The underlying theme of my research is to understand
galaxy evolution through cosmic time, with a particular focus on
chemical enrichment of the interstellar and intergalactic media.
The work is built on three pillars which span the main tools we
use to study galaxy evolution: observations,
My research has been funded by NSERC
Discovery grants ($821,695, from 2007-2023), a $120,000 NSERC Discovery
Accelerator grant (2007-2010) and half a million dollars in
infrastructure from CFI (2003-2012).
A list of past and current students and postdocs in my group
and a full list of publications is available..
My group has made extensive use of large observational datasets to tackle
a broad range of questions in the field of galaxy evolution. We are perhaps
most well known for our work on galaxy mergers, where we have used the SDSS
to extensively characterize the effect of interactions at low redshift with
superlative statistics. This work has been complemented by both public and
PI multi-wavelength observations spanning the X-ray to the radio, in order
to study AGN,
gas depletion (or lack thereof!) and chemistry.
recently, my group has been leading research investigating the spatial variations of galaxy properties using large IFU surveys, such as MaNGA. This work has focused both on studies of quenching and star formation in normal galaxies and mergers. Observations of molecular gas are critical to understanding these processes and I am co-PI of the ALMaQUEST survey, which combines MaNGA and ALMA observations to study the interplay of gas and star formation, in normal galaxies, starbursts and to investigate quenching.
Finally, I am actively involved in the CFIS and UNIONS imaging survey. In particular, we are exploiting the deep imaging capabilities to identify galaxy mergers, in order to study their star formation and AGN activity.
To complement the observational work in my group, I maintain close ties with
theoretical colleagues, and support galaxy simulation research in my group. Again,
this work has had a significant focus on galaxy mergers, using a range of cosmological,
zoom-in and binary galaxy simulations. Previous work includes the study of the impact of
mergers on the circum-galactic medium,
the use of mid-IR colours in identifying
merger triggered AGN and tracing the
spatial dependence of triggered
star formation in mergers.
Most recently, we have been utilizing large cosmological simulations to study the statistical effect of merger on star formation in the pre and post merger era, as well as its impact on quenching.
The availability of massive public galaxy surveys, such as the SDSS,
has revolutionized the power of archival research in extra-galacic astronomy.
Multi-wavelength complements, over large fractions of the sky, leverage incredible diagnostic power,
at energies ranging from the UV (e.g. GALEX) to the mid-IR (e.g. WISE) all the way to the radio
(e.g. ALFALFA). This revolution is set to continue in the coming decades with even more massive datasets
from projects such as Euclid and LSST. My group has been at the leading edge of using
machine learning techniques in astronomy, publishing on topics that range from predictions of
gas content and
star formation rates, to analysing the likely physical mechanisms that
quench and regulate star formation.
In recognition of the enormous scope of machine learning applications in extra-galactic astronomy,
I lead the GalNet collaboration, one branch of UVic's ARCNet research centre.
Past and present students and postdocs at UVic
- Melanie Gendre, final year research project and summer research
on DLAs in 2004. PhD from UBC (2010), then postdoc at Jodrell Bank, UK.
- Crystal Brasseur, final year research project and summer research
on compact groups in 2007. UVic MSc 2009.
- Ashley Chutter, USRA summer student in 2006. UVic MSc.
- Chris Usher, final year research project in 2009. Swinburne PhD 2014. PDF at LJM and Sweden..
- Alison Faulkner, final year research project in 2010. Now a graduate student at UVic (particle physics).
- Meghan Reid, summer research 2010. BSc McGill 2014. Software Development Engineer at Microsoft, Seattle.
- Daniel Jacobsen, directed studies student 2011.
- Trystyn Berg, co-op student, 2011; USRA 2012. UVic MSc 2014. UVic PhD 2018.
- Adrien Thob, 6 month stage de recherche 2013. MSc (2015) from Paris, PhD from LJMU, now PDF at UW.
- Gunjan Bansal,
MITACS global link student 2013. Continued to PhD at Leiden University.
- Clare Higgs summer student 2013. Now PhD student at Uvic.
- Connor Bottrell summer student 2014. PhD from UVic (2020) then Kavli IPMU PDF.
- Swayamrupta Panda
MITACS global link student 2015 , now PhD student in Poland.
- Kyle Finner, Honours project 2015. PhD Yonsei University. PDF CalTech.
- Kali Salmas, summer student 2015. UVic BSc..
- Braulio Antonio
MITACS global link student 2017. PhD student at Queens.
- Marcus Merryfield, Honours project 2018. Now a graduate student at McGill
- Akshara Viswanathan, Mitacs student 2018. Now a PhD student in Groningen.
- Hayman Gossain, Mitacs student 2019
- Scott Wilkinson, summer student 2019. Now graduate student at UVic.
- Scott Wilkinson, directed studies project 2020. Now graduate student at UVic.
- Brian York, MSc 2008: The Search for Diffuse Interstellar Bands
in Quasar Absorption Line Systems. Post degree, took a position as a research
analyst at the Space Telescope Science Institute.
- Nikola Milutinovic, MSc 2009: The interstellar medium at high redshift.
Now scientific engineer at DRAO.
- Michael Palmer, MSc 2012: Bulge and disk star formation
rates in SDSS mergers. Now works with climate modelling at Green Power Labs.
- Jillian Scudder, PhD 2014: Gas flows in interacting galaxies: a multi-wavelength study. Now faculty at Oberlin College.
- Trystyn Berg, MSc 2014: Metal-strong DLAs and their context with the Local
Group. Now ESO fellow in Chile.
- Mara Johnson-Groh, MSc 2016: DLA galaxy detection with planet imaging techniques. Now a NASA science writer at Goddard Spaceflight Center.
- Connor Bottrell, MSc 2016: galaxy morphologies in the SDSS and cosmological simulations. PhD Uvic (2020), now a PDF at Kavli IPMU.
- Trystyn Berg, PhD 2018: galaxies in absorption. Now ESO fellow in Chile.
- Mallory Thorp, MSc 2018: Mergers studied with MaNGA. Now PhD student at UVic.
- Maan Hani, PhD 2020: Galaxies studied through simulations. Herschel PDF at McMaster.
- Connor Bottrell, PhD 2020: galaxy morphologies in the SDSS and cosmological simulations. Now Kavli IPMU PDF in Tokyo.
- Mallory Thorp, PhD candidate (since 2018): Mergers studied with MaNGA and ALMA
- Robert Bickley, PhD candidate (since 2019): Mergers and machine learning
- Shoshannah Byrne-Mamahit, MSc candidate (since 2020): Mergers and AGN in the IllustrisTNG simulation
- Scott Wilkinson, MSc candidate (since 2021): The merger - poststarburst connection
Postdoctoral fellows and research assistants
A variety of projects are available for undergraduate and prospective
graduate students to work on, depending on available funding.
- Alan McConnachie postdoc from 2005 -- 2008. Now permanent staff at NRC-HAA.
- Trevor Mendel postdoc at UVic 2009 -- 2012. Now ASTRO-3D research fellow at ANU.
- Jorge Moreno CITA National Fellow 2012 -- 2014. Now faculty at Pomona College.
- Asa Bluck postdoc at UVic Sept. 2012 -- 2015. Now faculty at Florida International University
- Hossein Teimoorinia research associate 2013-2016. Now astronomer at CADC/HAA.
- Joanna Woo postdoc at UVic 2017 -- 2019. Now faculty at SFU.
- Salvatore Quai postdoc at UVic 2019 --
- Dan Walters research associate 2019 --