Exoplanets & Exploring
Hi! I am an astrophysicist hunting for habitable(?) exoplanets.
What's my story? I am a European Space Agency (ESA) Research Fellow at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC). Previosuly, I was a Juan Carlos Torres Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I am fascinated by our quest to find Earth-sized exoplanets around small stars, and the big question of how stellar flares impact their habitability. To this end, I work with leading international missions, such TESS, SPECULOOS and NGTS. Whenever I am not searching for new worlds, I enjoy exploring our own Earth, traveling and the outdoors (scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking).
What did I do before that? I obtained my PhD working with Nobel-Laureate Professor Didier Queloz at the University of Cambridge, UK. My research focused on how we can distinguish between real exoplanets and things that look like exoplanets, but are not (false positives). As part of the NGTS team, I helped install telescopes, develop novel algorithms and hunt for Jupiter- and Neptune-sized exoplanets. Previous to that, for my Master’s Thesis, I had done something completely different: research in the biophysics lab of Professor George Shubeita at the University of Austin at Texas, USA. I developed a mathematical model to understand Drosophila models of genetic diseases like Alzheimer's and Fragile X. My underlying physics undergraduate education came from the University of Würzburg, where I also wrote a Bachelor's thesis on black hole mega-masers in Professor Matthias Kadler's group.
Expertise: Exoplanets, Stellar Flares, Cool Stars, Habitability
Skills: Bayesian Statistics, Machine Learning, Time Series Analysis
Oct 21, Engaging the public with our science projects at ESA and chatting with our very own astronaut André Kuipers!
Sep 21, First day at ESA! Having an office right next to original astronaut suits is preeetty cool.
July 18, Graduated from the University of Cambridge with a PhD in (astro-)physics.
Feb 16, Joined Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and German Ambassador Ammon for the Kurt Hahn Dinner in the German Embassy in London.
Oct 14, Started my PhD at the University of Cambridge. The first milestone of an exciting and long academic journey!