Astrophysics Advisors

There are over 500 faculty, scientists and post-doctoral fellows at the Center for Astrophysics.  Here is a list of the subset of senior researchers who are likely to advise graduate students on their research. 

For contact information, click on the name. SAO = Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Sean Andrews
SAO Astrophysicist
Harvard Lecturer in Astronomy
Research Interests: Planet formation in the disks of gas and dust that orbit around young stars, primarily using radio interferometer data.  PI of DSHARP, an ALMA Large Program that imaged protoplanetary disks at very high angular resolution to study their small-scale substructures.
CFA Disk Group

Edo Berger
Professor of Astronomy
Research interests: The study of gamma-ray bursts, optical transients (mainly from the Pan-STARRS project), and magnetic fields in low-mass stars and brown dwarfs. He uses observations across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to γ-rays.
Berger Time-Domain Group

David Charbonneau
Professor of Astronomy
Harvard College Professor

Research Interests: Detection and characterization of extrasolar planets, with the goal of studying inhabited worlds. In pursuit of this goal I also pursue novel ground-based and space-based instrumentation, and studies of stellar astrophysics.
The Exoplanet Laboratory

Xingang Chen
Senior Lecturer Harvard Astronomy
Research interests: Theoretical cosmology, including: early universe models; primordial density perturbations; cosmic microwave background; large scale structure; dark matter; and string cosmology.


Charlie Conroy
Professor of Astronomy

Director of Graduate Studies
Research Interests: Galaxy formation and evolution, connection between galaxies and dark matter halos, stellar population modeling, stellar evolution.
Professional Website


Selma de Mink
Associate Professor of Astronomy
Research Interests: Stellar evolution, Interacting binary stars, Supernovae, Gravitational wave progenitors, Stellar populations, Chemical enrichment and feedback.
Professional Website


Shep Doeleman
SAO Astronomer
Harvard Senior Research Fellow

Research Interests: Studying super massive black holes with sufficient resolution to directly observe the event horizon.
The Event Horizon Telescope


Daniel Eisenstein
Professor of Astronomy
Research Interests: Cosmology and extragalactic astronomy with a mix of theoretical and observational methods; the development of the baryon acoustic oscillation method to measure the cosmic distance scale and study dark energy.

Professional Website

Daniel Fabricant
SAO Astronomer
Associate Director, Optical & Infrared Division
Research Interests: Large optical IR telescopes and instruments
OIR Division

Douglas Finkbeiner
Professor of Astronomy and of Physics
Research Interests: The 3-D Milky Way (dust density, temperature, and optical properties, the radiation field, etc.), astronomical surveys (DESI, SDSS-V, DECam Plane Survey), astrostatistics (transdimensional inference, photometric biases), and gamma-ray astronomy (Fermi Bubbles and dark matter annihilation). Also interested in using techniques in the field of "Adversarial AI" to make machine learning more robust and explainable.
Professional Website


Alyssa A Goodman
Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy
co-Director for Science at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Research Interests: Goodman's work spans interstellar gas astrophysics, science education, data science, data visualization, and prediction. Use of the WorldWide Telescope software to help teach science, and to make discoveries about the Universe such as high-dimensional linked-view exploratory data visualization software known as "Glue."
Professional Website
Seamless Astronomy


Lincoln Greenhill
SAO Radio Astronomer
Harvard Senior Research Fellow

Research Interests: Observational cosmology is the Dark Age and Epoch of Reionization. He also studies topics related to supermassive black holes, accretion disks, and jets. Additional interests include formation mechanisms of high mass stars, masers, radio astronomical instrumentation, interferometry, signal processing, and massively parallel stream supercomputing.
Professional Website

Josh Grindlay
Robert Treat Paine Professor of Practical Astronomy
Research Interests: High Energy Astrophysics: Studies of accretion onto compact objects (black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs). Development of detectors and telescopes for wide-field imaging surveys of black holes discovered in soft-to-hard X-rays. Time Domain Astrophysics: X-ray/optical/IR studies of Transients and variability of black holes in binaries and galactic nuclei to probe extreme physics phenomena and constrain black hole populations. Days-to-Century optical variability studies of stars and quasars with DASCH and followup spectroscopy to constrain formation and evolution of black holes.
Dasch Project

Lars Hernquist
Mallinckrodt Professor of Astrophysics
Research Interests: Theoretical studies of dynamical processes in cosmology and galaxy formation/galaxy evolution. Numerical simulations of stellar dynamical and hydrodynamical systems. Investigations of the physics of compact objects, particularly neutron stars and the interplay between thermal and magnetic processes in strongly magnetized neutron stars.
Institute for Theory and Computation

John Asher Johnson
Professor of Astronomy
Leadership Team, Banneker Institute
Research Interests: The detection and characterization of exoplanets.
Johnson Exolab

John M. Kovac
Professor of Astronomy and Physics
Research Interests: Kovac’s cosmology research focuses on observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) to reveal signatures of the physics that drove the birth of the universe, the creation of its structure, and its present-day expansion. His research over the past two decades has involved the design, deployment, and operation of multiple generations of radio telescopes at the Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole.
CMB Group

Charles Lada
SAO Astrophysicist
Harvard Lecturer in Astronomy
Research Interests: Understanding the origin and early evolution of stars and planets and the cold molecular clouds which spawn them. Millimeter-wave, infrared and optical wavelength observations to investigate the natural physical processes which give rise to stars and planets in our galaxy.
Division Website

David Latham
SAO Astrophysicist
Harvard Lecturer in Astronomy
Research Interests: Focus is on the confirmation and characterization of transiting planets using facilities at the Whipple Observatory, such as the Tillinghast Reflector Echelle Spectrograph and KeplerCam, and determining planetary masses using the HARPS-N spectrograph at the 3.6-m TNG on La Palma.

Avi Loeb
Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science
Chair, Astronomy Department
Director, Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC)
Founding Director, Black Hole Initiative (BHI)
Research Interests: Black holes, the first stars, the search for extraterrestrial life and the future of the Universe.
Professional Website

Mercedes Lopez-Morales
SAO Astrophysicist
Harvard Lecturer in Astronomy
Research Interests: Search and characterization of exoplanet systems via ground and space observations, including radial velocity and transit searches. Characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres via transmission and emission spectroscopy. Detection of biomarkers in Earth analogs.
Professional Website

Christopher S. Moore
SAO Astrophysicist
Astronomy Research Associate
Research Interests: Chris’ research interests include on the atmosphere of stars. Currently, focusing on constraining solar coronal heating mechanisms during quiescence and flares. Specifically, working on techniques to improve constraints on the plasma temperature distribution, elemental abundances, and deriving connections between magnetic and radiative fluxes.
Professional Website

Ramesh Narayan
Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences
Research Interests: Gravitational lensing; accretion disks; black holes; gamma-ray bursts.
Professional Website

Karin Öberg
Professor of Astronomy
Director, Astrochemistry Lab
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Research Interests: Astrochemistry and its impact on planet formation, including the compositions of nascent planets. These topics are addressed using a combination of laboratory ice experiments, spatially and spectrally resolved millimeter observations, and theory.
Professional Website

David Phillips
SAO Astrophysicist
Research Interests: Working on atomic clocks developing new devices and using existing clocks to test fundamental symmetries of nature.
Walsworth Group

John Raymond
SAO Astrophysicist
Harvard Lecturer in Astronomy
Research Interests: Spectroscopy and physics of the solar corona, especially flares and Coronal Mass Ejections. Physics and spectroscopy of collisionless shock waves in supernova remnants. Physics of winds from accretion disks on X-ray emitting binaries.
Solar Division Website

Philip M Sadler
F.W. Wright Senior Lecturer in the Department of Astronomy
Director, Science Education Department
Research Interests: Celestial navigation, developing graduate students' teaching skills, the STEM career pipeline, success in pre-college and introductory college STEM coursework, assessment and test construction, and the enhancement of the skills of teachers of science.
Science Education Department

Dimitar Sasselov
Phillips Professor of Astronomy
Director, Origins of Life Initiative
Senior Advisor in the Sciences for Advanced Study
Co-Investigator, Kepler Mission NASA
Research Interests: Extrasolar planets, Kepler mission, which is monitoring 100,000 stars in a three-year hunt for exoplanets -- including Jupiter-sized giants.
Professional Website
Origins of Life Website

Andrew Szentgyorgyi
SAO Astrophysicist
Associate Director, Solar, Stellar & Planetary Division
Harvard Lecturer in Astronomy
Research Interests: Neutrino astronomy, very high energy gamma astronomy and X-ray astronomy. More recently, optical high dispersion stellar spectroscopy with a focus on precision measurement of stellar radial velocities.  PI for GMT-Consortium Large Earth Finder (G-CLEF), the first light instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope.
SSP Division

David Wilner
SAO Astrophysicist
Associate Director, Radio and Geoastronomy Division
Research Interests: Structure and evolution of planet-forming disks, debris disks, aperture synthesis observations and techniques.
RG Division

Jennifer Yee
SAO Astrophysicist
Harvard Lecturer in Astronomy
Research Interests: Exoplanet detection with gravitational microlensing

 

See also: Advisors