Since October 2016 I am a Hubble Fellow at the University of California, Irvine. Before that, I spent three years as a postdoctoral researcher at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, working with Stacy McGaugh. I finished my PhD studies at the Argelander Institute for Astronomy (AIfA) in Bonn, supervised by Prof. Pavel Kroupa, in August 2013.
My research centers on the phase-space distribution of dwarf galaxies in the Local Group, in particular the satellites of the Milky Way. I have found that our Galaxy is surrounded by a highly flattened Vast Polar Structure that consists not only of satellite galaxies (which preferentially co-orbit in it), but also some globular clusters and streams of disrupted systems. I use this and the similar satellite galaxy plane around the Andromeda galaxy to test cosmological models, by searching for similarly extreme satellite configurations in cosmological simulations. My dedication to this topic has made me an expert on the potential biases non-accurate comparisons of the observed and simulated situations can introduce, explaining why some studies found an apparent agreement with simulations. Motivated by the planar satellite distributions, I also discovered that the more distant dwarf galaxies in the Local Group are also confined to two extremely narrow and symmetric planes. I am currently working on numerical simulations of galaxy collisions, to test how dark matter substructure affects tidal debris and whether Tidal Dwarf Galaxies, second-generation objects formed along tidal tails, are indeed dark matter free as expected from qualitative arguments.