Bio and CV


K. Decker French

ORCID: 0000-0002-4235-7337


  • University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ: Ph.D, Astronomy and Astrophysics (August 2017)

    • Thesis: “New Methods for Tracking Galaxy and Black Hole Evolution using Post-Starburst Galaxies.” Advisor: Ann Zabludoff

  • University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ: M.S. Astronomy (2013)

    • Thesis: “Characterizing the Best Cosmic Telescopes in the Millennium Simulations.” Advisor: Ann Zabludoff

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA:

    • S.B. Physics; S.B. Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (2011)



  • Hubble Fellow, Carnegie Observatories (2017 - present)

  • Graduate Research Assistant, Steward Observatory (2011 - 2017)

  • Lee Teng Intern, Fermilab (Summer 2010)

  • Undergraduate Researcher, MIT (2008 - 2010)



  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific Trumpler Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis (2019)

  • Hubble Fellowship (2017 - 2020)

  • Carnegie Fellowship (deferred)

  • Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholarship, Phoenix Chapter (2015, 2016)

    • Supports outstanding graduate students in fields related to science, medicine, technology, and engineering

  • Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Scholar (2015)

    • Competitive, merit-based award for women pursuing a doctoral level degree

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (Fall 2011 - Summer 2014)

  • University of Arizona College of Science Scholarship Award in Astronomy (2014)

  • Lee Teng Fellowship at Fermilab (2010)

    • Ten-week summer internship in accelerator science and engineering at Fermilab for undergraduate students

  • Comeau Fund Grant for undergraduate research at MIT (2009)

  • Grey Fund Grant for undergraduate research at MIT (2008)



  • Carnegie Summer Research Program, Mentored Undergraduate Student from Pomona College (Summer 2018, Summer2019)

  • ISEE PDP (Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators Professional Development Program)

    • 100 hour program to learn active and inclusive inquiry-based teaching techniques and develop a 2-day workshop for Carnegie summer undergraduate students to learn about fitting models to data

  • Adjunct Instructor, Pima Community College, AST 102 “Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe” (Spring 2016, Summer 2016)

  • Teaching Assistant, Steward Observatory, ASTR 201, “Cosmology” (Spring 2015)

  • Teaching Assistant, Steward Observatory, ASTR 170, “Life in the Universe” (Fall 2014)



  • ALMA

    • Principal Investigator, 1 program Cycle 6, 2 programs Cycle 5, 1 Program Cycle 4, 1 Program Cycle 3

  • Magellan

    • PI, Programs using MagE, IMACS, IMACS/MMTF, FIRE

  • HST

    • Co-I,2 Programs (33 orbits) Cycle 24

  • Gemini North, GMOS Co-I (2016-2018)

  • ARO Sub-millimeter Telescope PI (400 hrs, 2015B-2016A)

  • MMT, HectoSpec Co-I (2012, 2013, 2014)

  • MMT, MAESTRO Assisted on Engineering Runs and Preparation (2013)



  • Workshop on Using Tidal Disruption Events to Study Super Massive Black Holes, ISSI, Bern, Switzerland (Oct 2018)

    • Chapter lead

  • Stars: Birth and Death, GMT Community Science Meeting, Honolulu, HI (Sept 2018)

    • Talk: The Unusual Host Galaxies of Tidal Disruption Events

  • The Physics of Quenching Massive Galaxies at High Redshift, Leiden, the Netherlands (Nov 2017)

    • Talk: The Molecular Gas Evolution of Post-Starburst Galaxies

    • Session Chair

  • TDE17: Piercing the sphere of influence, Cambridge, UK (Sep 2017)

    • Invited Talk: Tidal Disruption Event Host Galaxies

  • Unveiling the Physics Behind Extreme AGN Variability, St. Thomas, USVI (Jul 2017)

    • Talk: The Unusual Host Galaxies of Tidal Disruption Events

    • Session Chair

  • Mapping the Pathways of Galaxy Evolution Across Time and Space, Avalon, CA (Aug 2016)

    • Talk: The death of galaxies: evolution through the post-starburst phase

    • Member: Local Organizing Committee

  • European Week of Astronomy and Space Sciences, Athens, Greece (Jul 2016)

    • Talk: The Unusual Host Galaxies of Tidal Disruption Events

    • Talk: Large Molecular Gas Reservoirs in Post-Starburst Galaxies

  • A 3D View on Galaxy Evolution: From Statistics to Physics, Heidelberg, Germany (Jul 2015)

    • Talk: The End of Star Formation in Galaxies: Tracing Galaxy Evolution using Post-Starburst Galaxies

  • The Life and Death of Satellite Galaxies, Leiden, the Netherlands (May 2015)

    • Poster: Large Molecular Gas Reservoirs in Post-Starburst Galaxies

  • Multi-Wavelength Studies of Galaxy Evolution in the ALMA Era, Charlottesville,VA (Aug 2014)

    • Talk: Discovery of Large Molecular Gas Reservoirs in Post-Starburst Galaxies

  • AAS 214th meeting, Pasadena, CA (Jun 2009)

    • Poster: KBO Astrometry Using Small Telescopes



  • Colloquium, Caltech (Nov 2018)

  • Colloquium, University of Michigan (Nov 2018)

  • University of Chicago Astro Tuesday Seminar (Jan 2018)

  • Gemini Lunch Talk (Jun 2017)

  • SMA Talk (Dec 2016)

  • Seminar, Los Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (Nov 2016)

  • IPAC Lunch Seminar (Nov 2016)

  • Seminar, UC Riverside Astronomy Department (Nov 2016)

  • Lunch Talk, Carnegie Observatories (Nov 2016)

  • Galaxies & Cosmology Seminar, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Oct 2016)

  • Lunch Talk, University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Astronomy (Oct 2016)

  • Astrophysics Lunch Seminar, CU Boulder (Oct 2016)

  • Cosmology Seminar, UC Berkeley (Apr 2016)



  • Mt. Wilson Observatory STEM field trips volunteer (2018 - present)

  • Skype a Scientist volunteer (2018 - present)

  • Referee, AAS Journals, MNRAS (2017 - present)

  • Speaker, Astronomy on Tap: Pasadena (June 2018), Tucson (Sep 2016)

  • Graduate Student Representative, Academic Program Review Committee, University of AZ Astronomy Department (2016)

  • Head, Undergraduate Mentoring Program, Tucson Women in Astronomy (2011-2015)

  • MIT Educational Counselor, Undergraduate Admissions Interviews (2011-2017)

  • Member, University of AZ Astronomy graduate admissions committee (2014)

  • Astronomer, Project Astro, Teacher-Astronomer Classroom Partnership (2012-2013)





  1. French, K.D., Wevers, T., Law-Smith, J., Graur, O., Zabludoff, A., 2019, “The Host Galaxies of Tidal Disruption Events,” (submitted to Springer Space Science Reviews)

  2. Li, Z., French, K.D., Zabludoff, A.I., and Ho, L.C., 2019, “The Evolution of the Interstellar Medium in Post-Starburst Galaxies” (ApJ in press). arXiv:1906.01890

  3. Chen, P., Dong, S., Stritzinger, M.D., Holmbo, S., Strader, J., Kochanek, C.S., Peng, E.W., Benetti, S., Bersier, D., Brownsberger, S., et al. (incl. K.D. French), 2019, “The Most Rapidly-Declining Type I Supernova 2019bkc/ATLAS19dqr,” (submitted to ApJL). arXiv:1905.02205

  4. Holoien, T.W.-S., Vallely, P.J., Auchettl, K., Stanek, K.Z., Kochanek, C.S., French, K.D., Prieto, J.L., Shappee, B.J., Brown, J.S., Fausnaugh, M.M., et al., 2019, “Discovery and Early Evolution of ASASSN-19bt, the First TDE Detected by TESS,” (submitted to ApJ). arXiv:1904.09293

  5. Hosseinzadeh, G., McCully, C., Zabludoff, A.I., Arcavi, I., French, K.D., Howell, D.A., Berger, E., Hiramatsu, D. 2019, “Type Ibn Supernovae May Not All Come from Massive Stars,” Astrophysical Journal Letters , 871, L9. arXiv:1901.03332

  6. French, K.D. and Zabludoff, A.I. 2018, “Identifying Tidal Disruption Events via Prior Photometric Selection of Their Preferred Hosts,” Astrophysical Journal, 868, 99. arXiv:1810:09507

  7. French, K.D., Yang, Y., Zabludoff, A., Tremonti, C. 2018, “Clocking the Evolution of Post-Starburst Galaxies: Methods and First Results,” Astrophysical Journal, 862, 2. arXiv:1806.03301

  8. French, K.D., Zabludoff, A.I., Yoon, I., Shirley, Y., Yang, Y., Smercina, A., Smith, J.D., Narayanan, D. 2018, "Why Post-Starburst Galaxies are Now Quiescent," Astrophysical Journal, 861, 123. arXiv:1805.12132

  9. Smercina, A., Smith, J.D.T., Dale, D.A., French, K.D., Croxall, K.V., Zhukovska, S., Togi, A., Bell, E.F., Crocker, A.F., Draine, B.T., Jarrett, T.H., Tremonti, C., Yang, Y., Zabludoff, A. I. 2018, "After the Fall: The Dust and Gas in E+A Post-starburst Galaxies," Astrophysical Journal, 855, 51

  10. Graur, O., French, K. D., Zahid, H. J., Guillochon, J., Mandel, K. S., Auchettl, K., Zabludoff, A. I. 2017, "A dependence of the tidal disruption event rate on global stellar surface mass density and stellar velocity dispersion," Astrophysical Journal, 853, 39. arXiv:1707.02986

  11. Wilson, M. L., Zabludoff, A. I., Keeton, C. R., Wong, K. C., Williams, K. A., French, K. D., Momcheva, I. G. 2017 “A Spectroscopic Survey of the Fields of 28 Strong Gravitational Lenses: Implications for H0,” Astrophysical Journal, 850, 94.

  12. Yesuf, H., French, K. D., Faber, S. M., Koo, D. C. 2017. "Molecular gas during the post-starburst phase: low gas fractions in green-valley Seyfert post-starburst galaxies," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 469, 3.

  13. Wong, K. C., Raney, C., Keeton, C. R., Umetsu, K., Zabludoff, A. I., Ammons, S. M., French, K. D. 2017, "Joint Strong and Weak Lensing Analysis of the Massive Cluster Field J0850+3604," Astrophysical Journal, 844, 127.

  14. French, K.D., Arcavi, I., Zabludoff, A. 2017, “The Post-Starburst Evolution of Tidal Disruption Event Host Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal, 835, 176. arXiv:1609.04755

  15. Alatalo, K., Lacy, M., Bitsakis, T., Brown, M.J.I., Ciesla, L., Appleton, P.N., Beaton, R.L., Cales, S.L., Crossett, J., Falcon-Barroso. J., French, K.D., Kewley, L.J., Kelson, D.D., Kriek, M., Lanz, L., Medling, A.M., Mulchaey, J.S., Nyland, K., Rich, J.A., Urry, C.M. 2016, “Welcome to the Twilight Zone: The Mid-Infrared Properties of Poststarburst Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal, 843, 9. arXiv:1608.00256

  16. French, K.D., Arcavi, I., Zabludoff, A. 2016, “Tidal Disruption Events Prefer Unusual Host Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 818L, 21. arXiv:1601.04705

  17. French, K.D., Yang, Y., Zabludoff, A., Narayanan, D., Shirley, Y., Walter, F., Smith, J., Tremonti, C. 2015, “Discovery of Large Molecular Gas Reservoirs in Post-Starburst Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal 801, 1. arXiv:1501.00983

  18. French, K.D., Wong, K., Zabludoff, A., Ammons, S., Keeton, C., Angulo., R. 2014, “Characterizing the Best Cosmic Telescopes in the Millennium Simulations,” Astrophysical Journal 785, 59. arXiv:1402.6326

  19. French, K.D. 2010, “Development of a Dielectric Loaded RF Cavity for a Muon Accelerator,” Nuclear Inst. and Methods A. 624, 731.