I am an associate professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of California, Davis. I earned my PhD in astrophysics at the University of California, Berkeley, and I pursued postdoctoral research at Yale University, Caltech, and Carnegie Observatories. Read more about my background.
I am fortunate to pursue research with the fantastic group below.
Isaiah Santistevan joined us in 2018, supported in part by a Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) award, models the formation histories of Milky Way-mass galaxies, including the origin and dynamics of metal-poor stars. Isaiah also uses our cosmological simulations to infer the full (cosmological) orbital histories of satellite galaxies in the Local Group.
Matt Bellardini joined us in 2018 and models the formation of the disks of Milky Way-mass galaxies, including ‘chemical tagging’: how to use elemental abundances of stars to reconstruct the 3D formation history of the Milky Way across cosmic time via ‘galactic archaeology’.
Pratik Gandhi joined us in 2019 and was awarded a Frontera Computational Science Fellowship from the Texas Advanced Computing Center. He has explored the effects of metallicity-dependent rates of supernova Type Ia in simulations of galaxy formation. He also is working on the ‘near-far connection’: how we can use the stellar fossil record of nearby low-mass galaxies to understand the epoch of reionization.
Fiona McCluskey joined us in 2019 and models the cosmological formation of the disks of Milky Way-mass galaxies, including how we can use measured stellar ages to reconstruct the 3D formation history of the Milky Way across cosmic time via ‘galactic archaeology’.
Preet Patel first joined us in summer 2018 as an undergraduate student via a Blue Waters Student Internship before joining our group for his PhD in 2020. He works on predictions for elemental abundance patterns in stars and how we can use them to understand stellar nucleosynthesis and galaxy formation.
Megan Barry joined us in 2021 and is making predictions for the population of dark-matter subhalos in the halo of the Milky Way, including encounter rates of subhalos with the Milky Way’s disk and stellar streams.
Russell Graf joined us in summer 2022 and is working on the elemental abundance patterns of stars and their dependence on age in the Milky Way today.
Rachel Perelgut joined us in summer 2022 and is working on the evolution of the orientation of disk galaxies across cosmic time.
Theodore is our group’s Chief Morale Officer. He joined our group after a short stay at LA county’s Baldwin Park Animal Care Center. Deciding that astrophysics might be more interesting than squirrel chasing, he earned his Pretty hairy Dog (Ph.D.) degree at Caltech (advised by JoAnn Boyd). He then pursued a postdog fellowship at Carnegie Observatories. As you can see, he effectively runs our group.
Samantha Benincasa joined us in 2018-2020 as a postdoctoral research scholar, modeling the interstellar medium (gas) in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Sam went on as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Astronomy at the Ohio State University, where she held a President’s Postdoctoral Scholarship, a NSERC Fellowship, and a CCAPP Fellowship.
Jenna Samuel joined us in 2018-2021 as a PhD student working on the satellite galaxies of the Milky Way and Andromeda, including their spatial and velocity distributions, the origin of the observed thin planes of satellites, and gas stripping and star-formation quenching via the halo environment. She went on as an NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas, Austin.
Heather Pearson joined us in summer 2022 as an REU student from Oberlin College. Heather worked on the ‘near-far connection’: how we can use the stellar fossil record of nearby low-mass galaxies to understand the epoch of reionization.
Bhavya Pardasani joined us (virtually) in summer 2021 as an REU student from the University of Illinois. Bhavya worked on understanding the (hot) halo gas around the Milky Way and its role in stripping gas from satellite galaxies and quenching their star formation.
Sierra Chapman joined us in 2018-2019 for an Honors Thesis. Sierra worked on predictions for the population of dark-matter subhalos in the halo of the Milky Way, including encounter rates of subhalos with the Milky Way’s disk and stellar streams.