Intro

I am an Astronomy graduate student at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, having previously completed an MPhys Astrophysics degree at the University of Edinburgh. My main research interest is the study of exoplanets - I'm fascinated by the broad diversity of exoplanetary systems, their formation and their potential for habitability.

I will be carrying out my PhD with Michael C. Liu, focusing on leveraging new and upcoming adaptive optics upgrades to Maunakea observatories to directly image brown dwarf and exoplanet systems.

I am bisexual and use he/him pronouns, and I'm a strong advocate for inclusion of underrepresented groups in STEM and in all walks of life. In my spare time, I like playing video games, binge-watching interesting TV shows and playing board games with my friends. I also recently got a tattoo of directly imaged exoplanet system HR 8799, as you can see below!

Research

My central research focus is the study of exoplanets, their formation and atmospheric composition via direct imaging.

I will be carrying out my PhD with Michael C. Liu, focusing on leveraging new and upcoming adaptive optics upgrades to Maunakea observatories to directly image brown dwarf and exoplanet systems.

Previous research projects

  • 2 Fast 2 Furious: Controlling coronagraphic PSF quality

    During my first year of grad school, I developed a version of the existing Fast and Furious algorithm for use with coronagraphs, dubbed 2 Fast 2 Furious. We have proven that this approach works in simulation, and are in the progress of transferring this over to the Keck/NIRC2 test bench before deployment on-sky. This project was supervised by Michael Bottom in collaboration with partners at Keck, and I will be presenting our preliminary results at AAS 241.
  • Investigating brown dwarf variability

    As part of my Master's thesis, I identified variable brown dwarfs in Kepler/K2 data using the Lomb-Scargle periodogram, supervised by Dr. Beth Biller. This constitutes the largest ever survey of optical variability in brown dwarfs using space-based instrumentation. I am currently preparing this work for an upcoming publication.
  • Direct detections of protoplanetary disks

    Over summer 2020 I used PSF subtraction techniques to attempt to uncover protoplanetary disks in HST/STIS observations of three M-type stars. This was done under Prof. Max Millar-Blanchaer and Dr. Bin Ren as part of the Caltech SURF program. For two of these stars, we detected disk structure out to greater radial extents than ever previously observed. I have since written a paper on this work, which has been published in MNRAS.

  • Discovering high-redshift quiescent galaxies

    My work with Dr. Adam Carnall finding high-redshift quiescent galaxies using the Python package BAGPIPES found ten robust galaxies at z > 3. This research was funded by the University of Edinburgh's Career Development Summer Scholarship programme, and my results were the catalyst for the work in Carnall, Walker, McLure et al. (2020). This work also led to a successful JWST Cycle 1 observing proposal that I am a Co-I on.

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