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Staff List

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Andy Adamson  (North)

Keywords: ISM: dust, molecules, extinction
Principal research interests are the composition and physical properties of dust grains and small molecules in the interstellar medium, studied via infrared and visual spectroscopy and spectropolarimetry.

Morten Andersen  (South)

Keywords: Galaxy: open clusters, galaxies: star clusters
My research focusses on resolved young massive star clusters and their properties, in particular the Initial Mass Function and whether it differs in these extreme environments compared to nearby low mass embedded clusters. I use high spatial resolution observations from space and the ground in order to resolve the individual cluster members. I am also investigating the birth and disruption of massive star clusters.
I am further interested in dust, its growth in molecular clouds and its destruction in supernova shocks.
URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/morten-andersen-27a7162b

Rodolfo Angeloni  (South)

Keywords: stars: variable, binaries
Variable and interacting binary stars studied via near-infrared and optical photometry and spectroscopy; history of astronomy, philosophy of science and of physics.
URL: http://www.rodolfoangeloni.net/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/rodolfo-angeloni-492829b8

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Rodrigo Carrasco  (South)

Keywords: galaxies: clusters
My research concentrate on the study of the galaxy population in cluster and groups of galaxies, focusing primarily in the kinematics and dynamics of the galaxies in these structures. In particular I’m interested in evolution of the cluster and their parent galaxy population and how the presence of sub-structures and cluster merges can affect the physics of the galaxies. Other research interest include: the study of field massive galaxies at high redshift and the effect of the minor and major mergers through cosmic time; Fossil and compact groups of galaxies and the connection between them.
URL: https://cl.linkedin.com/in/eleazar-rodrigo-carrasco-damele-b71a0210

Andre-Nicolas Chene  (North)

Keywords: stars: massive stars, Galaxy: open clusters
My main research interests are massive stars and star clusters. I study the fundamental parameters and the evolution of the massive (>=10 Msol) and very massive (>=100 Msol) stars. This work covers the observation of massive star binaries, Wolf-Rayet wind variability, the search for magnetic fields, the search for pulsations, and the discovery of new Galactic Wolf-Rayet stars.
Also, I am a member of the VISTA Variable in the Via Lactea (VVV; vvvsurvey.org) ESO public survey, operating on the 4m Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA). I contribute to the study of Galactic open and globular star clusters, one of the prime science goal of the survey. The main objective of this effort is to produce a large sample of star clusters, which are practically invisible in the optical bands. The strength of this sample lies in the homogeneity of the data and analysis employed.
Finally, I am always inclined in using my skills in photometry and spectroscopy in both optical and infrared wavelengths to contribute to various projects on brown dwarfs, non-radial pulsating stars and high-redshift colliding galaxies.
URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andr%C3%A9-nicolas-chen%C3%A9-239b63114

Kristin Chiboucas  (North)

Keywords: galaxies: formation, evolution, dwarf
Primary research interest is galaxy formation and evolution, investigated through a range of projects including the star formation and assembly histories of cluster galaxies as a function of redshift, the galaxy luminosity function as a function of environment, and the search for extreme dwarf galaxies including very low surface brightness and ultra compact dwarfs.


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Veronica Firpo  (South)

Keywords: Galaxy: open clusters, galaxies: star clusters
My research studies are linked to Galactic and extragalactic massive star formation dominated by OB stars. Now, my research is focuses on a comprehensive study of Giant HII Region candidates in spiral, compact and interacting galaxies. This study is aimed to analyze the properties of large star-forming complexes as a function of their metallicity and environment, by using moderate and high-resolution spectroscopy. I am also involved with a large study of Galactic star-forming regions and IR-bubbles.
I have developed skills specially in most aspects of spectroscopy (long slit, echelle, Integral Field Spectroscopy), reduction and analyses of far-infrared photometry and spectroscopy data (including map making and calibration of PACS and SPIRE maps of Herschel Observatory). I have Associate status with the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). The last postdoctoral position in the University of La Serena, allowed me to gain experience in data analysis, data quality control, and the use of tree and tessellation algorithms in near infrared images using the Vista Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) survey (the VVV is a Milky Way survey in the YZJHKs NIR bands, being performed by the VISTA 4.1-m telescope). I am member of "La Serena Node" of such survey.
URL: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Veronica_Firpo
https://www.linkedin.com/in/verofirpo

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Tom Geballe  (North)

Keywords: 
My research involvements are all tied to infrared spectroscopy and cover a wide range of astrophysical research areas. In the area of stellar/sub-stellar astrophysics I am currently studying the evolutionary states of and chemical compositions of hot stars in the Galactic center. Via observations of isotopic abundances of oxygen I am investigating formation scenarios of R Corona Borealis stars and Hydrogen-deficient Carbon stars. I also am involved in following the currently rapidly evolving stars, Sakurai's Object (aka V4334 Sgr,) which likely underwent very late thermal pulse in 1996, and V838 Mon, which is believed to have undergone a stellar merger in 2002. I also am participating in spectroscopic studies of the very coolest (T, Y and beyond) brown dwarfs to understand their atmospheric structures and chemical compositions. In the domain of Galactic astronomy I am involved in studying the gaseous environment in the Central Molecular Zone of the Galaxy using as probes the molecular ion H3+ and the molecule CO. I also am leading an effort to understand, via deep IR spectroscopy of excited H2, the physics of shock waves in molecular gas and am following up on my team's recent discovery of the longest wavelength diffuse interstellar bands. In Solar System astrophysics the research team to which I belong is investigating the upper atmospheres and aurorae of the planetary gas giants (Jupiter - Neptune) and the surface compositions of dwarf planets and moons of the outer planets. Finally, I dabble a bit in extragalactic astrophysics, again using H3+ and CO to infer the natures of the cool gaseous environments ("dusty molecular toroids") surrounding AGN.

German Gimeno  (South)

Keywords: galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
Observational Extragalactic Astronomy (mainly using longslit spectroscopy. MOS spectroscopy and direct imaging). I am a heavy GMOS user, also some NIR (Phoenix, Flamingos 2)
Disk galaxies morphology and kinematics.
Minor mergers
Compact Groups of Galaxies, with emphasis on nearby goups.
Stellar systems (theory/experimental):
Study of the dynamics of satellite galaxies and stellar streams via semianalytic modelling
GR approach to galactic dynamics

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Paul Hirst  (North)

Keywords: galaxies: black holes
My research interests are based around Active Galactic Nuclei, though I have extended this out to galactic micro-quasar objects, along with survey and follow-up techniques for finding and characterizing AGN at extremely high redshift. I utilize large databases and intensive computational techniques in my research, developing Data Science and Machine Learning techniques.

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Inger Jorgensen  (North)

Keywords: galaxies: evolution
My research focuses on the evolution of galaxies in rich clusters of galaxies. I lead an international collaboration of researchers. With our project, the Gemini/HST Galaxy Cluster Project (GCP), we aim to understand the evolution of both stellar populations and galaxy structure as it takes place in the largest mass concentrations in the Universe, galaxy clusters with masses that make them viable progenitors of clusters like the Coma and Perseus cluster or even more massive clusters at low redshift. We use deep spectroscopy in the rest frame optical obtained with the Gemini telescopes combined with HST imaging. The project has ongoing opportunities for research interns and other junior collaborator involvement.
URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ijorgensen

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Hwihyun Kim  (South)

Keywords: Galaxy: ultracompact HII regions, ISM: molecules, extinction, galaxies: resolved stars and star clusters, instrumentation: high-resolution infrared spectrograph.
My main research focuses on massive stars (ultracompact HII regions and OB-type stars) and star clusters in our Milky Way galaxy and nearby star-forming galaxies. I use space- and ground-based imaging and spectroscopic data to study how those massive systems regulate star formation and evolution activities in galaxies. Currently I am an active member of the HST Legacy Extragalactic UV Survey (LEGUS; legus.stsci.edu) coordinating the Star Cluster Interest Group. Part of my research work is also involved with instrumentation, specifically high-resolution nearinfrared spectrometer IGRINS (Immersion GRating near-INfrared Spectrometer). I worked and continue working as an IGRINS instrument support scientist to analyze the performance and develope science projects with the instrument team and the users.

Markus Kissler-Patig (North)

Keywords: galaxies: black holes, planets: detection
My current main scientific interests are the formation and evolution of galaxies, star clusters and associated (intermediate-mass) black holes, as well as astrobiology, exoplanets and life beyond the Solar System.
I am an adjunct professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich since 2005, and an affiliate faculty at University of Hawaii in Hilo since 2015 and have been teaching astrophysics and astrobiology.
URL: http://staff.gemini.edu/~mkissler

Scot Kleinman  (North)

Keywords: stars: white dwarfs, pulsations
My primary research interests are white dwarf stars and the use of large scale surveys. I use white dwarf stars as laboratories to explore the physics of matter in extreme conditions and the end products of most stars’ evolution. With colleagues, I have used the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to identify a large number of new white dwarf stars that is now an order of magnitude larger than existed prior to the SDSS. This new larger number of spectroscopically-confirmed white dwarf stars allows for more extensive investigations of class properties of interesting white dwarf subclasses than have been possible before. We are also building white dwarf luminosity functions and mass distributions to explore the history of star formation in the Galaxy. Additionally, I am  involved with the Whole Earth Telescope to discern white dwarf stars’ internal structures through their self-excited pulsations via the tools of asteroseismology.

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Kathleen Labrie  (North)

Keywords: gravitational lensing: weak
I am currently part of a collaboration studying quasars, in particular the broad emission line region. The primary approach is through the observation of multi-imaged lensed quasars and the analysis of the differential micro-lensing observed between spectra of the lensed images. In a multi-imaged quasar, differential microlensing is characterized by a variation in the magnification levels of different spectral components in a single lens image, compared to the non-microlensed quasar spectrum. In the absence of microlensing, we expect emission line and continuum flux ratios to be equivalent to each other and to agree with the macro-model flux ratios, and we therefore expect flat, featureless spectral ratios. In the presence of differential microlensing, the emission lines from the broad emission line region and/or the continuum will cause features on the spectral ratios. The flux ratios and the shape of the features in the spectral ratios can be used to put constraints on the size and the kinematics of the sources of emission. I bring my expertise in data reduction of Gemini data to this collaboration.
I am also active in the field of scientific software and algorithms for data reduction and analysis.
URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathleenlabrie

Sandy Leggett  (North)

Keywords: stars: brown dwarfs, white dwarfs
My primary research area is brown dwarfs, objects with a mass below that required for stable hydrogen burning. I work with collaborators to identify candidate brown dwarfs in optical, near-infrared and mid-infrared sky surveys. We obtain optical through mid-infrared photometry and spectroscopy of these candidates, and brown dwarfs identified by other means, to compare to current model atmospheres. The goal is to determine the fundamental parameters of these faint, usually isolated, objects. If temperature and gravity can be determined then evolutionary models allow us to constrain both mass and age. As cooler and cooler brown dwarfs are found this work becomes more challenging observationally and theoretically.
A secondary research interest is cool white dwarfs. I have been involved with searches of sky surveys for low-temperature white dwarfs. The coolest white dwarfs, with effective temperature around 4000K, must be older than 8 Gyr, and so are useful for constraining the age of the Galaxy.
URL: http://www.gemini.edu/staff/sleggett

Marie Lemoine-Busserolle  (North)

Keywords: galaxies: formation, evolution
My research interest focuses on galaxy formation and evolution through the study of physical properties of spatially resolved distant galaxies populations using mostly adaptive optics and integral-field spectroscopy in the optical and infrared on 8-m class telescopes. I also works on investigating the properties of high-redshift star-forming galaxies behind lensing clusters. My goal is to build a comprehensive view of the physical properties of populations of distant star-forming galaxies and to set constraints on the galaxy formation and evolution scenarios.
URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-lemoine-busserolle-0aa64960

Michael Lundquist  (North)

Keywords: Galaxy: open clusters
My primary research is on Galactic star formation. I focus on the transition from low-mass to high-mass star formation. I use near-infrared imaging and spectroscopy of a sample of intermediate-mass star-forming regions to investigate the clusters that are formed at the high-mass boundary. By studying these regions, we can determine the conditions necessary to produce high mass stars.

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Steve Margheim  (South)

Keywords: stars: massive stars
My research interests include stellar evolution and galactic archaeology, primarily through the understanding of the most metal-poor stars in the universe through high-resolution spectroscopy; and understanding the fates of massive stars through the study of supernova and LBV.

Bryan Miller  (South)

Keywords: galaxies: dwarf, elliptical, kinematics and dynamics, nuclei, star clusters
My current research focuses on the evolution of galaxies, especially dwarf galaxies, and star clusters in the nearby universe. The big questions that I'm trying to answer are: 1) How do star clusters form and evolve; 2) What are the connections between star clusters, nuclei, and galaxies; 3) What is the distribution and nature of dark matter; and 4) Can we test alternatives to dark matter? I am using Gemini to study the nature of star clusters and nuclei of dwarf elliptical galaxies and to measure the velocities of the star clusters in order to determine dynamical masses. Another project uses use wide-field imaging to characterize the baryonic structures (especially stellar shells, star clusters, and dwarf galaxies) in nearby galaxy groups and clusters. We will follow this up with integral-field and multi-object spectroscopy with the aim of determining dark matter distributions at very large projected radii. I'm also involved a project to use GeMS/GSAOI to study the stellar populations in Galactic globular clusters. My other interests include the star formation histories of dwarf galaxies, HII region abundances, star cluster formation in merging galaxies, and integral-field spectroscopy.
URL: http://www.gemini.edu/staff/bmiller

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Atsuko Nitta  (North)

Keywords: stars: white dwarfs, oscillations
I am interested in learning the physics under extreme conditions by studying the interior of white dwarf stars. White dwarf stars also provide the end point of stellar evolution and therefore their structure provide us with boundary conditions to the stellar evolution. The white dwarf stars as an ensemble can also be used to trace us star formation history of the group they belong to. Last but not the least, we have used white dwarf stars to as independent chronometer to put age limit on our galactic disk and hence the age of the universe. The observational method I primarily use to study above are via technique of asteroseismology, spectroscopy and use of large survey data such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

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Fredrik Rantakyro  (South)

Keywords: star: Be, planets: detection
Be Stars: These stellar objects are critical rotators and important in understanding stellar evolution. I have been using a variety of instruments to observe them at different scales i.e. MIDI and AMBER at scales of a few milliarcseconds to understand the spatial structure close to the interface between the disk and the star.
Phoenix for high resolution spectroscopy of in particular []-lines for a better understanding of the dynamics
GPI, when commissioned the NRM mode of GPI then using this will allow sample the spatial scales of sub arc seconds with 60mas resolution.
Planetary systems: I’m a member of both the GPIES and the GPI LLP program on stellar disks.
GPI is the ideal instrument to study young sub stellar objects to better understand the different possibilities in planetary formation.
Stellar disks are the birthplace of planets and thus a better understanding of the disk evolution and disk properties are critical in understanding their evolution. On the horizon is using ALMA to obtain complementary high spatial resolution spectroscopy and imaging of the extended disks.

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Ricardo Salinas  (South)

Keywords: Galaxy: globular clusters, galaxies: kinematics and dynamics, star clusters
I have an interest in all things globular cluster, Galactic or extragalactic. In Galactic clusters I study the presence of multiple stellar populations and their variable star content. In the extragalactic realm, I study the globular cluster systems of isolated ellipticals, and also globular cluster system dynamics as a proxy to the dark matter content of galaxies.
URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/RicardoSalinasV

Julia Scharwaechter  (North)

Keywords: galaxies: nuclei, active, ISM, kinematics and dynamics; galaxies: quasars: supermassive black holes
My main research area is the (co-)evolution of galaxies and their supermassive black holes. I am interested in studying the role of AGN feedback and the nature of black hole mass-host galaxy scaling relations. My observational projects mostly aim at spatially resolved studies of galaxy nuclei in the nearby Universe. I use 3D spectroscopy in the optical, near-infrared, and at millimeter wavelengths to probe the stellar and gas component in galaxies, with a special focus on gas-kinematic black hole mass measurements and gas excitation/kinematics around AGN. I am also interested in galaxy dynamics and galaxy merger simulations using N-body/SPH codes.

Mischa Schirmer  (South)

Keywords: galaxies: AGN
My primary research focus is on long-term AGN variability and mode switching. In particular, I’m interested in how these fast switches from high to low states (and vice versa) affect the observational properties of the AGN, their host galaxies and galaxy-scale outflows at other wavelengths than X-rays. For example, a rapidly fading quasar (orders of magnitude over thousands of years) would cause significant ionization echoes in the surrounding gas on scales of tens of kpc, and strong thermal echoes in the MIR response of a dusty torus. I’m also investigating how AGN variability affects the Ly-alpha properties of high-redshift galaxies, in particular Ly-alpha blobs.
Other interests revolve around clusters and superclusters of galaxies, and maintaining and developing my generic imaging and spectroscopic data reduction pipelines.

Meg Schwamb  (North)

Keywords: planetary astronomy, Solar System, Kuiper belt, Mars, main-belt comets, citizen science, exoplanets
My expertise is in big data for planetary astronomy. I study how planets and their building blocks form and evolve, applying ground-based surveys to probe our Solar System’s small body reservoirs and citizen science to mine large datasets for Solar System science. I have previously been a part of several wide-field surveys to discover distant Solar System bodies. Currently I'm involved in the Colours of the Outer Solar System Origins Survey, a 3-year campaign on Gemini North to measure a single epoch of g,r,and J band colors for a sample of Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) discovered in a well characterized survey with m_r’ <= 23.5 mag. I also further explore large optical surveys and NASA mission data with citizen science by applying human pattern recognition through the enlistment of hundreds of thousands of people in the research effort. I am currently involved in the Zooniverse’s Planet Four, Planet Four: Terrains, and Comet Hunters online citizen science projects to respectively map seasonal fans on the south pole of Mars, characterize surface features on the Martian south pole, and search for cometary activity in the asteroid belt. I currently serve the Comet Hunters project as project scientist.

Karleyne Silva (South)

Keywords: stars: binaries, variables
My research focuses on magnetic cataclysmic variables, in particular polars or AM Herculis stars. On this compact binary systems, accretion process takes place and the matter flow is driven by the strong magnetic field of the compact object, a white dwarf, forming an accretion column. I use optical photometry, polarimetry and spectroscopy to perform cyclotron modelling of the accretion columns using CYCLOPS model, unraveling the system physical and geometrical parameters. As these systems are also an important source of X-ray emission, I have experience extracting and modeling X-ray spectra to perform simultaneous modeling with the optical data. My main goal is to model in detail a significant number of systems using the same methodology, CYCLOPS, in order to be able to distinguish between particular and intrinsic properties of polars. Once discarded the particular properties of the systems, one can study the magnetic controlled plasma, its temperature and density distributions, the emission process involved and finally compare with theoretical predictions. Other interests are intermediate polars, evolution of magnetic cataclysmic variables and discovering new systems of this class. 
URL: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=D2JA2ycAAAAJ&hl=pt-BR

Gaetano Sivo  (South)

Keywords: instrumentation: high angular resolution
My main research is related to high angular resolution for astronomy. I have been working in the era of Adaptive Optics (AO) since 2009. I am now an AO assistant scientist at Gemini. My expertise in AO is control algorithm, disturbance correction and modeling perturbation (atmospheric turbulence, vibrations, windshake…). I am working on optimal control for classical and wide-field AO. The optimal control such as a Linear Quadratic Gaussian (LQG) enables to estimate and predict the perturbation phase with a Kalman filter based on models describing the evolution of the perturbation (spatial and temporal priors needed). The same description is used to describe vibrations affecting the system. Using an autoregressive model of order 2 we can identify a set a parameters that will describe the evolution of the perturbation. I am highly interested in using this smart controller to mitigate perturbation like vibrations affecting the AO system.
I am currently working on implementing an LQG control for the tip/tilt (TT) loop for GeMS. In simulation using on-sky GeMS data we have shown that we can improve the performance obtained by 5 to 10 mas rms of TT error. I am also a member of the CANARY team. CANARY is a wide-field AO demonstrator built to test new methods/concepts/design of AO and AO related research.
My research is very instrument related, instrumentation for astronomy.

Andrew Stephens (North)

Keywords: Galaxy: globular clusters, galaxies: formation, evolution
Andrew obtained his BS in 1996 from the Pennsylvania State University, and his PhD in 2001 from the Ohio State University. He was awarded the Princeton - Catolica Prize Fellowship in 2001, of which 1 year was spent at Princeton University, and 2 years at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Santiago Chile. In 2004 he began work at Gemini. His research interests include galaxy formation and evolution through the study of resolved stellar populations using space-based telescopes and ground-based telescopes with adaptive optics, and stellar chemical abundances and dynamics via optical and infrared spectroscopy.


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Joanna Thomas-Osip  (South)

Keywords: minor planets, asteroids, Kuiper belt: general
I am observational astronomer and planetary scientist with an eclectic taste for problem solving. My experience and interests include light scattering and remote sensing properties of dust particles (from atmospheric aerosols to interstellar grains), planetary occultation predictions, observations, and atmospheric modeling, characterization of small bodies in the solar system (from Near Earth Asteroids to Kuiper Belt Objects), and observatory environmental monitoring and characterization (especially image quality, turbulence, and precipitable water vapor).

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