ESO Scientific Staff in Santiago/Chile

GAR = Garching; LS = La Silla; PAO = Paranal; SCV = Science Vitacura

See also the ESO Garching Staff and Research page for scientific staff in Garching.
Also available is a List of the Astronomers and Astronomical Institutes in Chile.

Faculty & Scientists

Giacomo Beccari


Scientific interests:

  • Exotic stellar populations in globular clusters
  • Stellar dynamics in star clusters
  • Pre Main-Sequence stars and protoplanetary disks evolution


Henri Boffin

Henri Boffin is a Paranal Operations Staff Astronomer since August 2010. He obtained his PhD from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, in 1993, working on explaining chemically peculiar red giants, in particular Barium stars. Since then, his research is devoted to the world of close binary stars, their formation and evolution. To this aim, he combines both observational and theoretical work, including hydrodynamical simulations. He spent 2 years as a post-doc in Kobe, Japan, working on cataclysmic variables, and another 2 years in Cardiff, Wales, UK, in the Star Formation group. In 1998, he came back to Brussels, obtaining a permanent position as Senior Researcher at the Royal Observatory of Belgium. There, he organised the first international workshop on Astro-tomography. As he is very keen to share science with society, he also graduated from the 1st promotion of “Journalist & Scientist” at the Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme de Lille, France. He has had experience in journalism and editing, and in 2003, joined ESO as Astronomer and Press Officer, dealing with communication about all telescopes and projects of ESO. He was member of the steering committee of the very successful Venus Transit 2004 Programme and of the EIRO forum Science on Stage festivals, and coordinator of the IYA 2009 Gigagalaxy Zoom project. His current scientific interests also include Am stars and binary nuclei of planetary nebulae, but more generally all interacting binary stars.

Personal home page

Stephane Brillant
Stephane Brillant is an Operations Astronomer at the Paranal observatory. He received his PhD in physics from the University of Paris XI in 1999. After 2 years as a student in ESO during his PhD he came back in 1999 as a fellow and moved in 2001 to his current position in Paranal. While his PhD was more in theoretical physics, he moved to more observational study and has been working mostly on extrasolar planet using various technics including microlensing. He is now working mostly on the study of the atmosphere of extrasolar planet using in particular CRIRES to study their chemical composition.

Giovanni Carraro

Giovanni Carraro is a support astronomer at VLT Paranal. He received his PhD in Astronomy from Padova University in 1996. He was a postdoc at SISSA/ISAS and Padova University, and later he was Andes Fellow at Yale and the Universidad de Chile. Since 1999 he holds an assistant professorship at Padova University. His scientific interests include open star clusters and Milky Way structure and evolution, Galaxy formation, and small objects in the solar system.

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Fernando Comerón

Fernando Comerón is the ESO Representative in Chile since April 2013. He graduated in Physics from the University of Barcelona in 1988, and obtained his PhD from the same institution in 1992 after several pre- and post-doctoral research stays at the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon and the Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona. He was university assistant at the University of Barcelona between 1991 and 1995, until he joined ESO in October 1995 as a fellow in Garching. After a period as senior fellow he became user support astronomer in 1999, shortly after the first unit of the VLT entered operations. He has been head of the User Support Department (2001-2006) and head of the Data Management and Operations Division (2006-2012). His current scientific interests focus on young stellar objects at both ends of the stellar and substellar mass function, the study of manifestations of stellar youth at low masses such as accretion and outflows, and the dynamics of the interstellar medium.

Itziar de Gregorio-Monsalvo


Willem-Jan De Wit

Willem-Jan de Wit is a VLTI support astronomer. His scientific interest is star formation and in particular the formation of massive stars. With the VLTI, he studies the harsh environment of the immediate vicinity of massive stars during their assembly process. His research involves the properties of young stellar clusters and how they relate to the character of massive star formation in Galaxies. He received his PhD from the University of Utrecht in 2001.

Bill Dent
Bill Dent joined ESO in 2008 as a System Astronomer for ALMA. He obtained his PhD from the University of Kent, then worked at NASA MSFC, before moving to the JCMT as a support astronomer. He then alternated between Hawaii and UKATC Edinburgh, working mostly on support of JCMT observers and heterodyne instrumentation. Before moving to ALMA, he worked at the UKATC on studies for new IR & sub-mm instrumentation. His main research interests are in star & planet formation, particularly debris disks, protoplanetary disks and IR/submm spectroscopy.

Christophe Dumas

Christophe Dumas is a planetary astronomer at ESO-Chile, sharing his time between science operations activities at Paranal Observatory, where he is the Deputy Head for operations and instrument scientist for the adaptive optics integral field near-infrared spectrograph SINFONI, and his personal research, which consists to study the physical processes involved in the formation of planetary systems. Specifically, he uses high-contrast and high-angular-resolution observing techniques to investigate key-questions about the origin of our solar system (original composition of the solar nebula, how did accrete the first planetesimals, what is the role of collision in planetary formation?), which can find answers in the study of the most primitive objects it contains (comets, trans-neptunians, small satellites of the outer planets ...), as well as from the physical characterization of young exo-planetary systems.
Christophe Dumas obtained his PhD in 1997 from the University of Paris Denis-Diderot (France), after graduating as an engineer from "Supélec", the French "Ecole Supérieure d'Electricité". Priorly to joining ESO, he was a staff scientist at the NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California (USA) where he worked for 6 years in the preparation and development of space missions related to the NASA Origins program (Terrestrial Planet Finder, Space Inteferometer Mission, Astrobiology Explorer). He also worked at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii (USA) as a junior scientist during his graduate years.

Personal home page

Michael Dumke

Michael Dumke is support astronomer at the APEX project. He received his PhD from Bonn University in 1997 for his work on the interstellar medium in nearby galaxies. Since then, he gained a lot of experience in radio astronomical instrumentation and techniques as a post-doc or staff member at IRAM Grenoble, the Heinrich-Hertz Submillimeter Telescope in Arizona, and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radioastronomy in Bonn. In 2004, he joined ESO as part of the science operations team of the APEX telescope. His main research interests are molecular gas at low and high redshift, disk-halo interaction, magnetic fields, cold dust, and the ISM in general in normal and active galaxies.

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Dimitri Gadotti

Dimitri Gadotti is an ESO Staff Astronomer since April 2013. Before, he was a fellow since October 2009. He has duties on Cerro Paranal and loves to work on the mountain! Dimitri obtained his Ph.D. degree at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2004, with a thesis on the formation and evolution of stellar bars in galaxies, using both spectroscopic and photometric data in optical and near-infrared passbands, as well as N-body simulations and analytical calculations. After his Ph.D. he spent 5 years in Europe at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, France, and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany. His works focus on bulges of disc galaxies, barred galaxies, dwarf galaxies, supermassive black holes and AGN activity, comparing measurements of the dynamics and structure of stellar systems to theoretical models, and thus trying to understand how such systems came to be. He is author of the BUDDA code, a public available software to perform detailed structural analysis of galaxies.

Diego Garcia-Appadoo

Diego Garcia-Appadoo is an ALMA Operations Astronomer since January 2011. He obtained his Degree, Masters and PhD at Cardiff University in the UK, working on blind, HI surveys and the properties of HI-selected galaxies. After which he did a two year postdoc at the Radioastronomy Institute of the University of Bonn followed by 3.5 years as an ESO Fellow with duties at ALMA. His scientific and research interests lie on the gas (atomic and molecular) and dust properties of galaxies.

Julien Girard

Julien Girard is a Paranal Operations Staff Astronomer who joined ESO in 2009. Adaptive Optics (AO) specialist, he's the Instrument Scientist (IS) of VLT/NACO & and IS2 of SPHERE. He also coordinates the AO activities at ESO Chile, helping prepare/support the current/future AO facilities.  His main research interests are: star & planet formation, faint companions search and characterization (brown dwarfs & extra-solar planets and the disks where they usually form), close and dusty environment of young and/or massive stars, etc.  For that, Julien uses high angular & high contrast imaging techniques extensively, mainly in the infrared and from the ground. Also interested in the time-domain, he participates to campaign to measure extrasolar planet atmospheres via transits and occultations. He obtained a master's degree in Instrumentation Physics from the University of Utah in 2000, a 2nd one in Astrophysics (UJF/IPAG, Grenoble) the next year and his PhD in 2005 (UCBL/Observatoire de Lyon) for his contribution to the polychromatic laser guide star project ELPOA. Before ESO, he spent 3 years in Mexico City as a postdoctoral fellow at UNAM and as assistant professor at IPN. Julien enjoys participating to public outreach activities and is one of the ESO Photo Ambassadors

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George Hau

George Hau received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1998. After postdoctoral positions at P.U. Catolica, ESO (as Fellow and EFOSC2 Instrument Scientist), Durham and Swinburne, George returned to ESO as Operations Staff Astronomer in 2010, supporting the adaptive optics effort at ESO. He is currently the second instrument scientist of NaCo. George has broad interests on galaxy formation, in particular in using the morphological, kinematic and stellar population signatures to perform "Galaxy Archaeology". He has studied some of the most and least massive galaxies in the nearby Universe. Two of his favourite topics are kinematically decoupled cores (KDCs) and shells in early-type galaxies.

Valentin Ivanov

Valentin D. Ivanov was born on August 1, 1967 in the town of Burgas, Bulgaria. He holds a Master of Science in Physics, with specialization in Astronomy from the University of Sofia, Bulgaria (1992) and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Arizona, Tucson (2001). He was a ESO Fellow from 2001 to 2003 at the Paranal Observatory, and ESO staff astronomer at the La Silla Observatory from 2004 to 2007. Currently, Valentin is a ESO staff astronomer at Paranal. His main research interests are stellar populations of distant galaxies and transiting extrasolar planets.

Andreas Kaufer

Andreas Kaufer is the Director of the La Silla Paranal Observatory. He received his degree in Physics from Heidelberg University in 1993. In 1996 he graduated with a PhD in Astronomy from the same university. He became ESO staff member in 1999 and joined the VLT Science Operations department. He has been the Paranal instrument scientists of UVES and later FLAMES. In 2003 he became the instrumentation scientist of the La Silla Paranal Observatory. His research activities focus on the fields of stellar astrophysics, galaxy evolution, and state-of-the-art astronomical instrumentation.

Thomas Klein
Thomas Klein is the Head of the APEX telescope facilities on Chajnantor and Sequitor. In 1996 he received his degree in Physics from the University of Bonn where he also graduated with a PhD in Astronomy in 1999. Since then he was a staff scientist at the Max-Planck Institut fuer Radioastronomie, where he focused his interests on the development of THz instrumentation for astronomy and accumulated a strong background on submillimeter observing techniques at various telescopes. In 2000 he started his involvement in the HERSCHEL/HIFI project as the lead system engineer for the HIFI local oscillator system. Until the end of the HIFI mission, in April 2013, he supported HIFI’s Instrument control center. In 2007 he became the group leader of the MPIfR’s heterodyne submillimeter technology group, developing the institute’s PI instrumentation for APEX and SOFIA. Since 2008, he was a frequent guest scientist at APEX, accompanying the PI instruments of the MPIfR, before he joined ESO and APEX in September 2013.            

Ruediger Kneissl

Rüdiger Kneissl joined ESO in 2009 as Science Operations Astronomer in the ALMA project. He received his PhD from the University of Munich and the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics in 1997. During appointments at the University of Cambridge, UC Berkeley and MPI for Radio Astronomy in Bonn he worked with various radio interferometers and the APEX telescope. He has also been involved in the Planck satellite mission for many years. His main scientific interest is in observational cosmology with studies of the cosmic microwave background, galaxy clusters via the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect and high-redshift dusty galaxies.

Cédric Ledoux

Cédric Ledoux is support astronomer at the La Silla-Paranal observatory, acting as deputy of the Heads of the Paranal Science Operations and the Office for Science in Vitacura. He has been the instrument scientist responsible for UVES, the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph of the VLT, between 2003 and 2008.
His main research interests are related to the properties and evolution of galaxies revealed by QSO absorption-line systems, molecules and dust in the interstellar medium at high redshift, the host galaxies of Gamma-Ray Bursts and their circumburst environment, and the study of galaxies in emission up to the highest redshifts.

Stéphane Leon

Stéphane Leon Tanne is System Astronomer at ALMA. He received his PhD from the University Paris 7 in 1998. His main interests are the effects of the environment on stellar systems. He studied the tidal tails in globular clusters using wide field telescopes and numerical simulations. While he was working at IRAM (Spain) he studied the dynamics of the molecular gas in galaxies using single-dish and interferometer telescopes. Since his post-docs at ASIAA (Taiwan) and at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (Spain) he works actively on the ISM content of radio galaxies, barred and isolated galaxies.

Gaspare Lo Curto

Gianni Marconi

Gianni Marconi is Commissioning Scientist of the ALMA Observatory (Array Group lead). He received his degree (cum Laude) in Astronomy from Bologna University in 1987. In 1991 he graduated with a PhD in Astronomy from the same university. From 1994 to 2005 he held an assistant professorship and was member of the Director Board at the Observatory of Rome.  In 1999 he became ESO staff member and joined the VLT Science Operations department. He has been the Paranal instrument scientists of VIMOS between 2002 and 2005. From 2006 to 2010 he has been the Instrumentation Operation Teams Coordinator of the La Silla Paranal Observatory. From 2010 he has been seconded to the JAO office for the commissioning of ALMA.  His main research activities focus on the fields of stellar astrophysics, star formation history and chemical evolution of galaxies, and state-of-the-art astronomical instrumentation and telescopes.

Christophe Martayan

Christophe Martayan joined ESO in 2009 as Paranal support astronomer and will be FLAMES instrument scientist. He received his PhD in Physics-astrophysics from Paris XI University and Meudon Observatory, France in 2005. By after he was employed at the ESO-Garching, the Paris Observatory, and  the Royal Observatory of Belgium. He worked as manager of modules for the scientific preparation of the GAIA space mission, and on the analysis of million of spectra taken with the ESO-WFI in its slitless mode. His current research activities concern the stellar evolution of massive and emission-line stars (O, B, Be, LBV, GRB) in different environments of metallicity (Milky Way, Magellanic Clouds, etc). He is also involved in the GAIA space mission about emission-line stars and in the scientific preparation of a multi-object spectrograph for the E-ELT.

Gautier Mathys

Gautier Mathys is Lead Astronomer of the Proposal Handling Team. He obtained his PhD in Physics in 1983, and his Habilitation in 1990, both at the University of Liege. After 8 years in Switzerland (first at the ETH in Zurich, then at the Geneva Observatory), he moved to ESO-Chile in 1991, where he worked as support astronomer at the La Silla Observatory and, as of 1998, at the Paranal Observatory; in particular he was Head of Science Operations from 1999 to early 2006. From 2006 to 2011, he was Head of ESO's  Observing Programmes Office, in charge of the support of the observing proposal selection process. His main research interests are stellar magnetic fields and stellar pulsation, with particular emphasis on the chemically peculiar A- and B-type stars.

Dimitri Mawet


Dimitri Mawet joined ESO as a VLT astronomer and high contrast imaging specialist in 2011 with the primary goal of preparing the arrival of SPHERE and its commissioning. His research interests lie in the search and characterization of extra-solar planetary systems -- exoplanets, circumstellar disks -- with adaptive optics and coronagraphy. When not observing or reducing data for his own programs and collaborators, Dimitri is refining observing techniques and technologies for future high contrast imagers (second generation instruments, ELTs and space-based telescopes). Dimitri developed the achromatic four-quadrant phase-mask coronagraph technology of SPHERE. He invented the vortex coronagraph, offered at Palomar since 2009, recently installed in VISIR, LMIRCAM at the LBT, and fully commissioned on NACO. Dimitri spent 2 years as a Marie Curie fellow at the Paris-Meudon Observatory and Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay before receiving his PhD from the University of Liège in 2006. He became a NASA postdoc at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (California institute of technology) in 2007, and JPL staff scientist in 2009.

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Jorge Melnick

Jorge Melnick is the VLT Programme Scientist.  His research interests include violent star formation, Galactic and extragalactic starbursts, and the evolution of  massive stars. Currently he is working on cosmology (HII galaxies as distance indicators) and the assembly history of clusters of galaxies using population synthesis of the intracluster light.

Claudio Melo

Claudio Melo is Head of the Office for Science in Chile. His main interests focus in finding planets in different environments such as open clusters, metal poor stars and young stars. From the technical point of view, Claudio is familiar with high-precision radial velocity measurements and interested in how to overcome the different sources of noise to reach the 10cm/s precision with ESPRESSO and eventually to find an exo-Earth. For the coming years, he is willing to develop new projects in the field of Astrobiology.

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Antoine Mérand

Antoine Mérand received his PhD in Astronomy from Paris University (France) in 2005. In 2006, he moved to the CHARA Array interferometer (operated by Georgia State University, USA) to work on instrumentation developments and to complete observation programs he started during his PhD. In 2008, he joined ESO as an operation astronomer at VLTI, as well as instrument scientist of AMBER (2008-2010) and PRIMA (2010-), and is now acting as VLTI System Scientist (since 2012). His main reasearch interests are determining distances to Cepheids pulsating stars, determination of stellar fundamental parameters and instrumentation for optical interferometry.

Steffen Mieske

Steffen Mieske obtained his PhD in astronomy in 2005 from Bonn University. Between 2000 and 2004 he spent about 3 years in Chile at PUC, pursueing research for his Master's and PhD theses. In 2005 he joined ESO as a fellow in Garching. He moved to ESO Chile in August 2008 as Staff Astronomer and supportsscience operations of the wide-field imagers, in particular OmegaCAM,VIRCAM, and VIMOS. His scientific interests comprise the high-mass end of the globular cluster population and ultra-compact dwarf galaxies (UCDs), and generally the internal dynamics of compact stellar systems. He also works on photometric properties of extragalactic dwarf galaxies, such as their scaling relations and luminosity function. During his PhD time, he studied the shape of the Hubble flow in the "Great Attractor" region.

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Lorenzo Monaco

Lorenzo Monaco is an ESO Staff astronomer with duty station in Santiago and Paranal Observatory. He received the PhD in astronomy from the Bologna University in 2004. After covering a postdoctoral position at the Trieste Observatory, he joined ESO as research Fellow working at the La Silla Observatory. Between 2008 and 2010 he has been working at the Concepcion University (Chile). His research activity is focused on the study of resolved stellar populations in the Local Group with the main aims of (i) understanding the processes which drive galaxy formation and (ii) testing observationally the viable solutions to the challenges posed to our current comprehension of stellar evolution. He is proficient in the computation of model atmospheres, synthetic spectra and abundance analysis with the Kurucz codes (ATLAS, SYNTHE,....). His technical expertise also include PSF fitting techniques for photometry in crowded stellar field.

Francisco Montenegro

Francisco M. Montenegro Montes is support astronomer in the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) telescope. He studied optical astronomy in Tenerife (Spain) at the Universidad de La Laguna (ULL) and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and completed his Ph.D. working at the Istituto di Radioastronomia (INAF-IRA) in Bologna (Italy). His main research interest is the study of AGNs through multi-wavelength observations. In particular, he has worked on the characterization of the radio properties of Broad Absorption Line Quasars (BAL QSOs), which are quasars showing wide troughs bluewards the main UV resonance lines. The principal finding of these studies has been the similar properties found in radio sources associated with BAL QSOs and those young Compact Steep Spectrum (CSS) and GigaHertz-Peaked Spectrum (GPS) radio sources.  Since 2009, Francisco has joined the Science Operations group at the APEX telescope, where he has obtained extensive experience in the operation and maintenance of the APEX antenna, giving observing support, executing calibration and quality control procedures for its instrumentation (bolometers and heterodyne receivers) as well as developing operational procedures. He is responsible at APEX for the ESO data archiving procedures.

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Lars-Åke Nyman
Lars-Åke Nyman is the Head of Science Operations of ALMA. He obtained his PhD at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. In 1989 he became responsible for the operations of SEST on La Silla, and in 2003 he took up the position as the Station Manager of APEX. He formally started to work for ALMA in 2007, but was involved in the project long before that as responsible for the European contribution to ALMA site characterization. He is a specialist on mm and submm observations and techniques.
His research interests include the study of circumstellar envelopes around evolved stars, star formation and the large scale distribution of molecular clouds and star forming regions in the Milky Way.

Neil Phillips


Neil Phillips joined ESO in July 2011 as a Test Scientist at ALMA, where he commissions the antennas and receiver systems. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 2011, working on infrared and sub-millimetre surveys of circumstellar discs. He has previously worked on optical and radio instrumentation projects. His technical interests include far-IR to radio wavelength observing techniques and instrumentation, calibration, data reduction algorithms, astronomical databases and the Virtual Observatory, and generally tinkering with anything technical. His scientific interests revolve around circumstellar debris discs, with particular interest in statistically relating disc properties with stellar properties, and accurate stellar flux distribution modelling to improve photometric dust detection limits.

Emanuela Pompei

Emanuela Pompei is working as FORS instrument scientist at the Paranal La Silla Observatory. She obtained her PhD from University of Trieste in Italy in 1999 and joined ESO the same year. She has worked both on La Silla and on Paranal as Boller&Chivens, DFOSC, FEROS, EMMI and NTT instrument scientist and WFI and EFOSC2 support astronomer. Her research interests center on the dynamics and chemical evolution of galaxies and on compact groups of galaxies, as probes of the evolution of large scale structures.

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David Rabanus
David Rabanus works in the ALMA Observatory in the Department of Engineering as Instrument Group Manager. Before that he worked at APEX, the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment http://www.apex-telescope-org, as Station Manager. Before arriving to Chile he participated in the development of the GREAT receiver, a collaboration between the Kölner Observatorium für Sub-Millimeter-Astronomie (KOSMA, the Max-Planck-Institute for Radioastronomy (MPIfR) and the Institute for Space Sensor Technology of the German Aerospace Center (DLR-WS) on a heterodyne receiver of SOFIA. Ground-based receiver deployment of the SMART receiver and servicing at the KOSMA telescope on Gornergrat, Switzerland. Deployment of the receiver CONDOR (1.3-1.5 THz) at the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX). Development and deployment of a 490/810 GHz dual frequency receiver for the NANTEN2 telescope, Pampa La Bola, Atacama, Chile. Application of new THz quantum cascade lasers as local oscillators for heterodyne observations on SOFIA. Dissertation in the Institute for Space Sensor Technology and of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin-Adlershof. Topic: ‚Development of a Modular Stressed-Ge:Ga Photoconductor Focal Plane Array Prototype‘. This is a far-infrared photoconductor array was developed for deployment on the US-German Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) and forms the long-wavelength detector system in the spectrometer 'AIRES‘ based at the NASA Ames Research Center, California, in the US.

Sridharan Rengaswamy

Sridharan Rengaswamy, born in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, India, obtained his Masters degree in Physics from St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli and Ph.D in Astronomy from Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangaluru University, Bangaluru, India. He worked on speckle and interferometric imaging techniques. He developed a speckle masking code and used it to study small scale solar features. After three years of post doctoral work on solar adaptive optics at Udaipur Solar Observatory, Physical Research Laboratory, India, he took up his second post doctoral position at the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, USA. He worked for a JPL-STScI project on `Crowded field astrometry with the Space Interferometry Mission'. He then moved to the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands to work on Seismic interferometry. Simultaneously, he also worked as a postdoc at the Leiden Observatory on problems related to LOFAR calibration. He joined ESO at Chile in January 2009, where he works as the VLTI-Science Operations support astronomer. His research interest includes optical/infra-red/radio interferometric imaging, adaptive optics, software development, solar physics, crowded field astrometry, young stellar objects and circumstellar environments.

Thomas Rivinius

Thomas Rivinius has studied at the University of Heidelberg, where he got his PhD in 1998. After three years of ESO fellowship in Garching he returned to Heidelberg to become "Privatdozent". Since 2005 he's back at ESO, this time in Chile as science operations support astronomer on Paranal at the VLTI. Currently, he's the intrument scientist for MIDI. His research focusses on hot stars and their circumstellar environments, covering stellar pulsation, hot star winds, magnetic O and B-type stars, and Be stars and their disks.

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Ivo Saviane

Ivo Saviane has been in its position as La Silla Site Manager officially since October 2013. However, his history at ESO commenced about 12 years ago. That is when he first came to ESO, to join a Fellowship programme at La Silla that lasted three years from 2001 to 2003. Right after that he became an Operations Staff Astronomer at La Silla, starting a steady career closely related with the site. Among other positions at La Silla, he has been at various times Instrument Scientist of FEROS, TIMMI2, EMMI, and EFOSC2, and he became Head of Science Operations in 2008. After moving to Paranal as an Operations Staff Astronomer, he became Instrument Scientist of FORS2 and later KMOS.
Ivo obtained his Masters degree in Astronomy from the University of Padova in 1991 with work based on colour-magnitude diagrams of three Galactic globular clusters, under the supervision of Prof. M. Capaccioli and Dr. G. Piotto. He received his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the same university in 1997.

Linda Schmidtobreick

Linda Schmidtobreick did her studies and PhD (1997) at the Ruhruniversitaet Bochum, Germany about the structure of the Milky Way via UV studies. She took some short postdoc positions in Bochum and the MPIA in Heidelberg, and then went to the Osservatorio Astronomico di Padua, Italy. In 2001, she started as an ESO fellow on La Silla, and in 2005 got her current staff position on Paranal. By now, she is mainly working on compact binaries, like CVs, Pre-CVs, and a bit on microquasars. Also, she still does some work on Galactic structure and stellar populations.

Frederic Schuller


Frederic Schuller has joined ESO in August 2011, as head of science operations at APEX. He received his PhD from the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris in 2002. His PhD work was focussed on the analysis of recent high-mass star formation in our Galaxy based on the ISOGAL infrared survey of the Galactic plane. Then, he moved to the Max-Planck-Insitut fuer Radioastronomie in Bonn, where he got involved in the very early stages of the APEX project. In particular, he played a crucial role in the development of the BoA (Bolometer array data Analysis) software, and in the commissioning of the Large APEX Bolometer Camera (LABOCA). Frederic is also the PI of the ATLASGAL (APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy) project, that produced the so-far largest map of the Galactic plane at sub-millimeter wavelength, covering more than 400 square degrees at 870 micron. His main scientific interests are on high-mass star formation.

Fernando Selman

Fernando Selman's current observational research interests include studies of the nature of the stellar IMF in several systems, and the dynamics and binary content in 30 Doradus using SINFONI. He recently found, together with his collaborators, that the IMF of the field stellar population in 30 Doradus is, within errors, consistent with a Salpeter law. In a recent project on the Arches cluster we reached a similar conclusion thus giving strong support to the hypothesis of universality of the IMF.  On a larger scale he is interested in the intergalactic light in clusters of galaxies. In the course of this research discovered with his collaborators an interesting S-shaped gravitational arc, an image of which can be seen in his personal web page. On a theoretical side he is interested in the dynamics of gravitational systems with particular attention to the phenomenon of dynamical friction. He is currently involved in an n-body simulation study of the stability of star clusters as a function of the mass of its heaviest star.
As an observatory astronomer, he has been instrument scientist for the Wide Field Imager (WFI) at La Silla, and he is currently at Paranal as instrument scientist for HAWK-I, VIMOS, and OmegaCam. Part of his technical work include the development of techniques that permit the determination of zero point correction maps in imaging instruments.
He started his career as a physics student at the School of Engineering of Universidad de Chile subsequently obtaining his PhD at Caltech in 2004. During his strongly acausal career he was Fulbright Travel fellow, Carnegie-Chile Fellow, and Beatrice Watson Parrent postdoctoral fellow.

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Giorgio Siringo

Giorgio Siringo works at ALMA as Test Scientist since June 2012. He joined ESO in September 2009 as Operations Staff Astronomer at APEX. He has a strong background in observational astronomy at mm/submm wavelengths. He studied Physics, Astronomy and Cosmology at the University "La Sapienza" of Rome (Italy) while working at the Experimental Cosmology Group on projects aimed to measure anisotropies and polarization of the Cosmic Background Radiation. In 2000 he moved to the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) of Bonn (Germany) where he worked for 9 years as member of the Mm/Submmm Astronomy Group and Bolometer Development Group. In 2003 he received his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Bonn with a thesis on a polarimeter for bolometer cameras. He has worked on MAMBO, HUMBA, ABBA for the IRAM 30-m telescope of Pico Veleta (on the Spanish Sierra Nevada), PolKa for the HHT/SMTO telescope (Mt. Graham, Arizona), SIMBA for the SEST telescope (La Silla, Chile), and on the design, development, installation and commissioning of the two facility bolometer cameras LABOCA and SABOCA on the APEX telescope (Llano de Chajnantor, Chile). His main research interests are: the role of the magnetic field in the star formation process; dust polarization and magnetic fields in molecular clouds; the structure of the galactic magnetic field in our and other galaxies; AGN variability and polarization at mm/submm wavelengths; anisotropies and polarization of the Cosmic Background Radiation.

Alain Smette

Alain Smette is a VLT operations Staff Astronomer. Following studentships at ESO-Garching and La Silla, he received his PhD from the Universite de Liege, Belgium, in 1994. He was a Post-Doc at Kapteyn Institute, Groningen, and a research associate first at the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, in the STIS team, then back in Liege. His research interests mainly include the study of absorption lines in the spectra of quasars and gamma-ray burst optical afterglows, gravitational lensing and AGN. He is the instrument scientist of CRIRES.

Jonathan Smoker


Jonathan Smoker is a VLT Operations Staff Astronomer and the instrument scientist for CRIRES (previously FLAMES and UVES). He obtained his PhD from Manchester University (Jodrell Bank), England in 1993 studying low surface brightness dwarf galaxies in HI and the optical, before moving on to be a computer systems administrator at the Royal Greenwich Observatory and IoA, Cambridge. After that came a 4-year stint as a postdoc at Queen's University, Belfast, Ireland, then 3 years at ESO Chile which he left in 2005. He is now back at the VLT, working on high velocity clouds, tiny-scale structure in the interstellar medium, the Magellanic system and some work on supernovae, B-type and Post-AGB stars.

Personal home page

Thomas Szeifert

Thomas Szeifert is support astronomer at the VLT since 1999. Before he was working for the FORS instrument consortium at the observatory in Heidelberg. He has been instrument scientist at Paranal for the FORS optical multi-mode instrument and the SINFONI near-IR adaptive optics integral field spectrograph. His primary fields of research are the study of long-term wind variability of Luminous Blue Variables and other massive hot stars and stellar abundance studies in the Galaxy and local group galaxies. He obtained his PhD in 1995 at the Heidelberg University for his work on Luminous Blue Variable Stars in the Magellanic clouds, M31 and M33.

Personal home page

Konrad Tristram

Konrad Tristram is an operations staff astronomer at Paranal. He received his PhD in 2007 from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, where he started his investigation of active galactic nuclei (AGN) at highest angular resolutions. After his PhD he moved to Bonn becoming an interferometry specialist. He joined ESO in April 2014 in order to support the interferometric effort at Paranal. He continues working on the dust and gas surrounding the supermassive black holes in AGN. Driven by his science, he holds a special interest in high angular resolution imaging and spectroscopy as well as in infrared & submm interferometry.

Personal home page

Eric Villard

Eric Villard is a System Astronomer on ALMA. He joined ESO in January 2010, after obtaining his PhD at Service d'Aéronomie du CNRS (near Paris) in 2008. While at Service d'Aéronomie, he also worked on the science operations of the European Venus Express mission, in particular the SPICAV instrument. His main research interest is the study of planetary atmospheres at various wavelengths. Other research interests include astrometry, the study of comets, exoplanets and galaxy evolution (bars).


Catherine Vlahakis

Catherine Vlahakis is a Commissioning Scientist at ALMA. She received her PhD in 2005 from Cardiff University in the UK, working on the SCUBA Local Universe Galaxy Survey. She was then a postdoc at the University of Bonn, Germany, at Leiden University, The Netherlands, and an ALMA Early Science Fellow at Universidad de Chile. Her main area of research is the study of the properties of the molecular and dusty interstellar medium, using observations at (sub)millimetre and far-infrared wavelengths.

Personal home page

Zahed Wahhaj

Zahed Wahhaj joined ESO as a VLT astronomer in 2012, as one of the instrument scientists for the exoplanet imager, SPHERE. He is interested in the direct-imaging and characterization of exoplanets, brown dwarfs and circumstellar debris disks. Before joining ESO, he was a core team member of the Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign, a direct-imaging search for giant planets around 300 nearby young stars, at the University of Hawaii. He was also involved in the Cores-to-Disks Spitzer Legacy Program (2003-2006), where he worked on understanding weak-line TT stars, through the evolution of their mid-infrared (MIR) disk emission. His dissertation work was on planetary signatures in debris disks. This involved Keck high-resolution MIR imaging and Bayesian modeling of the dust disks around Beta Pictoris, HR 4796A and 49 Ceti. Zahed Wahhaj received his PhD in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia in 2005.

Tommy Wiklind

Tommy Wiklind joined ESO in 2010 as a member of the ALMA Department of Science Operations. He received his PhD from Chalmers University, Sweden in 1990. Prior to joining ESO, Tommy worked as Associate Professor at Chalmers/Onsala Space Observatory in Sweden. He also spent 8 years as an ESA Astronomer stationed in Baltimore, USA. While in Baltimore, Tommy was a member of the NICMOS Team. He has a background in mm/submm radioastronomy as well as optical/NIR. His main research interest today is on observational cosmology and galaxy formation & evolution. He uses multiwavelength data, ranging from mm to UV, to study the properties of distant galaxies.


Rebeca Aladro


Rebeca Aladro is an ESO fellow with duties in ALMA since October 2012. She carried out her PhD thesis at the IRAM 30m telescope, where she also worked as astronomer on duty. Her research focuses on the characterization of the molecular gas in galaxy nuclei, and how the chemical composition in those central regions is related to the physical properties of different type of galaxies, such as AGNs, starbursts, or ULIRGs.

Daniel Asmus

Daniel Asmus is an ESO fellow with duties at Paranal observatory since August 2014. He received his PhD in astrophysics at the university of Kiel, Germany, in 2012 in the accretion physics group of Wolfgang Duschl. Before, he was an ESO student in Chile between 2009 and 2011 working with Alain Smette. He studies nearby galaxies and their active galactic nuclei (AGN), mainly in the mid-infrared with ground-based high-angular resolution instruments like VLT/VISIR and VLTI/MIDI. Goal of these studies is to obtain a better understanding of the circum-nuclear structures and processes, in particular dust emission and absorption.

Personal home page

Joseph Anderson

Joseph Anderson is an ESO fellow with duties in Paranal Observatory since October 2013. He obtained his PhD in astronomy at the Astrophysics Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, in 2009, investigating the parent stellar populations of supernovae. After his thesis, Joseph moved to a postdoctoral position at the Universidad de Chile, Chile, working with Mario Hamuy. His main research interests are: supernova progenitors and constraints from host environments; core-collapse supernovae light-curves and spectra; supernovae host galaxies.

Steve Ertel

Steve Ertel is an ESO fellow with duties at Paranal observatory since November 2013. He received his diploma in physics from the University of Leipzig, Germany, in 2008. Since the work on his PhD thesis at the University of Kiel, Germany, he focusses his research on the modeling and observation of debris disks. Since then, he is an active contributer to the Herschel Open Time Key Project DUNES. After receiving his PhD early 2012, he joined the EXOZODI team (French ANR project) in Grenoble as a post-doc. Here, he focussed his research on hot dust around main sequence stars (exozodiacal dust) in addition to continuing his work on debris disks. He led the observations for the first near-infrared interferometric survey for exozodiacal dust around southern stars using VLTI/PIONIER. As a fellow at ESO he continues his research on both the modeling and observations of debris disks and exozodiacal dust.

Oscar Gonzalez

Oscar Gonzalez is an ESO fellow with duties in Paranal Observatory since October 2012. He carried out his PhD thesis at ESO Germany and obtained his PhD in 2012 from the Ludwig Maximillians Universitaet in Munich. His research interests include Galaxy formation and evolution, stellar abundances and interstellar extinction. He is primarily focused on the study of the Milky Way bulge.

Lizette Guzman-Ramirez

Liz Guzman-Ramirez is an ESO fellow with duties at the ALMA observatory since April 2013. She obtained her PhD in astronomy in 2013 from the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, UK. Her research focuses on multiwavelength observations of Planetary Nebulae, with particular interest in the formation of dust and PAHs in these objects.

Xavier Haubois

Xavier Haubois is an ESO fellow with duties at Paranal Observatory since October 2014. He got his PhD in 2009 at Observatoire de Paris that was focused on infrared interferometric imaging of evolved stars and the design phase of GRAVITY. After his thesis, he obtained a post-doctoral contract at the University of São Paulo (IAG) to work on the modelling of circumstellar environments and at the University of Sydney to deepen his skills in optical interferometry. After one year of teaching and research at Observatoire de Paris in 2013, Xavier continues his works at ESO on evolved stars and to the forthcoming operation of GRAVITY.

Tracey Hill

Tracey completed her PhD at the University of NSW in Sydney, Australia. She then moved to Europe where she undertook postdocs in Leiden, the Netherlands - with the Dutch ALMA Region Centre node, and then in Exeter, England. More recently Tracey completed a Marie Curie Eurotalents Fellowship hosted at the CEA in Saclay (France) in which she was working on Herschel data from the HOBYS (Motte et al.) key program.
Tracey’s research is in the area of high mass star formation. She has undertaken large- scale millimeter and submilllimetre continuum and spectral line studies in search of high–mass protostars, the progenitors of high –mass star formation. More recently, she has focused on cloud structure (with Herschel) to study interstellar filaments (where most star formation takes place) and identified high-column density ridges, which appear to be the preferential sites of high mass stars. She also showed that these ridges have similar properties as low-mass star-forming filaments testing hypotheses regarding thresholds for star formation. She has also studied the impact of OB clusters on high- mass star formation, in particular on how nearby clusters can affect the evolutionary status of nearby cores.

Evelyn Johnston

Evelyn Johnston completed her PhD at the University of Nottingham, UK, in August 2014, and joined ESO as a fellow in September 2014 with duties at Paranal. Her research areas include the formation of counter-rotating stellar discs and the processes that suppress the star formation in spiral galaxies, thus leading to their transformation into lenticulars.

Personal home page

Petr Kabath

Petr Kabath obtained his PhD degree from Technical University Berlin and German Aerospace Center (DLR) where he worked on the CoRoT and BEST projects. He joined ESO in October 2009 and currently he is a Fellow astronomer at Paranal Observatory supporting instruments at UT4. His scientific work is focused on detection and characterization of extrasolar planets with photometric and spectroscopic methods. In addition, he is interested in physics of variable stars.

Thomas Kaminski

Tomasz (Tomek) Kaminski is an ESO fellow with duties at ALMA and APEX. He joined ESO in October 2014 after a four-year postdoc at the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, in Bonn, Germany. He has been supporting observations at APEX since 2008. He received PhD in 2010 at Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Centre (Toruń/Warsaw, Poland). Tomek's main research activities focus on observational aspects of stellar mergers -- in particular, he studies the so-called 'red novae' or 'red transients' (e.g. V838 Mon, V1309 Sco, V4332 Sgr, CK Vul, etc) and their link to stellar coalescence. He is also interested in formation and processing of dust grains near cool evolved objects such as red supergiants and AGB stars. Most of the studies he has been involved in use molecular spectroscopy at high resolutions, from UV to radio wavelengths, as the main tool to study circumstellar material.

Thomas Kruehler

Thomas Kruehler got his PhD from the Technical University of Munich and the Max-Planck-Institute for extraterrestrial physics in 2009. After that, he moved to the DARK Cosmology Centre in Copenhagen as a Marie-Curie Fellow and joined ESO in 2013 as a fellow with duties in Paranal. His main scientific interests are Gamma Rays Bursts (GRBs), their relation to star-forming galaxies and use as probes of the high-redshift Universe.

Andrea Mehner

Andrea Mehner is an ESO Fellow with duties at Paranal since September 2011. She obtained her PhD at the University of Minnesota investigating spectroscopic changes in eta Carinae, one of the most massive stars in our Galaxy. Her scientific interests lie in the different phases of evolved very massive stars.

Personal home page

André Mueller

André Mueller is an ESO fellow with duties in Paranal Observatory since September 2012. He carried out his PhD thesis at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg and received his PhD in 2012 at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) investigating the properties of Herbig Ae/Be stars. His scientific interest lie in young stellar objects such as Herbig Ae/Be and T Tauri stars. Besides searching for extrasolar planets and (sub-)stellar companions around these stars he determines their stellar parameters and characterize their activity behaviour (photospheric phenomena, accretion) using mainly optical and NIR high-resolution spectroscopy. He is also interested in disk studies using NIR and MIR interferometric data.

Personal home page


Juan Carlos Muñoz


Juan Carlos Muñoz Mateos is an ESO Fellow with duties in Paranal since August 2013. He is mainly interested in galaxy formation and evolution, as well as the physics of the interstellar medium. He completed his PhD in 2010 at Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. In his thesis he worked extensively with UV, optical, IR and radio data to map the distribution of stars, gas and dust in nearby galaxies, and used that information to constrain the past assembly and evolution of galaxies. He then moved as a postdoc to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, USA, where he worked within the Spitzer Survey of Stellar Structure in Galaxies (S4G). He led and developed the S4G surface photometry pipeline, and used the S4G data to investigate how features such as bars and spiral arms can drive stellar migration in galaxies. He now plans to exploit ESO's existing and upcoming instruments to further pursue his research on galaxy assembly at different redshifts.

Personal home page


Koraljka/Kora Muzic


Koraljka Muzic is an ESO Fellow with duties at the Paranal Observatory. She obtained her PhD from the University of Cologne in collaboration with the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy in Bonn (Germany) in 2008. Before joining ESO in May 2012, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cologne, Germany and the University of Toronto, Canada. Her research interests include formation and evolution of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, the shape and the origin of the IMF, and the studies of the central parsecs of the Milky Way.


Javier A. Rodón

Javier A. Rodón is an ESO fellow with duties at ALMA since March 2012. After finishing his undergrad studies at his home city of Córdoba, Argentina, he completed his PhD at the MPIA in Heidelberg, Germany, and then a postdoc at the LAM in Marseille, France. His research focus mainly in galactic high-mass star formation at mm wavelengths, but is also interested in disks around high and low-mass stars, astrochemistry and astrobiology.

Linda Watson

Linda Watson is an ESO fellow with duties at ALMA since September 2014. She earned her PhD in astronomy from the Ohio State University in 2011 and then held a postdoc position with the Submillimeter Array group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Linda's primary research interests are star formation and the interstellar medium in nearby galaxies. In particular, she has studied the connections between atomic gas, molecular gas, and star formation in bulgeless disk galaxies and galaxies with extended ultraviolet (XUV) disks. She is also interested in galaxy evolution, especially by secular processes.

Personal home page

Roger Wesson

Roger Wesson is a fellow at ESO with duties at the Paranal Observatory. He obtained his PhD from University College London in 2004. He then tried out a different career and spent some time working for the UK Civil Service, before returning to astronomy in 2006.  His research is primarily concerned with the late stages of stellar evolution, looking at supernovae and their progenitors to determine how cosmic dust forms in these objects, and also improving and refining the techniques used to determine the abundances of heavy elements in planetary nebulae.

Personal home page

Bin Yang

Bin Yang joined ESO as a science fellow with duties at the VLT in November 2013. She received her PhD from the University of Hawaii in 2009, where she studied the physical properties of Solar System small bodies using various facilities atop Mauna Kea. Before coming to ESO, She was working as an Astrobiology fellow at the NASA Astrobiology institute in Hawaii. Her main interests include the primitive bodies of the Solar System, planet formation and Astrobiology.

Fellows hosted outside ESO




Paid Associates

Rodrigo Parra

Rodrigo Parra is Support Astronomer at the APEX project. He obtained an Electrical Engineering Degree at Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria and a MSc in (Microwave) Digital Communications Systems at Chalmers University in Sweden. Subsequently, he received a PhD in Radio Astronomy from the Onsala Space Observatory in 2007. In addition to his expertise in single dish mm-astronomy, He has specialized in continuum and spectral line cm and mm wave interferometric techniques particularly VLBI. He is deeply interested in the study of possible evolutionary connections between AGN and starburst activity. One of the guiding questions of his research is whether or not the 100 parsec regions of starburst activity seen in external galaxies are scaled up versions of galactic star forming regions. If not, what makes them different?  He has studied star formation and AGN activity using cm and mm wavelength VLBI observations of large samples of galaxies as well as deep cm and mm wavelength interferometry of single objects. He also actively collaborates in several research projects whose topics include Interstellar Masers (OH megamaser galaxies and Hydrogen Masers), dense molecular gas in star-forming regions and theoretical models of propagation of radiation in clumpy media.

João Victor Sales Silva

João Victor Sales Silva is a post-doc at ESO since November 2014. He obtained his PhD in astronomy at the Observatório Nacional/Brazil in September 2014 analyzing of chemical abundances of red giant stars in Open Clusters. He has a bachelor degree in physics concluded in 2008 at the Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Brazil, and a master degree in astronomy concluded in 2010 at the Observatório Nacional, Brazil. In his master thesis he worked on the spectroscopic analysis of chemically peculiar stars, like Barium stars. His main research interests are: the stellar evolution, evolution and structure of the Galaxy, open clusters and binary stars.


(LEA: Local ESO Advisor; S: Supervisor; HI: Home Institute)

Juan Carlos Beamin

(LEA: V. Ivanov
S: Dante Minniti
HI: PUC, Chile)

Scientific interests:

  • Nearby stars
  • Brown dwarfs
  • Galactic structure

Joanne Breitfelder

(LEA: A. Mérand
: Pierre Kervella
HI: LESIA, Paris)
Joanne Breitfelder is a PhD student at ESO since February 2012, under the supervision of Antoine Mérand and Pierre Kervella (LESIA, France). She graduated from the university of Paris XI (France) after one year of studying astrophysics in the Observatory of Paris, where she developed an interest in high angular resolution and stellar physics. Her main research topic is the measure of distances in the universe using the properties of Cepheids and the combination of both spectroscopic and interferometric observations.

Jozua De Boer
Jozua de Boer is a PhD student from Leiden Observatory in The Netherlands, currently doing a 2 year studentship at ESO Santiago. His thesis topic is high contrast imaging of circum-stellar disks. The main focus of his work has been on the reduction of polarimetric data, from observations with optical and NIR instruments, such as VLT/NACO, WHT/ExPo and HST/NICMOS. To help prepare for the upcoming commissioning of SPHERE, the future planet hunter of ESO's Very Large Telescope, Jos is also working with lab data from the imaging polarimeter SPHERE/ZIMPOL. He did both his bachelor of physics and astronomy (2010), and a master in astrophysics and space research (2012), at Utrecht University (NL). Besides his thesis work, Jos is interested in the detection of terrestrial aerosols using polarimetry, and public outreach of astronomy in general. 

Catrina Diener

(LEA: C. Ledoux
S: Simon Lilly
HI: ETH Zurich)

Scientific interests:

  • High redshift galaxy groups, environment at 2<z<3
  • Ly α–forest of high redshift QSO’s, environment at 2<z<3

Paul Elliott
(LEA: C. Melo
S: Isabelle Baraffe
HI: Exeter Univ.)
Paul Elliott is a PhD student at ESO Chile since November 2012.  He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Exeter, U.K. in July 2012.  Paul worked at ESO, Chile in the summer of 2011 with Amelia Bayo on close-by, fast-moving cool objects in the Pleiades Field. He has gone on to start a PhD on the topic of stellar multiplicity and disk evolution, studying young, nearby stars found in associations.  His supervisors at ESO are Claudio Melo and Amelia Bayo, and his home supervisor is Isabelle Baraffe (University of Exeter).
Claudia Gutierrez
(LEA: C. Martayan
S: Mario Hamuy
HI: U Chile)

Scientific interests:

  • Spectral analysis of Type II Supernovae
  • Spectral diversity and correlations with photometric properties
  • Metallicity estimation from SNII and SN Progenitors

Jens-Kristian Krogager
(LEA: C. Ledoux
S: Johan Fynbo
HI: Dark Cosmology Centre, Copenhagen)

Jens-Kristian Krogager finished his Bachelor's degree in physics and astronomy from Copenhagen University in 2009, about modeling detection of exoplanets in microlensing events. In 2010 he started a combined master and PhD-programme at the Dark Cosmology Centre (Copenhagen University) supervised by Prof. Johan Fynbo. His PhD work focuses on galaxy formation by studying absorption line systems seen towards high-redshift quasars, and how these link to the population of galaxies we see in emission. He started at ESO in December 2012 with Cédric Ledoux as his supervisor.


Michaël Marsset
(LEA: C. Dumas
S: Pierre Vernazza
HI: LAM, Marseille)

Michaël Marsset is a PhD student at ESO/Santiago since November 2013. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Brittany (France) and his Master’s degree from the University of Montreal (Canada). He is now supervised in Chile by Christophe Dumas, Head of Scientific Operations at Paranal, and in France by Pierre Vernazza, CNRS astronomer. He is working on the different populations of small bodies of the outer solar system (asteroids, comets, TNOs, Trojans…) and the link between these populations.

Luca Matrà
(LEA: B. Dent
S: Mark Wyatt,
Olja Panić
: U Cambridge, UK)

Luca Matrà is a Ph.D. student from the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK currently on a 1-year studentship at ESO Chile since August 2014. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland in 2013. His research mainly focuses on the detection and characterisation of gas around debris disks, particularly through mm/sub-mm observations and modelling of CO emission with ALMA and its predecessors. He works under the supervision of Bill Dent at ALMA, and of Mark Wyatt and Olja Panić at Cambridge.


Julien Milli
Julien Milli started at ESO in October 2012 to carry out the last 2 years of his PhD started at the Institute of planetology and astrophysics of Grenoble, France. He graduated from the Paris/Meudon Observatory in 2010. He is working on the instrument SPHERE, whose installation at the VLT is scheduled for the beginning of 2013, and more specifically on the performance of that instrument for the detection and characterization of circumstellar disks. He is supervised at ESO by Dimitri Mawet, SPHERE staff astronomer, and in France by David Mouillet, SPHERE instrument scientist.

Elyar Sedaghati

(LEA: H. Boffin
S: Heike Rauer
HI: DLR-Institut, Berlin)
Elyar Sedaghati completed his Bachelor's degree at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University.  He did his Master's degree at the Freie Universität Berlin, with the thesis written at the German Aerospace Agency (DLR) also in Berlin.  This was a one-year project, under the supervision of Petr Kabath, reducing transit observations of GJ1214b from the FORS2 instrument on the VLT, and critically analysing the impact of all possible parameters influencing the precision of the final transmission spectrum produced for the purpose of atmospheric detection.  He started a 2 year studentship program at ESO in October 2014, as part of his PhD research being undertaken at the DLR, Berlin.  His research focuses on the transmission spectroscopy of exoplanets in the mini-Nuptune and super-Earth regime using mainly the FORS2 instrument on UT1 of the VLT.

Matthew Shultz

Student from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, CA

Scientific interests:

  • Magnetic massive stars
  • Stellar winds
  • Magnetic wind confinement

Matthew Taylor
(LEA: S. Mieske
S: Thomas Puzia
: PUC, Chile)

Matt Taylor did his undergraduate work at the University of Victoria (UVic) in British Columbia, Canada and is currently a PhD student at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) in Santiago. His work at UVic was varied, including convective mixing in TP-AGB stars, the orbital parameter distributions of Kuiper Belt objects, and the chemo-dynamical properties of massive, compact star clusters around the nearby galaxy Centaurus A, with a focus on the latter. Matt is continuing his work at PUC under the supervision of Thomas Puzia, and at the ESO offices in Santiago with Steffen Mieske. He hopes to place strong constraints on the formation history of Centaurus A through a deep, wide survey of its star cluster system, resident dwarf galaxies, and tidal features.

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