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Kim Venn

Director of ARC,
Director of NTCO

Canada Research Chair
(Tier II: 2005-2015)
Ph.D., UTexas at Austin

Office: Elliott 111
phone: 250 472 5182
email: kvenn at

Kim Venn is a stellar spectroscopist, specializing in the analysis of metal poor stars in our Galaxy and nearby dwarf satellites. The comparison of the chemistry of stars within our Galaxy, and to stars in other galaxies, tells us about the formation and evolution of these systems, as well as the nucleosynthesis of the elements themselves. She has won numerous awards for her research including the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (NSF 2000), a Canadian Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics (Tier II, 2005-2015), and recently shared a UVic REACH award for Excellence in Research Partnerships with Prof. Colin Bradley, Dr. Dave Andersen, Dr. Olivier Lardiere, and the RAVEN multi-object adaptive optics science demonstration team.

Research Areas

Our group's current research interests include;
    1. StarNet : we have a UVic group using machine learning techniques to analyse stellar spectra.
    2. Galactic Archeaology (in general): we have used the publically avaiable data from the recent spectroscopic surveys (SDSS APOGEE and Gaia-ESO), with parallax and proper motion data from Gaia to study various stellar populations in the Galaxy, including globular clusters, chemically peculiar stars, and metal-poor stars.
    3. Pristine Survey (specific program): using a new CFHT narrow band filter around the CaHK feature it is possible to estimate metallicities in FGK stars when used with other colours (e.g., SDSS, PanSTARRS, or Gaia). We are gathering CFHT and Gemini HRS spectroscopy of metal-poor stars found in the Pristine survey, for observational studies of the nucleosynthesis and convection in stars, and supernova and AGB stellar yields.
    4. Astronomical Instrumentation : our group works with engineers and scientists in the UVic/Mech Engineering department and NRC-Herberg labs on developing science cases around new instrumentation techniques. We have been involved in the scientific demonstration of RAVEN, and are working with the Gemini/GIRMOS team. We are also interested in advanced fibre-fed spectrographs (e.g., GRACES, GHOST), and support developments for the fibre transmission system for MSE.

    Presently Active Projects

    • chemodynamics of stars in dwarf galaxies, globular clusters, the Galactic halo, the Galactic bulge
    • metal poor stars and the early universe
    • machine learning techniques for spectral surveys
    • stars with debris disks
    • Sloan Digital Sky Survey -V : Milky Way Mapper survey
    • Thirty Metre Telescope, science case, instrumentation
    • Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer, science case, instrumention, FiTS
    • Gemini GRACES and GHOST, science cases, LLP
    • Gemini GIRMOS, science case, instrumentation
    • CFHT SPIRou and ESO NIRPS, science cases
    • CASTOR, science case

    Graduate and (Co-)Advisees

    • Collin Kielty: MSc 2017, PhD candidate
    • Clare Higgs: PhD candidate
    • Mojtaba Taheri Nieh: PhD candidate
    • Jared Keown: PhD candidate
    • Ondrea Clarkson: PhD candidate
    • Spencer Bialek: BSc 2017, MSc candidate
    • Ruth Digby: BSc 2016, MSc candidate
    • Teaghan O'Briain: BSc candidate
    • Nripesh Kumar: Mitacs Global Scholar 2019

      Former Members

    • Farbod Jahandar: MSc 2018, PhD candidate (UdeM, Montreal)
    • Stephanie Monty: BSc 2018, PhD candidate (ANU, Australia)
    • Dr. Zack Draper: PhD 2018, industry (BC)
    • Dr. Masen Lamb: PhD 2017, PDF at Dunlap Institute (Toronto)
    • Dr. Paolo Turri: PhD 2017, PDF at Berkeley (CA, USA)
    • Dr. Hannah Broekhoven-Fiene: PhD 2016, teaching
    • Dr. Rosemary Pike: PhD 2016, PDF at ASAII (Taiwan)
    • Nic Loewen: BSc 2017, MSc candidate at UVic
    • Deborah Lockhorst: BSc 2015, PhD candidate (Toronto, Canada)
    • Kris Youakim: BSc 2015, PhD candidate IAP (Potsdam, Germany)
    • Dr. Charli Sakari: PhD 2014, PDF (U. Washington)
    • Dr. Ryan Leaman: PhD 2012, PDF (MPIA, Heidelberg)
    • Dr. Celia Blain: PhD 2012 (Mech Eng), PDF UVic (Mech Eng)
    • Brendan Thorne: BSc 2015, industry
    • Dr. Trystyn Berg: MSc 2014, PhD 2018, PDF (ESO, Chile)
    • Anna Delayhe: BSc 2011, PhD candidate McGill
    • Mike Divell: BSc 2011, teaching
    • Ashley Chutter: MSc 2009, teaching
    • Dr. Paul Wilson: BSc 2008, PhD 2013 U.Exeter
    • Konstantin Fedotov: BSc 2008, PhD candidate WesternU
    • Jon Geehan: MSc 2006, teaching

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