I am an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Maryland, and work primarily at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the Astrophysics Science Division.
My research interests lie in the field of time domain astronomy, and include the study of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and exotic transients such as kilonovae and tidal disruption events. In my career I worked on a variety of different aspects of the GRB phenomenon, although my primary focus is the connection between short duration GRBs, neutron star mergers, and gravitational wave sources.
My main interest is to investigate the observational signatures of compact binary mergers, that is, binary systems composed by either two neutron stars (NS-NS) or a neutron star and a black hole (NS-BH) which slowly spiral into each other and eventually collide due to energy losses to gravitational radiation. Compact binary mergers lie at the intersection of several key aspects of modern astrophysics:
- they are the most likely cause of short duration gamma-ray bursts;
- they are strong sources of gravitational wave radiation, and prime candidates for direct detection with advanced LIGO and Virgo;
- they are the most promising r-process sites for the formation of all the heavy elements (i.e. gold, platinum, uranium, …) found on Earth.
These three fundamental areas of investigation are at the core of my research.