Astrophysics at UCI

Faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and students in the Astrophysics group at UC Irvine are engaged in research in diverse areas of astronomy and astrophysics. Current research areas include cosmology and particle astrophysics, observational and theoretical studies of galaxy evolution, dark matter, black holes, quasars, and galaxy clusters, climate and habitability of exoplanets, and the design of optical telescopes and instrumentation.

Affiliated Research Centers and Facilities

The UC Irvine Center for Cosmology unites astrophysicists and particle physicists carrying out theoretical, observational, and experimental research on the composition, origin, and fate of the Universe, the fundamental physics governing it, and the evolution of galaxies and structure in the Universe. 

UC Irvine is a member of the University of California Observatories (UCO) multi-campus research unit. UCO manages Lick Observatory at Mt. Hamilton (near San Jose, California) and coordinates UC's partnerships in the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project. UCI astronomers carry out observational projects at Keck and Lick, and play active roles in technical and science planning for TMT.

Additionally, astronomers at UCI carry out observational research using NASA facilities including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and (soon) the James Webb Space Telescope, and international ground-based facilities including the Gemini Observatory and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. UCI astronomers also collaborate in the eBOSS, DESI, and LSST surveys of the large-scale structure of the Universe, designed to probe the nature of cosmic acceleration.

Seminars and events

The Astrophysics group hosts a weekly seminar series during the academic year. Astrophysics seminars are held tuesdays at 4:00 pm in NS2 1201. Our seminar series is currently on hiatus due to COVID but we hope to resume seminars in winter or spring 2022.

On Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm in FRH 2153 we hold an informal discussion of recent papers on the arXiv. We use the Vox Charta portal to organize the discussions.


Astrophysics Personnel

Faculty and research areas:
Kevork Abazajian Dark matter, precision cosmology, neutrino physics, galaxy formation theory
Aaron Barth Supermassive black holes, quasars and active galactic nuclei
Steve Barwick high-energy and multi-messenger astrophysics, neutrino astronomy
James Bullock Galaxy formation theory and simulations, dark matter, near-field cosmology
David Buote X-ray astronomy, dark matter, massive galaxies, and galaxy clusters
Gary Chanan (Emeritus) Optics and wavefront sensing for segmented-mirror telescopes
Michael Cooper Galaxy evolution, large multiwavelength surveys, data reduction and analysis pipelines
Asantha Cooray Theoretical cosmology, infrared surveys and galaxy evolution
Manoj Kaplinghat Dark matter, dark energy, gravitational lensing, and near-field cosmology
David Kirkby Observational cosmology, large surveys, dark matter and dark energy
Simona Murgia High-energy astrophysics, observational cosmology, dark matter, dark energy
Paul Robertson Exoplanet discovery and characterization, stellar activity, instrumentation
Steph Sallum Planet formation, direct exoplanet imaging, interferometry, instrumentation
Aomawa Shields Climate and habitability of exoplanets
Tammy Smecker-Hane (Emerita) Galaxy evolution, stellar populations, astronomy education, UCI Observatory
Virginia Trimble History of science and scientometrics, binary star astrophysics


Research Scientists
Vivian U
Kevin Andrade
Iurii Babyk
Nima Chartab
Alexander Chaushev
Christian Glaser
Ana Lobo
Jacob Luhn
Raquel Martinez



Graduate Students
Bela Abolfathi
Astrid Anker
Abby Bault
Devontae Baxter
Corey Beard
Arianna Brown
Blake Chellew
Matthew Dowicz
Nicholas Duong
Geoff Gaswint
Dylan Green
Rae Holcomb
Kyle Kabasares
Courtney Klein
Alexander Lazar
Jack Lubin
Daniel McKeown
Francisco Mercado
John Montano
Sophia Nasr
Igor Palubski
Manuel Paul
Hasitha Pituwala
Amy Ralston
Raymond Remigio
Christian Rodriguez
Ryan Rice-Smith
Maya Silverman
Patrick Staudt
Stephanie Stawinski
Vidya Venkatesan
Christina Vides
Anna Yu
In Memoriam