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Stacey Alberts

Ph.D., 2014, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Areas of Interest: Galaxy Formation and Evolution, Galaxy Clusters, Star Formation, Active Galactic Nuclei, High Redshift Galaxies

Stacey's research focuses on galaxy evolution in the context of local environment through studies of massive galaxy clusters out to high redshift. Through multi-wavelength observations focusing on the mid-infrared to submillimeter, she characterizes star formation and AGN in cluster and field galaxies up to z~2 in order to determine how environment shapes galaxy properties and results in the quenched nature of cluster galaxies today. At Arizona, she has joined the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) team and is involved in planning early observations in preparation for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

Jennifer Andrews

Ph.D., 2011, Louisiana State University
Areas of Interest: Core-Collapse SNe, Evolved Massive Stars, Stellar Clusters, Initial Mass Function

Jennifer is involved in mapping the late-time evolution of massive stars using multi-wavelength observations of their interaction with their surrounding environment. This includes optical and IR light echoes and spectral changes due to circumstellar interaction. She is also interested in how, when, and where dust is formed in CCSNe, particularly with regards to mass loss from the progenitor star.

Nick Ballering

Ph.D, 2016, University of Arizona Areas of Interest: Circumstellar Disks and Planet Formation

Nick uses ALMA to study the mass distribution of protoplanetary disks in stellar clusters to assess their potential for planet formation. He works with professor Josh Eisner and is a member of the Earths in Other Solar Systems team.

Chi-Kwan Chan

PhD., 2007, University of Arizona Areas of Interest: Computational Astrophysics and High Energy Astrophysics

Chi-kwan works on computational magnetohydrodynamics and general relativistic radiative transfer of black hole accretion disks. He is actively involved in Event Horizon Telescope and has modeled images of Sgr A*. Chi-kwan has a passion for designing and building computer algorithms and software. He also devotes his time to big data analysis and data visualization. To date, he has launched and is managing several initiatives, including "mockservation" (a data sharing platform) and "insight" (a virtual reality tool on Oculus Rift). Some of his open source codes are available at

Yumi Choi

Ph.D., 2016, University of Washington, Seattle
Areas of Interest: Resolved stellar populations, nearby galaxies, Star Formation, escaping ionizing photons, galactic structures, cosmic reionization

Yumi Choi's research interests focus on the formation and evolution of galaxies. She studies various galactic physics using resolved stellar populations in nearby galaxies, imaged in multiple wavelengths . During her thesis at UW, she traced galactic structures (e.g., spiral arms, rings) of M81 and M31 and explored their origins. Also, she measured the escape fraction of ionizing photons from NGC 4214, which is an excellent analog of high-z star-forming galaxy. She joined Steward Observatory as a SMASH postdoc.

Robin Dong

Bart J. Bok Fellow
Ph.D., 2013, Princeton University

Robin's main research interests are in exoplanets; in particular, how they form from circumstellar disks surrounding newly born stars. He is a theorist who works directly with observational data, and combines numerical simulations with spatially resolved observations of disks to test hypotheses in planet formation. Lately his work has been mainly motivated by the discoveries in disk imaging observations made by various ground based AO imaging instruments on 8-m class telescopes and ALMA.

Steve Ertel

Ph.D., 2012, University of Kiel, Germany
Areas of Interest: Debris Disks, exozodiacal dust, planetary systems, planets around evolved stars, Interferometry, high contrast imaging

Steve is instrument scientist for the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI). His research focuses on the formation and evolution of planetary systems, in particular the study of debris disks and exozodiacal dust (warm and hot dust around main sequence stars). He is also interested in the evolution of planetary systems beyond the main sequence life time of their host stars. He received a PhD from the University of Kiel, Germany. After that followed a post-doc at the University of Grenoble, France, and a Fellowship at ESO Chile where he was support astronomer at the Paranal Observatory and VLTI/PIONIER instrument fellow before he started his position at the LBTI.

Min Fang

Areas of Interest: Circumstellar disk evolution and accretion behavior of young stars.

Min works in the Steward Observatory and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. He studies how the circumstellar disk evolution depends on local environments and stellar properties, while investigating the accretion activities of young stars at different evolutionary stages.

Wen-fai Fong

Einstein Fellow
Ph.D., 2014, Harvard University Areas of Interest: Gamma-Ray Bursts, Supernovae, Compact Objects, High-energy astrophysics

Megan Gralla

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.

Kevin Hainline

Ph.D., 2012, UCLA
Areas of Interest: Active Galactic Nuclei, Obscured Quasars in the Context of Galaxy Evolution, high-redshift galaxies

Kevin looks at the relationship between active galactic nuclei and star-forming galaxies, exploring how an active central super-massive black hole grows alongside its host galaxy. His research aims to understand the extent to which obscured AGNs can affect gas throughout their hosts.

Myoungwon Jeon

Steward Observatory Theory Prize Fellow
Ph.D., 2015, University of Texas, Austin
Areas of Interest: First stars and first galaxies, epoch of reionization, high-redshift galaxies. dwarf galaxy formation

My research is mainly focused on understanding the formation of the first stars and the first galaxies. Specifically, I have been working on the impact of stellar feedback, such as photoionization heating, supernova feedback, and black hole feedback, on the assembly of the first galaxies and on the cosmic reionization.

Theodora Karalidi

During my master studies in the Astronomical Institute of Utrecht University, the Netherlands, I got interested in the field of (exo)planets. In April 2013 I got my PhD in Broadband Polarimetry of Exoplanets from Leiden University, in Leiden, the Netherlands. I am particularly interested in the direct detection of exoplanets and their habitability. Since it will probably take decades to directly detect the first terrestrial exoplanets we need to test our detection and characterization techniques on other targets. Ideal targets for this are brown dwarfs. During my work at Steward Observatory we will use our models and Spitzer and HST observations to study the weather patterns in the atmospheres of these intriguing objects. During this process we will acquire interesting information on brown dwarfs atmospheres and simultaneously prepare for the future of exoplanetary research.

Jarron Leisenring

Ph.D., 2011, University of Virginia
Areas of Interest: Protoplanetary Disks, Extrasolar planets, high contrast imaging, IR Instrumentation

Jarron's research focuses on the evolution of protoplanetary disks and how it relates to planet formation. In support of these research goals, Jarron contributes towards the development of IR instrumentation projects such as LBTI/LMIRcam and has most recently joined the JWST NIRCam team as an instrument test scientist.

Elena Manjavacas

Ph.D, 2015, Max Planck Institute
Areas of Interest: Low-mass stars, brown dwarfs and exoplanets

Elena Manjavacas was born in Mota del Cuervo in Spain. From a young age, she used to admire the clear sky and wondered about the mysteries all those stars were hiding. In 2005, she moved to Madrid to fulfill her dream of becoming an astronomer and studied Physics at Universidad Complutense the Madrid. In 2010, she graduated with a BA in Physics, in the specialty of Astrophysics, and received her master’s degree in Astrophysics a year later. Her master’s thesis, “Frequencies and oscillation modes of variable stars in sigma Orionis and NGC 6811", was supervised by Drs. Jose A. Caballero, Orlagh Creevey and Brandon Tingley. She then moved to Heidelberg to start her PhD in Astronomy under the supervision of Prof. Thomas Henning, and Drs. Bertrand Goldman and Sabine Reffert. On February 2015, she defended her PhD thesis entitled "Physical Characterization of Brown Dwarfs". Outside science, Elena is passionate about learning different types of dances, from salsa to belly dance. She also loves swimming and jogging, and enjoy traveling and meeting people with different cultures. Elena speaks Spanish, is fluent in English and German, and has a basic knowledge of French and Italian.

Huan Meng

Ph.D., 2014, University of Arizona

Huan Meng works on the formation of stars and planets with infrared and multi-wavelengths observations. The focus is on new insight made possible only by novel approaches, such as time-domain analysis of exoplanet collisions, photo-reverberation mapping of protoplanetary disks, and reducing contaminated data with digital filtering.

Maxwell Moe

Einstein Fellow
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.

Diego Munoz

Ph.D., 2013, Harvard University
Areas of Interest: Planet Formation, Planet Dynamics, Protoplanetary Disks, Hydrodynamics, Simulations, Numerical Methods, Data Mining

Diego works on different topics related to planet formation and dynamics. He works with direct simulations and theory, with a special focus on the influence of stellar multiplicity on the formation and dynamics of planets. He is also interested i the physics behind planetary system inclinations and stellar obliquity. Other areas of interest include white dwarf pollution, sub-millimeter interferometry and Bayesian inference,

Anna Patej

Einstein Fellow
Ph.D, 2016, Harvard

Anna Patej graduated from Harvard in May 2016 with a PhD in physics. She joined Steward Observatory as an Einstein Fellow to continue her research on galaxy clusters and the clustering of galaxies on large scales.

Paola Pinilla

Hubble Fellow
Ph.D, University of Heidelberg

Paola's research focuses on understanding the first steps of planet formation by developing numerical simulations of gas and dust evolution in disks around young stars. She likes to directly compare the results from these theoretical models to observations, and has had the great opportunity to work also with data from different telescopes, such as ALMA, VLT/SPHERE, and PdBI. She did her bachelor and master studies in Colombia (Universidad de los Andes) and obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Afterwards, she was a post-doc for three years at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands.

Jon Rees

Areas of Interest: Young Clusters, Circumstellar Disc Evolution, Stellar Evolutionary Models

My research is primarily focussed on the application of pre-main-sequence evolutionary models to young clusters and star-forming regions to derive stellar ages. I work with deep, large-area photometric datasets mainly in the optical and near-infrared. These populations provide an ideal way to test some key areas such as the effect of environment on circumstellar disc lifetimes and the universality of the IMF. At Arizona, I will be working with Daniel Apai to characterise the cool stellar population in the Omega Cen globular cluster using deep Hubble photometry.

Everett Schlawin

Ph.D., 2015, Cornell University
Areas of Interest: Exoplanets, Atmospheres, Instrumentation

Everett observes transiting exoplanets spectroscopically to understand their atmospheres. He explores planets in high radiation environments from hot Jupiters to disintegrating rocky bodies. He also does infrared instrumentation, including optical design and fabrication for the TripleSpec 4 spectrograph on the Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory and he has joined the JWST NIRCam team.

Jordan Stone

Ph.D., 2015, University of Arizona Areas of Interest: Star and Planet Formation, Brown Dwarf and Exoplanetary Atmospheres, High-Contrast Imaging, Interferometry

I've been working to understand the physical nature of protoplanetary disks around young stars to better understand how the late evolution of proto-star--disk--proto-planet systems produce the variety of planetary systems observed.

Christina Williams

PhD., 2014, University of Massachusetts Amherst Areas of Interest: Galaxy Formation and Evolution, Stellar Feedback, galactic outflows

Huanian Zhang

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

Huanian Zhang obtained his PhD on theoretical particle physics, specifically on new physics beyond Standard Model. Huanian's research mainly focuses on the 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. He also presents the first evidence for a widely distributed, neutral, excited hydrogen component of the Milk Way Galaxy that is observed only as slight absorption in the combined spectra of millions of galaxy spectra.