Research Interests

I primarily use radio telescopes to study the gas content of dwarf galaxies and how the cosmic environment impacts their evolution. Some of my other research interests: kinematics of globular clusters and how they help reveal the interaction history of their host galaxy; ultra-diffuse galaxies with anomalous dark matter properties; large-scale structure in the Universe, especially in a topological framework.

Below are summaries of my general research interests.
Click here to read further about my current projects.

Credit: EngineerGirl

Dwarf galaxy evolution is influenced by both external and internal processes. However, the exact relationships are not always clear. Does the environment of a dwarf galaxy play a dominant role in its formation and evolution? Or do internal processes (such as stellar feedback) dominate? Interferometers like the Very Large Array (pictured above) can help us answer these questions by giving us detailed information about the gas in these dwarfs. The structure and motions of this gas can help us tease out these complex relationships.

Credit: Astrobites

Historically, dwarf galaxy discoveries are based on observing the stars (since we think all galaxies have stars!) but this becomes difficult when the galaxy is small and faint. With the advent of (nearly) all-sky surveys of gas in the local Universe, we can systematically pick out dwarf galaxy candidates by instead looking for their gas content. With these new dwarfs in hand, we can begin to ask questions about their statistical properties, how they compare to their optically-selected cousins, and how they broaden our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution.

Credit: APOD/NASA/G. Benintende

The Triangulum galaxy (also known as M33, pictured above) is a small spiral galaxy in our cosmic neighborhood. In fact, it is so close to our nearest neighbor Andromeda that we see evidence (using radio light) of material streaming between the two! This should affect the "halo" of the galaxy — the stars, clusters, and gas that are very far away but still bound to the galaxy. By studying the motions of globular clusters in M33's halo, we can get a better understanding of how such gravitational interactions affect the stars and gas.