PI: Andrew Wetzel

I am an assistant professor in the department of physics at UC Davis.  I earned my Ph.D. in astrophysics at UC Berkeley and pursued postdoctoral research at Yale UniversityCaltech, and Carnegie Observatories. Read more about my research and my academic history.

I am fortunate to pursue research with the fantastic group below.


Sarah Loebman joins our group as a joint NASA Hubble Fellow and UC Davis Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Sarah is a stellar dynamicist at heart who works on all aspects of the Milky Way, from the formation and evolution of stars and star clusters in its disk, including their dynamics and elemental abundances, to its diffuse stellar halo, including how to measure the mass and shape of the Milky Way’s dark-matter halo. Sarah likes to live at the intersection of theory/simulation and observations and also is a leader in Big Data techniques, especially database technologies.

Graduate Students

Jenna Samuel is a Ph.D. student in physics. Her research focuses on dwarf galaxies, in particular, the satellites of the Milky Way and Andromeda (M31). Jenna is using our cosmological simulations to understand the origin of their spatial and velocity distributions, including their orbital histories. She is particularly interested in understanding (and disentangling) the roles of (internal) stellar feedback and (external) host halo environment on the evolution of dwarf galaxies.


Isaiah Santistevan is a Ph.D. student in physics. His current research focuses on the near-far connection of understanding the role of nearby dwarf galaxies during the epoch of reionization, including understanding how we can infer the contribution of low-mass galaxies to the UV luminosity function across cosmic time. Isaiah also is interested developing new models, using our cosmological simulations, to infer the full orbital histories of all of the dwarf galaxies in the Local Group.


Theodore is our group’s Chief Morale Officer. He earned his Pretty hairy Dog (PhD) degree at Caltech in 2015 (advisor: JoAnn Boyd) and also pursued a postdog fellowship at Carnegie Observatories. As you can see above, he basically runs our group.