Group members

Sebastian F. Hoenig

Professor, group leader

PhD 2008 (University of Bonn, Germany), then postdoc at the Max-Planck-Insitute for Radio Astronomy (2008-2010), DFG Fellow at the University of California Santa Barbara (2010-2013), and Dark & Marie Curie Fellow at the Dark Cosmology Centre (2013-2014). My main interests are active galactic nuclei (AGN) in the infrared as seen with the highest angular resolution. I created the CAT3D radiative transfer code to interpret the dust emission of AGN and use interferometry (mostly the VLTI) to unveil the mass distribution on parsec scales around the black hole. More recently I work on establishing the AGN dust emission as a cosmological tool. I am PI of the ERC Starting Grant project DUST-IN-THE-WIND.

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Nora Drewes

PhD student

MPhys 2021 (University of Leicester), STFC PhD student at the University of Southampton from October 2021. Nora will be working on radiation-hydrodynamic simulations of AGN and binary supermassive black holes and prepare science for the upcoming GRAVITY+ instrument at the VLTI.

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Ella Guise

PhD student

MPhys 2018 (University of Southampton), STFC PhD student at the University of Southampton since 2018. Ella is studying the optical and infrared variability of AGN and transients in the VEILS and VOILETTE survey. She is responsible for the near-realtime data reduction of the optical support for VEILS.

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Lewis Macleod

PhD student

Master in Physics with Astrophysics 2020 (University of Southampton), DISCnet PhD student at the University of Southampton since 2020. Lewis is working on static and time-domain surveys of AGN, including VEILS, 4MOST, and LSST.

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Elizabeth (Lizi) Swann

Research Fellow

PhD 2020 (University of Portsmouth), postdoc in Southampton since November 2020. Lizi took up the role as VEILS Survey manager and works on difference imaging and supernova lightcurves in the infrared. She is also involved in the 4MOST TiDES survey.

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David J. Williamson

Research Fellow

PhD 2013 (St. Mary's University, Halifax, CA), then postdoc at the University of Laval, Quebec, CA (2013-2016), and in Southampton since 2018. He is an expert in hydrodynamic simulations and develops our new 3D radiation-hydrodynamical model of the dusty environment around AGN.

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Past group members and long-term visitors

Triana Almeyda

Postdoc at South Carolina State University

PhD 2017 (Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, USA). Postdoc at the University of Southampton September 2017-2020 working on optical/infrared reverberation mapping of AGN as part of the VEILS ESO public survey.

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Daniel Asmus

Teacher at a High School in Germany

PhD 2012 (University of Kiel, Germany). Postdoc at the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio astronomy 2012-2014, ESO Fellow in Chile 2014-2017, Marie Curie Fellow in Southampton 2018-2020. Daniel's main interest focuses on the mid-infrared emission of AGN. During his time at ESO, he served as VISIR instrument fellow and was involved in the instrument upgrade.

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Bella Boulderstone

Public Outreach & Education Officer at UKAEA

MPhys 2014 (University of Lancaster), MPhys 2015 (Queen Mary University London), Mayflower PhD student at the University of Southampton 2015-2021. Bella worked on infrared reveberation mapping of a local sample of AGN.

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James Leftley

Postdoctoral Fellow at OCA/Nice

MPhys 2016 (University of Southampton), PhD student at ESO and the University of Southampton 2016-2020. His first two years were spent at ESO's Chilean headquarters in Santiago before returning to Southampton in 2018 to finish his thesis. James graduated with a Master of Physics degree from the University of Southampton. He uses infrared interferometry (MIDI, GRAVITY, MATISSE) and ALMA to resolve the mass distribution and accretion processes around supermassive black holes.

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Jiren Liu

Long-term visitor 2018-2020, China NSF Fellow

Jiren joined the group as a long-term visitor in an exchange programme between the China NSF and the ERC. He collaborated on X-ray signatures of dusty winds in AGN.

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Marta Venanzi

Data Scientist

Master in Theoretical Physics 2016 (University of Rome La Sapienza), ERC PhD student at the University of Southampton 2016-2021. In the course of her final research project at the master level, she spent some time at QMUL. Marta's thesis project focused on developing and exploiting effective and efficient methods to solve the radiative transfer problem in radiation-hydrodynamical simulations of dusty gas around AGN. Specifically, she studies the infrared radiation pressure on dust and its potential as a wind launching or amplifying mechanism.

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