Research Team

Scientific collaboration is one of the main strengths of MPIA as an institution. In this tradition, the following group of talented astronomers further their research through ingenuity, perseverance, collaboration, and efficient use of the facilities MPIA provides.


Gregory works primarily on mapping the distribution of interstellar dust in the Milky Way, based on stellar photometry, astrometry and spectroscopy. He recently co-led a deep optical and near-infrared photometric survey of the Southern Galactic Plane, called “DECaPS.” More broadly, he is interested in Galactic structure and dynamics. Gregory's work relies heavily on Bayesian inference, and he has a professional and personal interest in machine learning techniques. more
Bernd is trying to unravel the link between Active Galactic Nuclei and their host galaxies in terms of scaling relations, powerful outflows and feedback with the aid 3D spectroscopy and multi-wavelenght observations. He is the PI of the CARS survey Right now he is pushing his work to higher redshifts in preparation for the James Webb Space Telescope to be launched in 2018. more

Eleonora Zari

Eleonora is interested in mapping the structure and the star formation properties of the young Milky Way, using both massive OB-type stars and lower-mass pre-main sequence stars. She mainly works with data from the Gaia satellite, and she is currently involved in the OB-star target selection of the SDSS-V survey.

Maosheng Xiang

Maosheng works primarily on deriving stellar parameters and abundances from low-resolution spectra. He is particularly experienced in the LAMOST Galactic surveys. With precise stellar parameters from spectroscopy, photometry and astrometry for millions of stars, Maosheng is interested in delivering cutting-edge research on revealing the secrets of the stellar populations, chemistry and kinematics of our Milky Way galaxy.

Ph.D. Students

Johanna Coronado

Johanna is interested in the relation between chemical abundances and orbits of stars in the Milky Way and what it can teach us about the structure and formation of our Galaxy.

Neige Frankel

Neige is interested in the Milky-Way disk's secular evolution. In particular, she works on constraining the rate of stellar radial migration - how far stars can get from their birth orbit - using 'ultra weak chemical tagging'.

Sarah Gebruers

Sarah is using high-resolution spectroscopy to study the fundamental properties of pulsating stars observed with the TESS mission. This information will be used in asteroseismic modelling to deduce the interior mixing and rotation of these stars, as well as ages which is important in galactic archeology.

Kristoffer Nielsen

Kristoffer is trying to find stellar mass black holes. The number of discovered systems will allow him to constrain the physics behind their formation. His strategy is to analyze the vast  datasets of LAMOST looking for binary systems with large radial velocity variations. Later the photometric survey of TESS will be explored. In this dataset close-in black holes will deform the companion star causing large periodic luminosity variations.

Irina Smirnova-Pinchukova (IMPRS)

Irina works with Bernd Husemann on the CARS project: She compares different star formation tracers to figure out how AGN affects its host galaxy.


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