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Group members

My research group, in the lingo of my institute, is called a “research section” with the name Stellar Physics and Exoplanets, and it includes an embedded “research group” with the name Stellar Activity which is led by my senior scientist Sydney Barnes. The current group members are:

Senior scientists:

  • Prof. Dr. Katja Poppenhaeger (head of Stellar Physics and Exoplanets); star-exoplanet systems, stellar magnetic activity, exoplanetary atmospheres, young stars, coronae
  • Dr. Julián Alvarado-Gómez; observations and simulations of stellar coronal mass ejections, exoplanet atmospheres
  • Dr. Sydney Barnes (head of embedded group Stellar Activity); gyrochronology, stellar clusters
  • Dr. Thorsten Carroll; Doppler Imaging, Zeeman Doppler Imaging
  • Dr. Silva Järvinen; magnetism of cool and hot stars (staff astronomer; ANDES-UBV instrument scientist)
  • Dr. Matthias Steffen; stellar chromospheres, simulations (retired/guest)


  • Dr. Eliana Amazo Gomez; stellar magnetism and rotation
  • Dr. Andy Gallagher; stellar atmospheres and abundances
  • Dr. Ekaterina Ilin; low-mass stars, flares, star-planet systems
  • Dr. Engin Keles; exoplanet atmospheres

PhD students:

  • Nikoleta Ilic; stellar magnetic activity, binary systems
  • Xanthippi Alexoudi; exoplanet detection and characterization
  • Laura Ketzer; young exoplanets
  • Judy Chebly; simulations of coronal mass ejections in star-exoplanet systems
  • David Gruner; stellar spectroscopy (with Barnes)
  • Yu Xu (visiting PhD student); coronal mass ejections

Master and Bachelor students:

  • Prachi Rahate (master student); stellar rotation
  • Joana Wokittel (master student); tellurics and exoplanet atmospheres
  • Cole Kilby (master student); machine learning and exoplanet spectroscopy
  • Desmond Dsouza (master student); stellar activity of wide binary systems
  • Cinta Vidante (master student); flares of young M dwarfs

Graduates and former long-term group members

  • Dr. Ekaterina Ilin (earned PhD degree from Potsdam University in 2022, stays in group as postdoc); low-mass stars, flares, star-planet systems
  • Dr. Matthias Mallonn (former postdoc, now at Forschungsträger Jülich); exoplanet photometry and spectroscopy
  • Dr. Engin Keles (earned PhD degree from Potsdam University in 2021, stays in group as postdoc); exoplanet high-resolution transmission spectroscopy
  • Dr. Grace Foster (earned PhD degree from Potsdam University in 2022, now works in data science industry); X-ray studies of exoplanet systems
  • Julia Schötzig (earned bachelor degree in 2022); exoplanet obliquities
  • Dr. Dario Fritzewski (earned PhD degree from Potsdam University in 2021 with Barnes, now postdoc at Leuven University); stellar age and rotation
  • Dr. Elisabeth Cole-Kodikara (former postdoc with Barnes); stellar clusters
  • Marzie Hosseini (Master student, graduated 2021 from Potsdam University); light curve analysis of a potential young exoplanet
  • Alexandre Gillet (Master student, graduated 2021 from Potsdam University, now PhD student with Strugarek); variability of exoplanet albedos
  • Rob Wells (PhD student, graduated 2020 from Queen’s University Belfast, now postdoc with Demory); exoplanets, transits, habitability
  • Rachel Booth (PhD student, graduated 2019 from Queen’s University Belfast); stellar ages, stellar magnetic activity, X-ray and optical observations

Special exoplanet seminars

  • Feb. 2022: Victoria diTomasso on exoplanet projects and the graduate student experience in the US
  • Feb. 2020: Prof. Dr. Carolina von Essen on TESS light curve studies of exoplanet host stars
  • Nov. 2019: Dr. Vera Dobos on tidal heating of exomoons