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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, Xiangcheng

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sunayama, Tomomi

Topping, Michael

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

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.

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.

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