Research Personnel

Assistant Professor Catherine Espaillat

Young stars, planet formation, circumstellar disk structure and evolution, multiwavelength variability, radiative transfer modeling

Professor Espaillat joined the Department of Astronomy at Boston University as an Assistant Professor in 2013. She received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 2003 and earned a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Michigan in 2009. She went on to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow and a NASA Carl Sagan Fellow. Professor Espaillat is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Physics and a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award.

To learn more about Professor Espaillat’s work at the IAR, view her website here.

Assistant Professor JJ Hermes

High-precision observations of the endpoints of stars, planets, and binary systems; asteroseismology; time-domain astrophysics; space-based photometry; persistent gravitational wave sources

Professor JJ Hermes’ primary research interests converge on white dwarf stars, the final evolutionary state for more than 97 percent of all stars in our Galaxy. He uses pulsating and binary white dwarfs to determine fundamental parameters of these burnt-out stars. He also uses white dwarf stars as stable clocks that can test general relativity, reveal the presence of giant planets, and allow us to watch stellar evolution on human timescales.

To learn more about Professor Hermes’ work, view his website here.

Assistant Professor Philip Muirhead

Fundamental properties of low-mass stars, Statistics and characteristics of exoplanets, Stars and stellar evolution, Novel astronomical instrumentation.

Dr. Muirhead is engaged in a number of research programs aimed at understanding the variety of extrasolar planets orbiting low-mass stars. He is an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Boston University and the Principle Investigator of the Low-mass Start Group at Boston University. Group members lead surveys on a variety of telescopes to investigate properties of low-mass stars and their orbiting planets: space-based telescopes, large ground-based telescopes for spectroscopy and moderate-aperture telescopes for precise photometry.

Learn more about Professor Muirhead’s research here and more about his research group here.

Associate Professor Merav Opher

Computational and theoretical plasma physics in space and astrophysics; Interaction of the solar system with the interstellar medium; solar wind; shocks in the lower corona, T-Tauri and Solar-Like Stars.

Merav Opher’s interests are in how plasma and magnetic effects reveal themselves in astrophysical and space physics environments. In particular, in how stars interact with the surrounding media, how the solar system interacts with the local interstellar medium, and the interaction of extra-solar planets with their host stars. Her other interests are in how magnetic disturbances are driven and propagate from the Sun to Earth. She uses state-of the art 3D computational models to investigate these phenomena.

To learn more about Professor Opher’s work, view her website here.