Bio and CV


K. Decker French

(last updated July 2018)

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)
  • Carnegie Fellow (deferred)
  • Graduate Research Assistant,  Steward Observatory (2011 - 2017)
  • Lee Teng Intern, Fermilab (Summer 2010)
  • Undergraduate Researcher, MIT (2008 - 2010)



  • 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)



  • 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, Using ALMA to Answer Why Galaxies Stop Making Stars (11.8hrs, Cycle 5)
    • PIEvolution of Molecular Gas Excitation from Starbursting to Quiescence (11.3hrs, Cycle 5)
    • PI, What Stops Galactic Star Formation? An ALMA Study of Dense Molecular Gas in Post-Starburst Galaxies (4.5hrs, Cycle 4)
    • Co-Investigator, After the Fall: Zooming In on the Molecular Fuel in Post-Starburst Galaxies (4hrs + 2hrs ACA, Cycle 4)
    • PI, Dense Molecular Gas in Post-Starburst Galaxies: A New Laboratory for What Stops Star Formation (2 hrs, Cycle 3)
    • Co-I, After the Fall: Mapping the Molecular Fuel in Post-Starburst Galaxies (5hrs + 8hrs ACA, Cycle 3)
  • Magellan
    • PI, MagE, Tracking the Post-Starburst Evolution of the Black Hole—Bulge Relation: Testing Signatures of AGN Feedback (1.5 nights 2017b)
    • PI, MMTF, Testing for Recent AGN Activity in Post-Starburst Galaxies: Connections to Gas Depletion and Tidal Disruption Events (2 nights 2018a, 4 nights 2018b)
  • HST
    • Co-I, What is Enhancing the Tidal Disruption Rate of Stars in Post-Starburst Galaxies? (25 orbits, Cycle 24)
    • Co-I, Enhanced rates of tidal disruptions in E+A galaxies: resolving the central dynamics of post-starburst galactic nuclei with HST observations (8 orbits, Cycle 24)
    • Gemini North, GMOS Co-I, Star Formation Efficiency and AGN Feedback in Gas-Rich Post-Starburst Galaxies (12 hrs, 2016A)
    • VLA PI, Post-Starburst Galaxies with Molecular Gas: What Happened to the Star Formation? (3 hrs, 2014B)
    • ARO Sub-millimeter Telescope PI, The Evolution of Gas Properties through the Post-Starburst Phase (400 hrs, 2015B-2016A)
    • MMT, HectoSpec Co-I, Mapping the Most Powerful Gravitational Lens Telescopes with MMT Hectospec (2012, 2013, 2014)
    • MMT, MAESTRO Assisted on Engineering Runs and Preparation (2013)



    • 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



    • 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)
    • Referee, AAS Journals (2017 - present)
    • Speaker, Space Drafts, Astronomy on Tap 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., 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
    2. 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
    3. 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
    4. 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
    5. 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. 
    6. 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. 
    7. 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.
    8. French, K.D., Arcavi, I., Zabludoff, A. 2017, “The Post-Starburst Evolution of Tidal Disruption Event Host Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal, 835, 2. arXiv:1609.04755
    9. 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
    10. French, K.D., Arcavi, I., Zabludoff, A. 2016, “Tidal Disruption Events Prefer Unusual Host Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 818L, 21. arXiv:1601.04705
    11. 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
    12. 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
    13. French, K.D. 2010, “Development of a Dielectric Loaded RF Cavity for a Muon Accelerator,” Nuclear Inst. and Methods A. 624, 731.