Dr. Karin Öberg
Dr. Öberg left Sweden for Caltech in 2001, where she matriculated with a B.Sc. in chemistry in 2005. Four years later she obtained a Ph.D. in astronomy, with a thesis focused on laboratory astrochemistry. In 2009 she moved to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics with a Hubble fellowship, focusing on millimeter observations of protoplanetary disks and joined the Harvard faculty as an assistant professor in astronomy in 2013, was promoted and named the Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor in Astronomy in 2016, and promoted to full professor in 2017. Dr. Öberg’s research in astrochemistry has been recognized with a Sloan fellowship, a Packard fellowship and the Newton Lacy Pierce Award.
Dr. Mahesh Rajappan, Senior Research Scientist
Current Postdoctoral Fellows:
Dr. Rafael Martín Doménech
Dr. Martin Domenech is a graduate from the University of Malaga, Spain. He got his PhD at the Complutense University in Madrid, by means of his work in the Astrobiology Center studying the cycle of interstellar matter. His research focuses on the energetic processing of ice samples in the laboratory, mimicking the processing of interstellar ices in the coldest regions of the interstellar medium. His laboratory work is complemented with astronomical observations of molecules toward star forming regions.
Dr. Elettra Piacentino
Dr. Piacentino received her PhD in physical and analytical chemistry at Northern Illinois University. She previously worked on the computational and mass spectrometric study of the fundamental properties of transition metal-based molecules as well as on the development of novel mass spectrometers. Elettra is interested in studying the chemistry of the formation of prebiotic species in astrochemical ices with particular regard to phosphorous-bearing molecules.
Dr. Diana Powell is a NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Center for Astrophysics. She will be starting as a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago in 2023. Dr. Powell studies the nature of extrasolar planets, how they form, and how they evolve. Dr. Powell's work spans a variety of topics, including protoplanetary disks, planet formation, and planetary atmospheres. Dr. Powell is particularly interested in using the detailed evolution of small particles to interpret observational data and understand planetary evolution.
Current Graduate Students:
Charles Law (NSF Fellow)
Alexia uses laboratory experiments to better understand diffusion and entrapment in interstellar ices. https://alexiasimon.github.io/Alexia-Simon-Astrochemistry/
Marissa Maney combines instrumentation and laboratory experiments to explore the origins of chemical complexity in planetary bodies.
Carlos is interested in the chemistry of early star formation and how it affects the initial composition of exoplanets.
Elizabeth (Liza) Yunerman
Liza Yunerman is a planet formation theorist, who is interested in modeling protoplanetary disk dynamics and relevant chemical processes.