The End of Star Formation in Galaxies

Poststarburst (or E+A) galaxies are a class of galaxies that show evidence of having had a recent "burst" of star formation, which has now ended. These galaxies are in transition between star-forming, blue spiral galaxies like our own Milky Way and red quiescent elliptical galaxies. Despite their lack of current star formation, we have observed that post-starburst galaxies can contain large reservoirs of the molecular gas which should otherwise be fueling new star formation. This gas is depleted during the post-starburst phase and is suppressed from collapse to denser states.

Our research was recently featured on astrobites.

Tidal Disruption Events

Tidal Disruption Events (TDEs) occur when a star ventures too close to a black hole, such that the tidal forces from the black hole overcome the self-gravity of the star, tearing it apart. The accretion of the star onto the black hole produces a bright, observable flare. My collaborators and I have been researching the host galaxies of these events, finding that many have been observed in galaxies which show signs of a recent starburst. Please see our recent papers here and here. This host galaxy preference can be used to find new TDEs, so we have developed a machine-learning method to identify likely hosts using photometry alone.

Our work was recently featured in New Scientist and AAS Nova.

Gravitational Lensing

Gravitational lensing by large clusters of galaxies can aid in the detection of faint, high redshift galaxies. My collaborators and I have investigating lines of sight in our universe which contain multiple large clusters, enhancing the ability to magnify large regions of space behind the clusters. Please see recent papers here and here