group

group meeting (2020 September)

Associate Professor: Andrew Wetzel

Andrew Wetzel

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 UniversityCaltech, and Carnegie Observatories. Read more about my background.

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

 

 

PhD Students

Isaiah Santistevan

Isaiah Santistevan 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

Matt Bellardini 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
Pratik Gandhi

Pratik Gandhi 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

Fiona McCluskey 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

Preet Patel first joined us as an undergraduate student via a Blue Waters Student Internship before joining our group for his PhD. 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

Megan Barry 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.

Undergraduate Students

Heather Pearson

Heather Pearson joins us in summer 2022 as an REU student from Oberlin College. Heather 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.

 

 

 

 

Russell Graf joins us in 2022 as an undergraduate physics major. Russell is working on the elemental abundance patterns of stars and their dependence on age in the Milky Way today.

Rachel Perelgut joins us in 2022 as an undergraduate physics major. Rachel is working on the evolution of the orientation of disk galaxies across cosmic time.

Postdogs

Theodore, Ph.D.

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.

 

 


Alumni

Postdocs

Sarah Loebman

Sarah Loebman joined us as a NASA Hubble Fellow and UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow. Sarah is now an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California, Merced.

Samantha Benincasa

Samantha Benincasa joined us as a postdoctoral research scholar, modeling the interstellar medium (gas) in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Sam is now a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Astronomy at the Ohio State University, where she holds a President’s Postdoctoral Scholarship, a NSERC Fellowship, and a CCAPP Fellowship.

PhD Students

Jenna Samuel

Jenna Samuel joined us 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 now holds an NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas, Austin.

Undergraduate Students

Sierra Chapman

Sierra Chapman joined us in 2018-2019 as an undergraduate physics major. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Bhavya Pardasani

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.