evolution, binary mass transfer and accretion processes, pre-main-sequence evolution, triple stars, feedback and dust content in young stellar nurseries, and the progenitors of Type Ia supernovae and X-ray binaries.

Olsen, Karen

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., Astronomy, 2015, Copenhagen University Areas of Interest: Galaxy Formation and Evolution, ISM Emission Modeling, cosmological simulations, ISM Properties of Galaxies, Far-infrared Line Emission, Intensity Mapping in the Far-infrared

Dr. Karen Olsen works to better understand galaxy evolution by studying the properties of the interstellar matter (ISM). Her overarching goal is to bridge the gap between spectroscopic observations of the ISM and numerical models of galaxy formation. In that quest, Karen has built a unique and world-leading tool called SIGAME to model line emission from the ISM in the far-infrared (FIR) utilizing state-of-the-art cosmological galaxy simulations. By comparing the output of this modeling to observations with large interferometers such as ALMA, VLA and NOEMA, SIGAME helps to unveil the physics of the ISM - the driving component in galaxy evolution. Before coming to Steward Observatory, Karen received her PhD from the Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, and enjoyed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Arizona State University.

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.

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.

Shivaei, Irene

NASA Hubble Fellow
Ph.D., 2017, UC Riverside

Irene Shivaei earned her Ph.D. at UC Riverside, advised by Professor Naveen Reddy. Her work is part of the MOSDEF project to use the multi-object near-infrared spectrograph MOSFIRE on the Keck I Telescope to study the high redshift (z~2) Universe. She has focused on determining accurate star formation rates, comparing estimates from H alpha and H beta with those from infrared measurements, and on the behavior of the mid-infrared aromatic bands with metallicity. She will expand this work with JWST, using MIRI GTO data in the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field region. Irene is also involved in outreach, for example as a co-founder of the StarYab astrophysical literature website with weekly discussions of recent astronomy research results in Persian.

Sunayama, Tomomi

Topping, Michael

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

Vargas, Carlos J.

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2018, New Mexico State University
Areas of Interest: Galaxy Evolution, Star Formation, ISM/CGM, Disk-halo interface, Radio/sub-mm Astronomy

Carlos studies the relationship between star formation and the diffuse inner halos of spiral galaxies. He is particularly interested in the mechanisms behind the prevalence and support of matter residing outside of star-forming galaxy disks. He has led studies analyzing the cycling of gas and cosmic rays between galaxy disks and halos, as well as a study of high redshift Lyman-alpha emission. Carlos joined Steward Observatory in September of 2018 to work with Dr. Erika Hamden.

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.

Wang, Feige

NHFP Hubble Fellow
Ph.D., 2017, Peking University
Areas of Interest: High Redshift Quasars, cosmic reionization, Black Hole Growth, Galaxy Formation and Evolution

Feige Wang joined Steward Observatory as an NHFP Hubble Fellow in the fall of 2019, and will be working with Prof. Xiaohui Fan. His research focuses on finding the most distant super-massive black holes (SMBHs) and using the most distant quasars to investigate when did reionization occur, what was the SMBH accretion history and how was the growth of the SMBHs linked to the assembly of early massive galaxies. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Peking University in 2017. Afterwards, he moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara as a post-doc for two years.

Wen, Sixiang

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2018, Sun Yat-sen University
Areas of Interest: Tidal Disruption Events, Dark Energy

Sixiang Wen joined Steward Observatory in January 2019 working with Prof. Ann Zabludoff. His research focuses on modeling the accretion of Tidal Disruption Events from first principles. Sixiang is currently working on fitting the X-ray spectrum and light curve of TDEs to constrain the mass and spin of the central supermassive black hole. His other interests include dark energy and black hole astrophysics.

Yang, Jinyi

Peter A. Strittmatter Fellow
Ph.D., 2017, Peking University Areas of Interest: Reionization-era quasar survey, Cosmic reionization history, Supermassive black hole growth, BH-host co-evolution, and Quasar absorption systems

Jinyi's main interests include the study of reionization-era quasars, of the cosmic reionization history, and of early supermassive black holes (SMBHs). She is currently working on a wide-field survey for quasars with redshifts beyond seven, which has yielded the discovery of a new redshift record breaking quasar, and performing the multi-wavelength follow up observations of these distant systems. As a Strittmatter Fellow, she will focus on the investigations of the reionization history at the redshift range z~6-7.5 and the SMBHs growth using a newly constructed z>~7 quasar sample, the first large statistical significant quasar sample in the reionization epoch. In addition, her on-going HST/ALMA and future JWST projects will allow the study of the SMBH-host interaction surrounding the maximally accreting black holes.

Zhang, Huanian

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ph.D., 2016, University of Arizona
Areas of Interest: Galaxy structure and gas halos, low surface brightness galaxies.

Huanian received his Ph.D in theoretical particle physics, specifically in new physics beyond Standard Model. Huanian's research mainly focuses on ionized gas halos of low redshift galaxies. Using a sample of nearly half a million foreground galaxies, probed by over 7.4 million low-background spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 12, Huanian traces Halpha emission to about 100 kpc galactocentric radius. Huanian has also presented the first evidence for a widely distributed, neutral, excited hydrogen component of the Milky Way Galaxy that is observed only as slight absorption in the combined spectra of millions of galaxy spectra. Huanian's research interests also include mapping the CGM of individual galaxies, searching for globular clusters within the local volume, and building the all-sky catalog of Ultra Diffuse Galaxies.

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