I'm a Staff Associate at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science. My research is focused on trying to understand the processes by which galaxies form and evolve throughout the history of the Universe. I do this by studying both galaxies in the local “present day” universe as well as at high redshift, where we can observe the early epochs of galaxy evolution. I take a multi-wavelength approach using both photometric and spectroscopic observational techniques from the UV/optical to the infrared, mm and radio wavelengths to study galaxies from the first Gyr after the Big Bang to the present day. I'm involved in a series of research projects on the properties of young galaxies at high redshift, the large scale structure of the Universe, the nature of Dark Energy, the process of star formation on galactic scales, and the measurement of chemical abundances in galaxies.
I got my Ph.D. at UT Austin, where I worked on the HETDEX project. HETDEX is a revolutionary survey which uses blank-field integral field spectroscopy (IFS) to detect high-z galaxies by means of their Lyman α emission. Mapping the position of hundreds of thousands of star-forming galaxies at 1.9< z< 3.5 will allow HETDEX to put constraints on the properties of Dark Energy in the early universe. I am currently using data from the HETDEX Pilot Survey to study the properties of these Lyman α Emitters and the radiative processes involved in the escape of Ly α photons from the inter-stellar and circum-galactic medium of high-z galaxies. Lately I have been using the FIRE near-IR spectrograph at the Magellan Telescopes to study the ionization state and chemical abundance of ionized gas in these high redshift galaxies.
I am also the P.I. of the VIRUS-P Exploration of Nearby Galaxies (VENGA), an IFU survey that spectroscopically maps the bulges, bars and outer disks of 30 normal spiral galaxies in the local universe. I am interested in studying the physical processes that regulate the rate at which stars form in different environments inside galaxies. To do this I combine the VENGA spatially resolved optical spectroscopy with maps of these galaxies at radio and sub-mm wavelengths in order to study the link between the different phases of the ISM and their properties and the formation of new stars across the different environments present inside galaxies. I'm also investigating how this and other processes depend on the chemical abundance of gas in the ISM.
Finally, I am also part of the MUSYC collaboration. In MUSYC I was part of the Wide NIR imaging team and as part of my Masters thesis at Universidad de Chile I produced the wide area muli-wavelength K-band selected photometric catalogs catalogs for two of the three MUSYC fields with wide K-band coverage. I also used this data to study the clustering and properties of massive galaxies at z~2. I am still inolved in narrow-band studies of Ly α Emitters ausing the MUSYC data.