About

I am an experimental astrophysicist.  My research interests are the detection and characterization of extrasolar planets and their host stars, and I pursue these goals primarily by building, developing, and using new instruments. I primarily work in the field of high-contrast imaging and also have extensive experience with radial velocity exoplanet instrumentation.

Previously to joining the faculty of the IfA, I was an optical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, working on developing the WFIRST Coronagraph camera, formation flying sensors for the Starshade mission, and wavefront sensing for large ground-based telescopes.  I also led small a team in developing new post-processing algorithms for exoplanet imaging.

To find out more about my research, visit my group website here.

Research

My research is located at the intersection of astronomy, optics, and data analysis, working towards the goal of taking pictures of planets around other stars.  Exoplanet imaging is a technically challenging field, and as such, a large fraction of my time is building and working with new instrumentation.  Particular interests include wavefront sensing and control for ground based telescopes, data analysis and post-processing algorithms for exoplanet imaging, and developing the next generations of detectors for ground and space-based instruments.  My group makes regular use of the largest telescopes in the world for observing planets and disks.

Interested students are welcome to contact me about potentially working together.

To find out more, visit my group website here.

Activities

  • Infrared imaging of the circumstellar regions of nearby stars
  • Focal plane wavefront sensing and control
  • Coherence differential imaging
  • Post-processing and data analysis algorithms
  • Detector development (APDs, EMCCDs, MKIDs)
  • Planetary companions around nearby binaries
  • Optical sensing for spacecraft formation flying

Publications

  • Please see ADS

Teaching

I have taught graduate and undergraduate courses in stellar physics, the interstellar and intergalactic medium, astronomy lab, and space optical engineering systems.

Activities

Reviewer for Astronomy & Astrophysics; Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific; Journal of Astronomical Telescope Instruments, and Systems; Optical Engineering, 2014-present

Session chair, SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Meeting, 2017

NASA funding review panel member, 2015-present

NASA graduate fellowship review panel, 2018-present

Graduate admissions committee, California Institute of Technology, 2013

Astronomy outreach team, California Institute of Technology

  • Member, American Astronomical Society
  • Member, SPIE

Awards

Honors

  • JPL Section 347 (guidance and control) award, 2019
  • NASA Voyager award for individual achievement, 2017, 2018
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, WFIRST coronagraph technology development team, 2018
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, Exoplanet laser frequency comb team, 2017
  • AAS Rodger Doxsey Travel Prize, honorable mention, 2016
  • NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship, 2013-2016

Advisees

Graduate Students

Current
  • Miles Lucas, 699 project

Undergraduate Students

Current
  • Savanna Guertin, 2020, REU
Previous
  • Megan C. Davis, 2018, JPL summer intern, (now a senior undergraduate)
  • Leo S. Neat, 2017, JPL summer intern, (now at Google)

Assistant Astronomer
Ph.D. 2016, California Institute of Technology
B.A. 2008, Columbia University
IfA Hawaii island, 215
(808) 932-2305(808) 932-2305