Hi, I’m Casey (she/her)! I’m a fifth year graduate student studying exoplanets with Dan Huber and Lauren Weiss. I study the compositions of Earth-size “Rocky” exoplanets and their relationship to the composition of their host stars (read more under “Research”).  
Before this, I’ve worked on a wide range of topics in astronomy: from comets, to pulsars, to SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). I’m originally from Vermont, and I went to the University of Vermont for a B.S. in physics. After graduating, I worked on the Breakthrough Listen project at the Berkeley SETI Research Center.       
Outside of astronomy, I love to cook/bake food from around the world and go hiking. I’m an organizer for Academic Labor United, a group working to unionize UH Graduate Student Workers. Living in Hawai’i has made me particularly invested in indigenous rights and decolonization, and a supporter of Hawaiian Sovereignty. 


Ph.D. Topic

Topic: Understanding the Diversity of Rocky Planet Compositions, and their Connection to Host Star Abundances
Committee: Dan Huber(Chair), Lauren Weiss, Eric Gaidos, Jennifer van Saders, Diana Valencia, Mike Bottom, and Richard Zeebe

My thesis “Planets made of Star Stuff” aims to understand wide diversity of Earth-size exoplanet compositions that we can infer from their density measurements, and whether that planet’s composition reflects that of its host star. I use both Keck/HIRES, Maroon-X on Gemini, and the newly commissioned Keck Planet Finder to measure planet masses using Radial Velocities, and use geologically motivated planet modeling software to model their interior compositions. Then, I compare the ratio of iron to rock-building abundances (namely Mg and Si) between that of the star and planet to learn about the formation history of that system. My goal is to help us understand how Earth-size planets form across the galaxy, and how singular or commonplace the Earth actually is. You can check out the first two papers of my thesis here and here
Previous research: In undergrad, I studied Pulsars w/ Dr. Joanna Rankin and Dr. Dipanjan Mitra, in collaboration with the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav). You can check out my two first author papers from undergrad here and here! After graduating, I worked at the Berkeley SETI Research Center as part of Breakthrough Listen. I worked with Dr. Vishal Gajjar on Pulsars and Fast Radio Burts,  and I contributed to two FRB papers (found here and here)


  • TOI-561 b: A Low Density Ultra-Short Period “Rocky” Planet around a Metal-Poor Star
  • Kepler-102: Masses and Compositions for a Super-Earth and Sub-Neptune Orbiting an Active Star
  • Investigation of the Mode-Switching Phenomenon in Pulsar B0329+54 Through Polarimetric Analysis
  • No Pulsar Left Behind. I. Timing, Pulse-sequence Polarimetry, and Emission Morphology for 12 pulsars

Casey Lynn Brinkman

NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Bachelor of Science, 2017, University of Vermont
  • Ph.D. Topic: Understanding the Diversity of Rocky Planet Compositions, and their Connection to Host Star Abundances
IfA Mānoa,