Thanks for stopping by! My name is Karen and I'm fascinated by galaxies. How they evolve and interact on scales that we can't possibly comprehend. I'm currently on my first post-doctoral position at the Arizona State University, carrying out independent research on galaxies far away from our own Milky Way. My mentors are Sangeeta Malhotra and Rogier Windhorst. See the Contact tab for my shortened CV and contact info in case you have any questions.

Research interests

Keywords: Evolution of galaxies; Epoch of re-ionization; Interstellar Medium, Emission lines in radio; Radio interferometry; Galaxy simulations
My current research focuses on the Interstellar Medium (ISM) of galaxies, i.e. that gas out of which stars are formed. The amount and properties of the ISM play a crucial role for the evolution of a galaxy, yet for galaxies at high redshifts both are poorly determined by observations. By observing a portion of ISM in different wavelengths, different images emerge, and astronomers can extract important information from each:

The best technique for observing the ISM is to look for emission lines in the infrared (left bottom panel above), where rotational lines of molecules and fine structure lines of atoms and ions are easily excited at typical ISM temperatures and densities.

Bridging the gap

I make theoretical predictions for the observations of such lines by applying subgrid physics to galaxy simulations. The aim of this work is to bridge the gap between observations and models, in order to aid future interpretation of observations at high redshifts. For that purpose, I created a method called SÍGAME during my PhD which I am now developing further and translating to Python (from IDL). At some point I hope to make the code public on GitHub, so stay tuned! You can get a better introduction to my theoretical work by taking a look at the first chapter of my thesis, linked to in the Contact tab under 'Education'.
Approaching that bridge from the other end, I am also interested in observing normal star-forming galaxies at redshift z=2 and above. For that purpose, I am involved in the HELLO project (PI: S. Malhotra) and writing proposals for NOEMA, JVLA and ALMA. Read more about my past and current research projects under Research.

When I'm not working...

I can usually be found doing acrobatics in a rope or a hoop or a tissue, working in the garden, reading books, helping out Sky Island Alliance, volunteering at eco festivals or just being lazy with friends.