I am a NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellow at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center in the Planetary Systems Lab. I am primarily interested in placing observational constraints on how small bodies such as asteroids and comets migrate within the solar system due to interactions with the giant planets. Through the study of the interaction between small bodies and giant planets within our own solar system, we may be able to identify primary migration methods for objects such as hot Jupiters found in extrasolar planetary systems. One way we are investigating the dynamical models for our solar system is via a study of Hilda group asteroid compositions at 4 AU where many models predict disparate solar system regions of origin.
I recieved a doctorate from the University of Minnesota Astronomy Department working on thermal modeling of asteroids with my advisor Chick Woodward. My doctoral research utilized data from the Spitzer Space Telescope as well as ground based telescopes such as the Large Binocular Telescope. During my PhD studies I was a member of the MIPSGAL Survey team working with 24 micron data of the Galactic Plane, some of which is used in the image banner for this page.
I am also leading a comet observing program through Minnesota which seeks to characterize the gas production rates in Oort Cloud comets as a function of heliocentric distance from narrow band imaging. This data is also being taken in conjunction with imaging using the Sloan filter set to characterize the contributions of dust vs gas for future surveys including LSST.
Prior to coming to UMN, I attended the University of Arizona and graduated in 2002 with a Bachelors degree in Astronomy. Whilst there I worked with Mark Wagner on photometric and spectroscopic studies of low mass x-ray binary systems and with the NOAO Deep Wide-Field Survey doing the shallow K-band data reduction and calibration. Between my bachelor's degree and graduate study I was a member of the Spitzer Space Telescope Observer Support Team at Caltech.