The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded me and our group a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant of $800,117 for Galactic Archeology: Understanding the Building Blocks of the Milky Way across Cosmic Time.

Article from UC Davis College of Letters & Science highlights this award.

With this award, we seek to model and understand how our Milky Way and similar galaxies formed across cosmic time. We also will develop a library of interactive Jupyter notebook tutorials, based on these simulations, to promote learning in computational analysis. Thank you to all current and former members of my group, as well as the FIRE collaboration, for helping to enable this science!

Jenna Samuel awarded NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship

Jenna Samuel

Jenna Samuel, our group’s first graduating PhD student, has been awarded an NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Science Foundation! Jenna will take this fellowship to the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas, Austin this fall to pursue her project: Modeling the physics of gas removal and quenching in Local Group satellite galaxies with next-generation simulations. Congratulations Jenna!

Hellman Fellowship


The Hellman Fellows Program has selected me as a 2019 Hellman Fellow, for my proposed research program: Using stars as gravitational antennae to measure dark matter. The Hellman Fellows Program supports the research of assistant professors, and this fellowship grant will help support the work of our group to use our Latte FIRE simulations to develop new dynamical models to measure the nature of dark matter, by using streams of stars as ‘gravitational antennae’ for interactions with dark-matter subhalos, thus translating dark-matter theories directly into measurable predictions for stellar dynamics.


Scialog Fellowship and Heising-Simons grant

The Research Corporation, with support of the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Kavli Foundation, once again has selected me to be a Scialog Fellow. I was delighted again to join 50 fellows at the 2019 Scialog conference on Time Domain Astrophysics in Tuscon, Arizona, during which we discussed exciting applications of data from NASA’s TESS satellite, ESA’s Gaia satellite, and the Zwicky Transient Facility.

I am excited that the Heising-Simons Foundation selected the grant that Keith Hawkins, Jennifer van Saders, and I submitted during this meeting: Aging Gracefully: Stellar Ages Across the HR Diagram and Their Implications for Galactic Archaeology. With this seed funding, our goal is two-fold:

  1. Use the Latte FIRE-2 Milky Way-like simulations as a testbed to quantify the observational precision in stellar ages that we require for specific Milky Way studies.
  2. Compile a unified framework for combining/comparing different ways of measuring stellar ages in an easy-to-use Baysian framework.

    I am excited to work with Keith and Jen on this project over the next year!