About Me

I'm an Assistant Professor in the Physics Department at the University of Florida. My research focuses on a range of problems in supermassive black hole and galaxy evolution, including the role of galaxy mergers, signatures of black hole inspiral and merger, and gravitational wave sources. I specialize in numerical simulations with an emphasis on direct comparisons to observations.

Research

My research focuses primarily on developing theoretical models and making predictions for supermassive black hole (SMBH) and galaxy evolution. I utilize a range of numerical techniques including gravitational, hydrodynamics, and radiative transfer simulations from galactic to cosmological scales. I also collaborate with observers to characterize new and unusual populations of active SMBHs, as well as other theorists, including the Illustris simulation collaboration. Some of my main current research interests are briefly summarized below.

  • Co-evolution of SMBHs and Galaxies

    I study the interplay between SMBHs and their host galaxies in a range of environments and cosmic epochs. In particular, I'm interested in the role of galaxy mergers in producing the observed correlations between SMBH mass and galaxy bulges, the demographics of the low-mass SMBH and intermediate-mass BH (IMBH) population, and the origins and early growth of SMBHs.

  • Single and Dual AGN Fueling

    I use simulations to study the mechanisms for fueling active galactic nuclei (AGN, or accreting SMBHs). I'm especially interested in the role of galaxy mergers in triggering AGN, in methods for finding dual, simultaneously-active AGN in merging galaxies, and in characterizing the effects of obscuration and other selection bias in observations of these systems.

  • Binary SMBH Inspiral and Merger

    Galaxy mergers are also of great interest because they lead to the formation of SMBH binaries, which are powerful sources of gravitational waves (GWs). These low-frequency gravitational waves could be detected in the coming years with pulsar timing arrays and with a space-borne laser interferometer (LISA). I'm involved in various efforts to constrain the uncertain timescales for binary SMBH inspiral and merger, and the resulting GW signals.

  • Gravitational-Wave Recoil

    When two black holes merge, asymmetry in their gravitational wave emission imparts a "recoil kick" to the merged black hole, which can in some cases be large enough to eject a SMBH from its host galaxy entirely. I've developed models for the signatures of accreting, recoiling SMBHs and the expected observable population of these objects, and I'm involved in several ongoing observational campaigns to search for and follow up candidate recoiling black holes.