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Searches for extrasolar planets have revealed a remarkable diversity of worlds, from scorching super-Earths to far-out super-Jupiters, and challenged our preconceptions many times over. We investigate their origins and evolution through observational studies of protoplanetary and debris disks in single and multiple star systems.  


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Detection and Characterization of Exoplanets

Using high-precision observational techniques, we do ‘remote sensing’ of alien planets seen in transit and via direct imaging. Back in 2008, we reported one of the first planetary mass companions to a normal star discovered through imaging and confirmed through spectroscopy and proper motion. Recently, we have measured the changing phases of hot Jupiters with Kepler data and detected the transit of a super-Earth around a Sun-like star using a ground-based telescope for the first time.

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Formation and Evolution of Brown Dwarfs and Stars

Brown dwarfs straddle the mass range between stars and planets, and share characteristics with both. In a series of papers, we established that young brown dwarfs, even down to planetary masses, are surrounded by accretion disks, similar to their stellar counterparts, and probably form the same way. Our ongoing SONYC project is aimed at exploring brown dwarfs in star-forming regions. Recently, we completed a large, comprehensive variability survey of cool brown dwarfs, and discovered evidence of extreme weather as well as the first triple system of T dwarfs.


Research Group


   Lisa Esteves  Graduate Student

Lisa Esteves
Graduate Student

   Keavin Moore  Research Assistant

Keavin Moore
Research Assistant

   Abhinav Jindal  Graduate Student

Abhinav Jindal
Graduate Student

   Emily Deibert  Graduate Student

Emily Deibert
Graduate Student

   Miranda Herman    Graduate Student

Miranda Herman
Graduate Student

Former Group Members

Postdoctoral Fellows

➣ Mariangela Bonavita
Alexis Brandeker (jointly with Prof. Marten van Kerkwijk)
Neil Cook
Thayne Currie
Sebastian Daemgen
Ernst de Mooij
Paul Elliott
Vincent Geers
Karl Haisch, Jr.
Élodie Hébrard
Markus Janson
Veselin Kostov
David Lafreniere (jointly with Prof. Marten van Kerkwijk)
Kora Muzic
Aleks Scholz

Ph.D. Students

Bryce Croll (jointly with Prof. Norm Murray)
Duy Nguyen (jointly with Prof. Marten van Kerkwijk)
Jacqueline Radigan

Graduate Projects

➣ Mirza Ahmic
➣ Rebecca Billmeier
➣ Ivana Damjanov
➣ Laura Fissel
➣ Parandis Khavari
➣ Erin Mentuch (jointly with Prof. Marten van Kerkwijk)
➣ Eliot Meyer
➣ Bryn Orth-Lashley
➣ Sarah Ragan
➣ Ari Silburt
Louise Yu (visiting student from IRAP)

Undergraduate Projects

➣ Daniel Clouston
➣ Ryan Cloutier
➣ Jaime Coffey
➣ Eve Lee
➣ Yevgeny Liokumovich
➣ Yutong Shan
➣ Sarah Springsteen
➣ Natasha Wolansky
➣ Xiaoying Xu